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After purchasing a new LCD TV I felt I should also buy a new high quality and worth of money DVD player since my previous one was already 5 years old. Bearing that in mind I started an extensive market research for the best possible product that could fulfil my desires but at the same time to be a really good bargain. Mostly, my research included: visits to retailers and online research. After reading as many possible reviews I decided to buy the HD950 DVD PLAYER by SAMSUNG. I feel the need to tell you now at the beginning of my review, that the reviews I read before buying the product were at their most "professional" reviews written by the manufacturers of the product. Perhaps this was the biggest mistake I've made during the whole market research process, for the simple reason that I never thought to advise people who already owned one of the specific type and model DVD player, as a result to make a 'non' so pleasant buying decision.
A BIT OF INFORMATION
Before starting bombarding you with unknown terms and specification words about the product I feel the need to give you an explanation of these terms in advance. :-)
HDMI: High-Definition Multimedia Interface. USB-like digital video connectivity standard designed as a successor to DVI; can transmit both digital audio and video signals; incorporates HDCP digital copy protection.
UPCONVERSION: In DTV, the conversion from a lower-resolution input signal to a TV capable of displaying higher resolutions, such as from an SDTV 480p signal to an HDTV 1080i native display.
ASPECT RATIO CONTROL: Aspect ratio is the fractional relation of the width of a video image compared to its height. The two most common aspect ratios in home video are 4:3 (also known as 4x3, 1.33:1, or standard) and 16:9 (16x9, 1.78:1, or wide-screen).
DVD AUDIO AND SACD DECODING: DVD-A offers 1,000 times the resolution of CD and can deliver up to six channels of ultrahigh-resolution sound. But to access those tracks, you need a DVD-Audio player, although almost all DVD-A discs have lower-quality Dolby Digital or DTS tracks that can be played by any DVD player. DVD-Audio sound has great detail and texture, and it's more lifelike than CD.
SAMSUNG HD950-THE PRODUCT
Probably right now you feel a bit confused with all these terminology used above but it is vital to explain as much as I can these specifications for the simple reason that I never had a clue what all that stuff was while I was buying the product.
The Samsung DVD-HD950 is considered a DVD Player of a new generation that uses HDMI connection and UPCONVERSION technology in order to provide its buyers with excellent video quality on their HDTV's (High Definition TV's). The specialists in this sector argue that HDMI makes a notable difference in image quality. Unfortunately with my experience using this DVD Player I found out that HD950 image quality was pretty much disappointing. On the other hand, fortunately for me, despite the bad experience with the quality issues, this HD950 DVD Player has a big number of other features and at the same time is one of the cheapest piece of equipment in comparison to the other manufacturers of similar products (Sony, Panasonic,etc).
The Samsung DVD-HD950 is a slim product and its look definitely gives the impression of a very powerful and capable product. This powerful effect is also supported by the very distinctive black colour and the minimalist silver buttons in the front of the product. Its slim design makes it a very desirable DVD Player as it can easily fit in any home entertainment theatre package.
The box includes a remote control which is very easy to navigate either by an experienced user of these kind of products or by a first time user. The only drawback of the remote control is the fact that does not include any backlight. The remote is full of many functions such as the HDMI resolution. It has also buttons that allow you instantly frame-by-frame step through and fast searches. A feature I found amazing was the fact that the specific control remoter can be used to control many other brands of TV's…Not that you would probably needed!!!
In comparison to other bargain DVD Players this specific product offers more features and functions than most common DVD Players. A fascinating feature is that includes an ASPECT- RATIO CONTROL (explained above) that is used to resize 16:9 and 4:3 content in many ways.
Unfortunately my TV does not allow me to use the Aspect-Ratio Control. This is an issue you have to resolve by your own either by asking your TV manufacturer or taking your own research.
Another very interesting function is the use of DVD-AUDIO & SACD DECODING. According to another user's experience on DVD Players, "if you don't really care about these high-resolution audio formats you can save some money with the previous model, DVD HD850 (silver colour) with the only difference that lacks support for DVD-AUDIO & SACD DECODING but is otherwise identical".
I must recognise the fact that the strongest point of the HD950 is the HDMI output even if I was disappointed in the end for the image quality. Even though I had a bad experience this feature offers you better quality in comparison to common DVD Players, but NOT AS EXPECTED!!! Fortunately for you that might consider buying this DVD Player, Samsung supplies you with cable. Furthermore the manufacturer includes in the box other outputs such as S-Video and Composite Video, two cables for Digital Audio and one each for Analog Stereo and Multichannel Audio.
Right now you will wonder "if it has so many features and functions, why this guy found it disappointing"? The answer is very simple: Even though you will probably agree that this Player has a large number of features compared to common DVD Players in the market, the picture quality was not meeting all the exciting comments I heard about this so called 'powerful tool'. This of course depends on the stuff you are looking when you're buying a DVD Player. The only thing I was looking was to offer me an incredible picture quality (as it was marketed) and to be able to enjoy my all favourite movies.
Although I am judging this DVD Player mostly in terms of image quality, I feel obliged to mention hat it performed incredibly well in other functions I used. Compatibility of other DVD's was almost excellent, meeting only a few problems of very old badly handled DVD's I owned. It mastered DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW formats and can easily play DVD's with MP3
OTHER ISSUES TO CONSIDER
Please NOTE that while the product is showed in some product images that there is a DivX logo on the product, the Player I bought didn't had the logo and simply couldn't play DivX
Overall the Samsung DVD-HD950 isn't the best-performing upconverting DVD, but its ability to play DVD-A and SACD discs will appeal to audiophiles and videophiles. In my opinion when a product is advertised as an exclusive piece of equipment which offers the highest standards of picture imaging it must fulfil anyone's demands as mine. Unfortunately that was the only thing I was looking for and it simply disappointed me. The only advice I can give you beyond this review is simply trust mostly the opinions and experiences of common people like me on their experiences on such products where the manufacturers bombard you with unknown tones of information.
I hope you will find this review helpful in any future or present considerations in buying this product.
NOTE: I apologise I couldn't include any pictures of the actual product as I am not eligible yet!
Looking for high quality image? NO Looking for Audiophile & Videophile Ability? YES LOOKING for Both? NO
You have criticised the product heavily but have not taken the time to correctly set it up with your TV - at least you don't mention it. Try it. I think the difference you will see after running through a video setup DVD will be well worth the effort.