Samsung BD-H6500 Blu-ray Disc Player Review

How much can you cram into a Blu-ray Disc Player?

Samsung BD-H6500 Blu-ray Disc Player
Samsung BD-H6500 Blu-ray Disc Player. Image provided by Amazon

NOTE: Although the Samsung BD-H6500 Blu-ray Disc player was originally introduced in 2014, as of 2018 it is still available through some outlets.

The Samsung BD-H6500 Blu-ray Disc Player is compact and unassuming, but don't let that fool you - it provides 2D and 3D playback of Blu-ray Discs, DVD, and CD, as well 1080p and 4K upscaling when used with a 4k Ultra HD TV. The player is also able to stream audio/video content from the internet, as well as content stored on your home network.

Product Overview

  • The BD-H6500 features 1080p and 4K (via upscaling) resolution output, and 3D Blu-ray playback capability via HDMI ver 1.4 audio/video output.
  • The BD-H6500 can play Blu-ray Disc/BD-ROM/BD-R/BD-RE/DVD-Video/DVD+R/+RW, DVD-R/-RW/CD/CD-R/CD-RW/DTS-CD, MKV, AVCHD(v100), JPEG, and MPEG2/4.
  • BD-H6500 provides DVD video upscaling to 720p, 1080i, 1080p, and Streaming, DVD, and Blu-ray upscaling to 4K (compatible TV or video projector required).
  • Video connection options include 1 HDMI. DVI-HDCP video output compatibility with adapter (3D not accessible using DVI). However, there are no Component, S-video, or composite video outputs.
  • Audio support includes onboard decoding and Bitstream output for Dolby Digital/TrueHD and DTS Digital/-HD Master Audio audio codecs. Two and Multi-channel PCM output for applicable content and compatible output connection is also provided.
  • Besides audio output, via HDMI only one additional audio output option is provided: Digital Optical. There are no other audio output options available.
  • Built-in Ethernet, WiFi, and WiFi Direct Connectivity.
  • One USB port for access to digital photo, video, music content via flash drives or other compatible USB storage devices.
  • Profile 2.0 (BD-Live) functionality. This allows access to Internet-based content associated with specific Blu-ray disc movies and TV show content.
  • A Wireless Infrared Remote Control and full-color high definition onscreen GUI (Graphical User Interface) is provided for easy setup and function access.
  • Dimensions (HWD): 1.57 x 14.17 x 7.72-inches
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs.

Additional Capabilities and Notations

The BD-H6500 provides direct access to online audio and video content sources, including Netflix, VUDU, Pandora, and more...

DLNA/Samsung Link provides the ability to access digital media files from network-connected compatible devices, such as PCs and media servers.

Samsung SHAPE Multi-Room Streaming which allows users to play a disc or other content file on the BD-H6500 and wirelessly stream it to other Samsung SHAPE compatible playback devices (such as the M5 and M7 Wireless Speakers) you can place elsewhere in your home.

NOTE: To comply with current copy-protection regulations, the BD-H6500 is also Cinavia-enabled. This means that the BD-H6500 will not play Blu-ray Discs that are unauthorized copies of commercial, copyrighted films or TV shows.

Video Performance

The Samsung BD-H6500 does an excellent job playing Blu-ray Discs, providing a clean source signal to a video display. Also, 1080p upscaled DVD signal output was very good - with minimal upscaling artifacts.

In addition, video performance on streaming content looked good with services such as Netflix delivering a DVD quality image (the BD-H6500 does upscale streaming content).

However, it is important to note that consumers may see different video quality results, with regards to streaming content. Factors such as video compression used by content providers, as well as internet speed, which is independent of the video processing capabilities of the player, can affect the quality of what you finally see on your TV screen.

The BD-H6500 also passed all the tests provided on a standardized Test Disc.

The upscaling test results revealed that the BD-H6500 does very well on jagged edge suppression, extraction of detail, motion adaptive processing, and moire pattern detection and elimination, and frame cadence detection.

Also, although the BD-H6500 did not do a perfect job of minimizing general video noise and mosquito noise, it performed very close to the OPPO BDP-103/103D Blu-ray Disc players and DVDO Edge video processor/scaler used for reference.

Audio Performance

The BD-H6500 offers complete onboard decoding, as well as un-decoded bitstream output, for compatible home theater receivers. However, in addition to the HDMI output (for both audio and video), the only other audio output connection provided is digital optical. I found it a little odd that neither a digital coaxial and/or analog stereo connection was included - an analog stereo output option would be great for those that prefer traditional analog two-channel CD music listening.

On the other hand, the provided HDMI connection can supply Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, and multi-channel PCM access. However, it must be noted that the digital optical connection is limited to standard Dolby Digital, DTS, and two-channel PCM formats, which conforms to current industry standards. If you want the benefit of the best possible audio from Blu-ray disc playback, the HDMI connection option is preferred, but the digital optical output is provided for those cases where a non-HDMI or non-3D pass-through capable home theater receiver is used (that is if you are using the BD-H6500 with a 3D TV or video projector).

Internet Streaming

Just as with most Blu-ray disc players, the BD-H6500 provides access to internet streaming content. You have the option to connect using either Ethernet or WiFi - both of which I found worked well in my setup.

However, if you find that you have trouble streaming using WiFi and you can pin down the cause or a solution (such as moving the player closer to your wireless router, the Ethernet connection option is a more stable option, even though you may have to put up with a long cable run.

Using the onscreen menu, users can access streaming content from sites such as Netflix, VUDU, CinemaNow, YouTube, Crackle, Twit, and a lot more...

Also, the Samsung Apps section provides some additional content offerings - which can be expanded via periodic applicable firmware updates. However, just with all internet streaming devices, keep in mind that while most of the available services can be added to your list free of charge, the actual content provided by some services may require an actual paid subscription.

Video quality varies, but the video processing capability of the BD-H6500 does do a good job of making streaming content look as good as possible, cleaning up artifacts, such as jagged or coarse edges.

In addition to content services, the BD-H6500 also provides access to social media services, such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as providing a full Web Browser.

However, the Web Browsing downside is that the player did not work with a standard windows USB plug-in keyboard.This makes web browsing cumbersome as you have to use the onscreen virtual keyboard that only allows one character to be entered in at a time via the BD-H6500's remote control.

Media Player Functions

An added convenience incorporated into the BD-H6500 is the ability to play audio, video, and image files stored on USB flash drives or content stored on a compatible home network (such as PCs and media servers).

I found using the media player functions was very easy.  The onscreen control menus load fast and scrolling through the menus and accessing content was fairly intuitive.

However, keep in mind that not all digital media file types are playback compatible - a complete list is provided in the user guide.

Wireless Portable Device Integration

Another great aspect of the BD-H6500 is the ability to access content on portable devices via a connected home network or WiFi Direct. Ideally, the devices should be Samsung AllShare (Samsung Link) compatible, such as the Samsung line of Galaxy Phones, Tablets, and digital cameras.

However, I was able to stream audio, video, and still images from an HTC One M8 Smartphone (that I had acquired for another forthcoming review - courtesy of Sprint) easily to the BD-H6500  via my home wifi network for viewing on TV (including the selected phone app playback menu) and listening on my home theater audio system.

CD-to-USB Ripping

One additional feature that is provided is CD-to-USB Ripping. This enables you able to rip the contents of a CD containing music, photos, and/or non-copy-protected videos, to a compatible USB storage device. This feature should be widely promoted as it is definitely a very practical way to copy CD music so that it can be taken on the road.

BD-H6500 - PROS

  • Excellent Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and CD playback.
  • Excellent 1080p upscaling (4K upscaling not evaluated).
  • An abundant selection of Internet streaming content.
  • Well laid out, easy-to-use, backlit remote and onscreen menu system.
  • Fast Blu-ray, DVD, and CD disc loading.

BD-6500 - Cons:

  • Limited Audio-only Output options - (no analog, no digital coaxial - digital optical only)
  • I was not able to use a standard external USB Windows keyboard for web browsing or system navigation. Note: According to additional clarification provided by Samsung, the BD-H6500 is compatible with Bluetooth Keyboards - However, a Bluetooth Keyboard was not on-hand to confirm this.
  • Lightweight, flimsy-looking, build quality.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung BD-H6500 is a great example of a full-featured Blu-ray Disc player. In addition to spinning discs, the BD-H6500 can access content from the internet, your PC, USB flash drives, and, in most cases, your smartphone or tablet. All you need for a good home theater experience is a TV (or video projector), Home Theater Receiver, Speakers/Subwoofer, and a Blu-ray Disc player with the capabilities, and affordability, of the Samsung BD-H6500.

NOTE: 4K Upscaling, WiFi Direct (as opposed to the WiFi network), or Samsung SHAPE features were not tested.

As mentioned in the introduction to this review, the Samsung BD-H6500, although it still be may be available, is a 2014 model. For more current Blu-ray Disc player suggestions, check out our periodically updated listing of Best Blu-ray Disc Players.

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