lauantai 5. kesäkuuta 2010

Samsung BD-C6500 and its apps

I received some extra money so I decided to invest in a Blu-Ray player. After reading reviews and reviewing technical details of several players I ended up buying a Samsung BD-C6500. This decision was influenced by the fact that I've already got a Samsung TV and that the BD-C6500 has a wireless network connection built in.

I have only watched one Blu-Ray movie and one DVD so far and the player has been working fine. It's also nice to be able to control the basic features of the TV with the BD player's remote control and vice versa. I also managed to get file sharing to work from my netbook with little effort, allowing me to view my photos from the TV screen. The player does not ship with an HDMI cable so one had to be bought separately, but as I understand it this is the case with all Blu-Ray players.

The BD-C6500 has a feature called Internet@TV. There's no web browser but some dedicated applications for certain web services and some simple games. The total number of games and applications combined is 17. You should be able to download more but I cannot see any applications in the store that haven't been installed already. Could be a regional issue, maybe there are more applications available in the US than here in Finland -- I don't know. Anyway, here's a photo of the main application menu:

So, from top-left to bottom-right: YouTube, Picasa, Twitter, AccuWeather, History Channel, Dracula's Coffin, Getty Images, Google Maps, Kurakku, Mahjongg Fruits, Memory, Quizz Master, Rock Swap Adventures, Sudoku, Texas Hold'em, USA Today and Facebook.

And here are photos of the applications in that order (except for Twitter, to which I do not have an account, and Getty Images, which refused to work when I was taking these photos. Sorry about the layout, Blogger just won't let me format the images nicely. And there's some Finnish language in at least the YouTube photo/screenshot, don't be alarmed. Anyway, click to zoom in:

As you can see, the Facebook app will be available in Apr.. wait, what? It's June already! Maybe it means April 2011? Anyway... The apps are not too pretty and look like they could be used on, say, a mobile phone as-is. My main problem with the games, though, is that they are completely stateless. You can't save your progress and there are no high score lists. Most of them don't seem to have any sounds and none has any music, so they may get old pretty quickly.

Google Maps works fine. However, there's no zoom-in or zoom-out animation, just a spinning "please wait" symbol, so the experience is not quite as smooth as it could be. You can look at a map or satellite imagery just as you could on a regular computer.

The YouTube application looks strange because it seems that all videos have the ranking of just one star. This is probably because YouTube recently changed its rating scale from 1 to 5 stars to just "like" or "dislike". Also, I could not find a free search interface so you are pretty much stuck with whatever videos the different categories offer you. Of course, there's the My Favorites category which should contain the videos you have favorited in the past, but I did not test it yet.