Samsung BD-UP5000 HD-DVD/Blu-ray player - First Look

Samsung BD-UP5000 HD-DVD/Blu-ray player - First Look

Expectations are running high for this impending Samsung dual-format player, especially after the recently announced worldwide shipping delay originally scheduled for the coming holidays. Rumor has it that the Koreans are holding back the launch to fix its software interactive (BD-J 1.1) support. If this turns out to be true, the upgraded capability will give the BD-UP5000 a much-needed boost against the LG BH200. The latter is a fully loaded kit with seemingly complete specs capable of bringing out the best of both HD-DVD and Blu-ray software.


The biggest draw for the BD-UP5000 is its video prowess offered by the onboard Silicon Optix Hollywood Quality Video (HQV) Reon-VX processor. Also found in the Toshiba HD-XE1 and other high-end A/V receivers and projectors such as the Onkyo TX-SR875, this chip is renowned for its tried-and-tested standard-definition video upscaling and deinterlacing performance. Implemented accurately, it promises solid DVD picture quality as well as enhanced high-def playback via a suite of post-processing that ranges from edge enhancement (sharpening) to video noise reduction.

For those with 1080p24-enabled displays, the Samsung will readily output this theoretically judder-free signal through its HDMI 1.3 terminal. This is about the best video format any player can support at the moment which corresponds to the original frame rate captured on film. The BD-UP5000 is supposedly compatible with the latest BD-J and HDi interactive technology, too, pending a firmware upgrade. There are already telltale signs that the kit is ready judging by its US user manual which has an option to re-encode picture-in-picture audio for its HDMI output.

Like its Blu-ray-only BD-P1400 counterpart, the BD-UP5000 will eventually have master-quality Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio bitstream (raw) output. This will be enabled in future firmware revisions downloadable through the Internet, thanks to an inbuilt network port. It's also probably the first HD player to internally decode the above-mentioned surround sound formats. Furthermore, the decoded multichannel audio can be routed to a set of discreet 7.1-channel analog output that is backward-compatible with legacy home theaters.


While it's encouraging to hear that Samsung is hard at work ironing out the kinks, these are just promises until they are actually delivered. Until then, you will need to resist the temptation generated by your neighbor's BH200 which is "good-to-go" out-of-the-box. For a premium solution, we were surprised to find out that the BD-UP5000 is shipped with a factory-attached power cord instead of the usual electric receptacle. Purists and deep-pocket videophiles may lament the prospect of relying on a skimpy cord without a chance to leverage on those exotic and way-overpriced cables.


The Samsung BD-UP5000 is a handsome universal HD player with lots of underlying potential. Only time will tell whether the Korean chaebol can make good on its numerous promises and we will be keeping a close tab on the latest developments. To whet your appetite, we have already received a tip-off that it may be retailing at a mouth-watering S$1,699 (US$1,117.76) tag, comparable with the Sony single-format BDP-S1E and way more affordable than the S$2,699 (US$1,775.66) Pioneer BDP-LX70A.