Samsung DVD-HD850

Article Index
Samsung DVD-HD850
Performance and Usage
Features and Conclusion

Provided By: Samsung Canada
Price: ~175.00CDN (Pricegrabber.ca)

Features:

  • Hi-Def Conversion (480P/720P/768P/1080I)
  • HDMI Output, 1 Cable (HDMI-HDMI)
  • FLT Display
  • Plays -R/-RW/+R/+RW/CD-Audio & SVCD
  • Video DAC 54MHz/10BH
  • Audio DAC 192 KHz/24BH
  • EZ View Letter Box Eliminator

Product Image

Introduction:

As most of our tech-savy readers are aware, dvd technology has been around for quite a while, relatively speaking of couse.  The first DVD players went on sale in November of 1997 and were of course terribly expensive as is the case with any emerging technology.  Since then though - through the wide acceptance of the DVD standard - prices have dropped to insane levels while the number of companies producing dvd players has risen to levels where even name brands are eclipsed.  The question most consumers are voicing today is "Why spend over a hundred dollars on a dvd player when I can get one for 49.99 at my local Best Buy?".   You can't really blame them, in these days of rising fuel costs, money grabbing governments, and ever eager charities there is so much competition for your dollar that one has to wonder how much is too much to spend on a dvd player.  In this review I will examine the Samsung DVD-HD850 which is a moderately priced dvd player.  This is a High Definition compatible dvd player which means that if you have an HDTV this player will try to scale the 720x480 resolution of dvds up to match your tv.  It is also compatible with regular tvs.  Whithout further delay lets delve into this player and see if it is worthy of your dollar.

Unpacking and Setup

This player comes in a fairly nondescript brown box like any other electronics.  Inside you will find the Samsung DVD-HD850 player, a beefy remote,  an HDMI cable, a 3 wire composite L/R cable and a fairly hefty manual.

Accessories


The one thing that surprised me was the lack of a component video cable. Component video is still the most common method of connection to an HDTV.  If you are in a pinch you may use the 3 wire video/audio cable to accomplish the task, however that is not prefered since the Component cables generally use better shielding.  HDMI is still a relatively new standard for tvs. It is a digital output that transports audio as well as video. Unfortunately not many TVs have HDMI yet.  The remote does come with batteries which is a welcome addition, as I am always short on batteries.  With the unpacking dispensed with, I proceded to hook it up to my rather old 27" Panasonic tv. 

Front of Player

Back of Player



The outputs on the back consist of L/R analog audio jacks, coaxial and spdif digital audio connectors, hdmi and Component for HDTV, and coaxial and svideo for regualr tvs.

Input/Output Player
 

 

After plugging in with the svideo, imagine my surprise when I wasn't able get a picture.  What, me, read the manual? So I did the unthinkable and after a brief perusal I located the information in the manual that related to switching the video outputs using the remote,  and .... it didn't work.  Luckily samsung also provided me with a 192P monitor that supported Component inputs and after hooking it up to that, I was able to get an image just fine. 

Greeting Screen


I went into the menu and changed the video output to svideo and guess what?  My old TV works just fine with it now.  This is probably due to a previous reviewer having set the output to HDTV only and it probably won't be a problem with most consumers because units sent from the factory will have the output set to the lowest common denominator.  It would be really handy though if manufacturers could put a hidden "reset" button on their components that would manually set all settings back to default.  After this minor annoyance the rest of the setup went very smoothly.  The setup menus were laid out in a very comprehensible manner and I had no difficulty in navigating any of them. 

Main Menu

Functions Menu


Setting up the video and audio outputs are a must.  Choose your video output method and the format of your tv (16:9 for widescreen and 4:3).  Make sure that you get this right of  your pictures may be stretched and look strange.  In the audio menu it is important to choose "bitstream" if you are going to be hooking into a 5.1 or greater system.  This threw me for a bit since my older philips player automatically set that format when plugged in through the digital audio outputs.

Video Output Menu

Audio Output Menu


You may also choose to setup your language so that the dvd player will know what subtitles to display automatically.  I would like to interject here that the manual was very clear in its detailed instructions on setup.