We bought the BD-E5900 over the weekend to replace an old JVC DVD player that is prone to skipping. We picked the Samsung due to its long list of features and Samsung's good reputation.
Externally, here are the pros and cons:
Pros: Small and sleek form factor, simple front display, USB interface (useful for updates)
Cons: Limited connection options on back: HDMI output, a coax audio output and a Ethernet input. LED front panel display only 4 characters (small).
Things started poorly when we tried unsuccessfully for 45 minutes to connect it to our wireless network. Sometimes it would see the router, sometimes not. The signal was consistently 2 bars and worked fine with our LG HDTV and a laptop in the same room.
Skipping the networking step, we tried out our first Blu-Ray DVD. It took a long time to load and played for about five seconds before an image came on screen, but when it came up, the image quality was gorgeous. If this is the way it always worked, this would be an excellent player.
Most of our collection is regular DVD, so we ejected the disk and put a DVD in. No video. In fact, our TV reported no signal from the Blu-Ray player. The time counter on the player counted up to 20, but there was no output to the TV, and we couldn't even get to the player's setup GUI. We tried a different DVD, same result. Back to the Blu-Ray. Didn't work. Power cycled. Blu-Ray disk worked and the setup menus were back.
The documentation indicated that firmware updates could resolve playback issues, so we downloaded the latest firmware via laptop from Samsung to a USB stick. Removed the Blu-Ray and power cycled. The setup screen suddenly indicated that a software update was available - after all that, the wireless networking suddenly started working, but the download did not progress very fast, so after a little waiting we switched back to using the USB method per instructions. The firmware upload worked fine by USB.
After rebooting and verifying the updated firmware version, we started over. Blu-ray worked perfectly. Tried the first DVD. Worked fine. Tried the second DVD. Worked fine. Didn't play anything for more than a minute. Figured the firmware update had solved the problem. Now that the wireless network seemed to be working, we tried some of the apps. Some of the apps were decent, but the web browser doesn't support Flash so that nixes a lot of internet video content.
Turned everything off. Came back in an hour to watch a DVD. Powered up, no signal to TV. Tried different disks. When it crashed, we had to power cycle to recover the signal to the TV. It always crashed for a DVD if you started with a DVD. Sometimes the player worked with DVDs after you put a Blu-Ray disk in, but not always.
How on earth did this faulty player pass Samsung's Quality Control?
We returned the player the next day and bought an LG BP620 3D Blu-Ray Player Built-In Wi-Fi - Black
Comparing the two:
Listed features in spec: Samsung is better (internet/app choices, playback media)
Wireless network behavior: LG also showed issues here like the Samsung when signal strength was only 2 bars. Worked fine in a room with high signal strength. Must be very poor wireless receivers in these players!
Firmware upgrade behavior: About the same. Both worked fine with USB. Wireless methods either didn't work outright or downloads were too slow.
Output options: LG had the same as Samsung plus the old RCA audio/video connections. Nice if you still have an old TV with no HDMI.
Remote control: LG's remote was generally nicer than Samsung's
Front panel: LG's LED display was longer than Samsung's and more user friendly. Also the LG unit has a protective cover for the USB, while Samsung's USB is always exposed.
Operation: LG worked right the first time, unlike the Samsung!