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on May 26, 2012
I was finally forced to shop around for a blu-ray player when both of my older upscaling dvd players recently stopped playing dvd's reliably. After checking around EVERYWHERE, researching pricing, features, and customer satisfaction for under-$90 blu-ray players, I found this model here on Amazon (sold by Paul's Electronics in MA and Fulfilled By Amazon) for around $75.

First, it is important for all potential buyers to know that this Region 1 DVD/Region A Blu-Ray player has only an HDMI output connector; it does NOT have any component or analog composite output connectors. However, as all high definition televisions have HDMI input connectors (which "carry" both the video and audio signals together via one HDMI cable connection) this should not be a problem.

Like all HDMI-connected Blu-Ray players these days, video and audio quality is excellent, including its implementation of relatively newer HDMI a/v technologies like TrueHD and HDMI Deep Color. Upscaling of older dvd's, and automatic detection and correct display of all discs' aspect ratios and resolution output is equally excellent (actually, impressively so). Loading speed of Blu-Ray discs is decent for a Blu-Ray player of this price (Blu-Ray discs typically take *much* more time to load than do standard dvd's, regardless of brand of player). Internet connection (via wired Ethernet), data retrieval, and direct-to-player firmware updating is all very quick, easy and trouble-free.

As with almost ALL relatively inexpensive (under $150) Blu-Ray disc players, this one does NOT "auto-resume" playback of *standard* dvd's from where you last left off watching them after removing and later re-inserting them into the player (whether or not a Blu-Ray player will perform such "auto-resume" functionality with a *Blu-Ray* disc is in fact dependent on whether or not that particular Blu-Ray disc was manufactured to include that feature).

The player's currently-available sources of online streaming media are relatively limited, but its implementation of VuDu is TRULY excellent; even with a download Internet speed of less than 2 mbps/sec. you are likely to be able to consistently view a VuDu 720p HD stream without buffer interruptions (provided you connect the unit to preferably a 100-base T Ethernet router jack, using at least a high quality Cat 5e if not Cat 6 cable); if you connect it this way with an Internet speed of at least 2.9 mbps you'll likely be able to stream full VuDu 1080p (at least to begin with, just ignore the VuDu app's lower "recommended" video quality level - VuDu allows you to sample the first two minutes of most videos at any of the resolution levels available for that video before committing to renting or buying the complete program).

Many streaming devices have idiosyncrasies regarding how they function with the various streaming services that come with them, and this Blu-Ray player has two such idiosyncrasies:

1) Regarding VuDu - While VuDu allows all consumers to browse its catalog via a device's VuDu app, in order to actually rent or purchase a video you must go online to create a VuDu account and store credit card information to which on-demand charges (from a device's app) will be posted. After you've created your online VuDu account and stored your credit card info there, if you go into this player's VuDu app and check your account info (from within the app) you will see the app stating that you have a credit card stored online but that the card has "expired" and that you must go online to update your credit card info - even though the credit card that you've stored in your VuDu account has *not* necessarily expired. This is a "bug" known to VuDu but it is purely cosmetic and has no effect whatsoever on the functionality of the VuDu service and app - as long as the credit card data that you've stored in your online VuDu account is current and otherwise valid, the app will let you proceed with renting, purchasing and viewing videos.

2) Regarding NETFLIX - If you set this player to *automatically* check for its own firmware updates (through its Ethernet connection), at some point the player will begin to "forget" your Netflix account login information and require you to re-enter the information. This is a "bug" known to Samsung; the only known "work-around" is to disable the player's automatic checking for firmware updates (within the player's Settings menu system: "Settings" -> "Support" -> "Software Upgrade"), thus requiring you to perform such checks *manually* (which you also do within the same Settings menu).

Lastly, Samsung now strongly recommends that consumers of this player do a "hard re-set" immediately following EVERY completed firmware update. This is accomplished by turning the player on, making sure that there isn't a disc in the player, turning your tv on such that you can see the player's "home" screen, and then pressing and holding in the "Play" button THAT'S ON THE FRONT PANEL OF THE PLAYER (*NOT* the Play button on the remote control) for about 8 SECONDS until you see the message that the player's resetting itself to factory default settings. Unfortunately, this will then require that you once again manually reset most of the player's settings to those which you need and/or desire.

NOTE: If you do a "soft" system reset ("Settings"-> "Support" -> "Reset", which leaves certain settings unchanged) you will be asked for a PIN. Using the number buttons on the player remote enter whatever Security PIN you may have previously set; if you have not set one, enter 0000.

NONE OF THE ABOVE IS STATED IN THE CURRENT VERSION OF THE PLAYER'S USER MANUAL THAT IS INCLUDED IN THE UNIT'S BOX, and it's *VERY* important that you register your product with Samsung online so that they can email you with important information regarding the product's firmware, features, and operational procedure updates.

So far I've only had the player for about a month, but I'm already convinced that in spite of these idiosyncrasies I bought the best under-$80 (delivered) blu-ray player currently available.

12/24/2012 - I'm still extremely happy with this purchase; it still functions as well as it did when I first bought it over 7 months ago. Additionally, Samsung has been very good at notifying registered owners via email of when its streaming video services may be temporarily interrupted due to scheduled system maintenance. However, the last firmware update for this particular model was issued by Samsung a few months ago and I'm not expecting the company to offer very many (if any at all) additional firmware updates for it as they now seem to be concentrating their Blu-Ray player update efforts pretty much entirely on their newer and somewhat more expensive "Smart Hub" streaming services models.

6/14/2013 - My unit continues to work perfectly and it's now been well over a year since I originally purchased it.
ALSO: A few months ago Netflix, VuDu and Samsung finally got their acts together regarding the Netflix and VuDu apps on these pre-SmartHub units (the VuDu app's Account info screen now correctly displays that a valid credit card is on file, and Netflix now works EXCELLENTLY and CONSISTENTLY). Just make sure that your firmware is up-to-date.
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on June 5, 2012
The player played videos intermittently at first, I was ready to return it. Then my husband (being the techinician that he is) thought that a firmware update might fix the problem. So we connected the player to the internet and downloaded the latest firmware and that fixed the problem. We didn't encounter any problems anymore when playing DVDs. Fair price for a neat product!
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on April 9, 2012
This Blu Ray player the (BD-E5300) is perfect for me! I don't stream movies via the internet (Netflix, Vudu, etc...) so I can't comment on how well is streams or if it freezes or not. I just use the player for my currect collection of DVD's and Blu Rays and let me say it plays them all just fine. The Blu Ray player upscales so good that it makes my DVD's almost look like Blu Ray discs. I also like the remote because it has an eject button and the remote can control your TV's volume and source. There is nothing wrong with this Blu-Ray player, it's pretty basic and that's all I need to play my DVD's and Blu Ray discs. Oh yeah, it has the "full screen" mode too, so just incase you have some movies that won't fit your screen, no worries this Blu Ray players takes care of that with that "full screen" mode option on the remote. No negatives about this player. I love it!!
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on August 16, 2012
If you're looking for a BluRay player, and don't need 3D capabilities or a web browser, then this just might be the best buy available. As another reviewer has observed, it's the best player in this price range. I'm giving it 5* because picking some nits for something this good at this price just seems unreasonable.

I've been very pleased with my Samsung TVs and BD players, they have proved to be excellent in video and sound quality (which to me is 90% of the evaluation). I bought this one to replace an older Sony BD player that was getting cranky with newer disks (even after updating). With this unit after I plugged in HDMI, ethernet cable, and power, it automatically turned itself (& the tv) on, and presented a simple configuration screen, and followed with an online update. After that, it was a pleasure to sit back and enjoy a movie.

I cannot honestly tell you that the picture from this was better than the one from my 2 year old Samsung BD-C6500 player, If there were any differences, they didn't jump out at me. The box itself is smaller and lighter, and instead of LED controls, this one has little buttons. Although those LED controls are cool-looking, I have to admit that these clunky buttons are a lot easier to find and use. The remote is smaller as well, and comes with Netflix & Pandora buttons (I don't like that, but others might).

I didn't test the streaming features, and probably never will, since my TV has streaming capability as well, and I tend not to use streaming that much.

I like the way the Samsung BD players integrate with the Samsung TVs, automatically turning on/off, and setting the optimal picture settings. I wouldn't buy them just for that, but it's a nice plus.
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on January 23, 2013
My husband and are completely disappointed with Samsung and this Blu-ray player. We purchased this in August and have literally thrown it in the trash in less than 6 months. The Blu-ray portion stopped working just a few months after purchase. We spent hours trouble-shooting from updating the software, checking the connections, etc. We then called customer support who had us do everything we spent hours doing the day before with no luck. They said they would have a tech call us one called. My husband then put in for a service request. We were then told that we had to go through the trouble shooting online site AGAIN. Then we were told we could ship it to them (which would cost nearly $20 out of out pocket) and if they "do not find anything wrong", Samsung then charges $55. Unfortunately we were already outside of our Amazon warrenty and Samsung was worthless to deal with. My husband and I will no longer be buying anything Samsung after the horrible service we received.

DO NOT BUY!!! We literally threw it away!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon July 24, 2012
This is a pretty basic Blu-ray player with not that many bells and whistles. It has the option of using internet apps via ethernet but does not have wi-fi capability. This did not factor into my purchase since our tv has wi-fi access and all the apps we need. . . so we really got the Blu ray player to play Blu rays and our dvd's.

DVD's were my major concern since we have a decent sized collection that I don't plan on rushing out and replacing with blu-rays. The player does a phenomenal job upscaling dvd's and the resulting picture is smooth and very clear.

The player is very simple to set up and use. The loading time on dvd's is really quite short while it takes a bit longer to load and play blu ray discs. There are no extra bells and whistles to this thing. It plays your discs and does it well. That is about it. But if you already have a Smart TV and just need a decent blu-ray player this one is highly recommended.
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on December 2, 2012
Following the advice of a previous reviewer, I registered the player at Samsung. Downloaded the newest firmware and flashed from a USB drive before I ever tried to play a DVD or BluRay. Works perfectly and paired with Logitech Harmony 700 and the rest of my system. Great unit for the price.
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on May 11, 2012
I bought this unit mostly to play video files streamed from my PC, and the occasional blu-ray or DVD. I've had a PS3 for a few years and it works great for this purpose. I used to lug it from room to room depending on where I wanted to watch, but got tired of that. Wanted another blu-ray player that would do the job for a fraction of the cost of another PS3. I also liked the form factor, at only 14" wide since my bedroom TV sits on a dresser along with a TiVo and a disc player.

This unit advertises that it plays MKV files. For the PS3, I use MKV2VOB to quickly convert/repackage MKV files so they'll play. The first thing I noticed was that this unit didn't play regular MKV files either, but it was able to open the same repackaged files as for the PS3. No big deal. However, I quickly found out that I couldn't fast-forward or rewind the video files, when you try it pops up "function unavailable". It's a deal-breaker of course. There is a "jump" feature that didn't work either, the video just froze for a few seconds and started to play where it was. I tried some avi/xvid files as well, also no fast forward/rewind, and the jump feature barely worked. Samsung tech support was useless, but that's to be expected.

This is a new player and I would venture to guess that this will be fixed eventually with a firmware update. But since it's my primary reason for buying it, I wasn't about to wait around. Samsung is notorious for taking forever to release firmware updates even for serious issues. I know because this was my 2nd Samsung Blu-Ray player (I also have an older model that does not support PC streaming). Some time ago all new Warner movies would hang at the loading screen, and it was months before they fixed it.

I returned this unit and bought an LG BP320. I actually meant to order a BP220 because I don't need wireless, but I ordered the 320 by accident. The LG unit plays all streamed files from my PC perfectly. It's a few inches wider but it's a tradeoff I'll take since it gets the job done. I'd recommend the Samsung only if you have zero interest in playing streamed files from your PC. Otherwise I can vouch that the LG works great.
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on May 20, 2012
Connecting this to my home network was a snap, especially since it displays its MAC address in the on-screen setup. I run a by-permission-only network since it ties directly into my WIFi, and I need this to grant access. Netflix did not work at first. Research on the net made me decide a software upgrade was in order, and subsequently the unit informed me an upgrade was available. Why didn't it tell me this the first time I turned it on? Anyway, Netflix works just fine now and I'm watching a DVD with no issues. I like the progress bar it displays when you pause a video letting you know how far along in the movie you are. When I turn the TV on the unit seems to sense this and turns itself on automatically. I haven't tried a Blu-ray disk as I don't own any yet. Seems to perform well considering the price I paid. I like the coaxial audio out which will connect right into my home-theater audio system. UPDATE: I have configured my file server PC to share files with the player, and the results are a little whimsical, but I am not sure if this is because of the free software I am using on the PC or what. Some movies play well, others the picture is sized wrong and part of it off the screen no matter how I set the player or TV screen modes.
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on November 12, 2012
I couldn't care a flying leap for internet apps and such on a Blu-ray player, much less a TV. So to me these things (and their strengths/weaknesses) aren't in any way a subject of this review. I like the idea they're there in case I ever decide to try them out, but I bought it to play Blurays and DVDs, and that's how I'll review it.

That being said, there are no issues at all with this device, it works flawlessly and has for the better part of a year now. I connected it to a Vizio 32" in my bedroom and it has lived its life there so far. When the player is turned on/off either with the buttons or the remote, it automatically turns on/off my Vizio TV AND sets it to HDMI-1 (the port the player's connected to) automatically, so there's no fiddling with the TV remote. That impressed me, as it's not even a Samsung TV. Now, I'm not quite sure if this is an intelligent feature of my TV or this player. Either way it's a nice perk. Kudos to Vizio if it's actually the TV sensing this.

It does a good job upscaling DVDs, and that's mostly what I use it for (my Seinfeld collection, it's gold Jerry, GOLD!) And it does a stunning job with Blurays (I'm sure they all do, that's the nature of the beast with Bluray and a HD TV.) I like the fact that this unit has a clock/counter on the front in a not-too-bright yellowish LED screen. I also like hard buttons on the front instead of the top, so my DirecTV box can sit in top of it and not cover anything. I sound lazy and spoiled, but really I'm not ;)

The unit makes a little noise when it's loading, you can really hear that thing rev up. I haven't owned any other Bluray players so maybe they all spin faster than a standard DVD player and that's what I'm hearing is the extra RPMs, who knows. It's by no means distracting or a negative, just something to type in a review I guess. When powering the unit on you're greeted with a subtle bling-dee-ding-dong-ding chime, then the main menu appears. For those who haven't had a Bluray player before, it doesn't start playing the disc right away like typical DVD players- it takes you into the player's menu first, complete with the Netflix apps, Hulu, Pandora, Disc, Pictures, etc. It defaults to the Disc app, so once this menu is up you just press play as you'd expect to watch your disc. Or arrow over & around to use the apps. I don't have wireless so can't comment on it's connectivity or the apps themselves as I mentioned at the outset. I have a computer and a smartphone and it stops there, I refuse to let my television cross into that world, lol.

Simply for the purpose of coming up with a negative item, one that comes to mind (which is quite petty) is sometimes when loading a DVD or Bluray into the tray, you can't simply press the 'play' button and have it close the door and load. I usually have to press the Door close/load button, then play. Again, no big deal, but with most players pressing play loads it as well.

This player comes only with an HDMI out (cable not included of course) connection. No AV/RCA/etc. I guess the rationale is that you wouldn't buy a Bluray player unless you wanted to watch Bluray movies, which are strictly for HD viewing through a HD TV. Having only an HDMI out forces you to hook it up to an HDTV. Otherwise you'd just stick to a standard DVD player, right? I read this in one review somewhere as sort of a negative feature, and I suppose it could be if you wanted to take it somewhere as a DVD player for a non-HD TV. But that's not very likely with most people is it?

I love it to pieces and don't regret buying it at all, for what it's worth. I tried to buy a second one recently for the living room after a TV upgrade, but couldn't find the same model. I found one that looks identical but is a different model #. I hope it performs as good as this one. The End.
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