samsung_bd-36001

Since the mainstream inception of Blu-ray, the existence of the Playstation 3 has always made it hard to justify purchasing a stand alone Blu-ray player. The gaming system’s versatility presented buyers with just too many additional features to ignore, and the price disparity between it and everything else was negligible.

Recently, however, the cost of bringing Blu-ray home has come down, but outside of higher-quality video, bells & whistles have been few and far between. That’s where the Samsung BD-P3600 comes in, and we’re going to tell you all about it… after the jump.

Though it may cost as much as a PS3, the P3600 brings some unique qualities to the table. Beyond boasting excellent video quality and an incredibly fast operational speed (better than PS3), the set top box offers streaming of Netflix and Pandora, has 1GB of on board memory, an included Wi-Fi dongle, and can stream media off a connected PC.

Courtesy of CNET

Credit: CNET

In the looks department, the Samsung BD-P3600 stands out from the pack as well. Representing minimalism at its best, the only controls or buttons to be found are touch sensitive icons resting on the top of the device, and the entire unit is wrapped in a glossy black finish. Sadly, its beauty comes at a price, as the finish might as well be a smudge magnet.

The user interface for navigating through deeper settings and tweaks of the player is also quite attractive and features HD graphics and plasma-burning colors. However, it’s somewhat lacking in terms of intuitiveness. Despite this, accessing Pandora and Netflix on screen is still a pleasure.

One other catch we’ll mention is that the list of compatible file formats the device can stream from a computer is somewhat tiny (MP3, JPEG, DivX); the BD-P3600 will not work with iTunes AAC file format. The streaming from PC feature is also relatively time consuming to get working. Hopefully, these issues will be resolved in further updates of the systems firmware.

Editor’s Note: Though the BD-P3600 packs a hefty wow factor and robust connectivity, we should mention that the unit’s video processing chip is identical to the cheaper, BD-P1600. So if video performance is all that matters to you, we suggest saving a $100 and picking up the P1600.

Cost: $395