I recently picked up both the Samsung BD-6500 and the Sony BDP-BX57 (Sam's Club version of the BDP-S570) with the intent of trying them both and returning the one I didn't want to keep. I figured I would share my experience here for the benefit of others. Samsung BD-6500What I liked:
* Picture quality! Fantastic detail and color in material rendered from Blu-Ray, DVD, and streaming formats. I did notice that it could struggle noticeably when rendering images from a lower quality source (SD streaming, badly transferred DVDs, etc.), but the Sony did as well, and the Samsung certainly looked superior when given good source material.
* Downloadable content - I like the idea of the Samsung "app store" where additional content can be downloaded. For example, the machine didn't come with Blockbuster loaded, but I was able to download and use the Blockbuster app immediately.
* Vudu - Samsung has Vudu, and Vudu has hands-down the best HD streaming I've seen (1080p when streaming their "HDX" format).
* Netflix - Samsung has the more enhanced Netflix interface that allows more on-screen browsing and searching. Nothing I couldn't live without, but it is a very nice-to-have.
* Navigation options - Samsung has forward/reverse in seven different speeds - good for quickly scanning through a whole movie or rewinding just a few seconds to catch a missed line of dialog.
* Box look-and-feel - yes, the box seems to be all plastic. Nice plastic, but all plastic. That doesn't really matter that much to me. What I like are the sleek "touch pad" buttons on the front and the (to my mind) pleasing display. Very clean lines throughout.
* Remote - large, with large, easy-to-read buttons. Works for me...
* 7.1 analog outs - not useful to me, but I'm sure others require this for their setups.What I didn't like:
* Slow! The Samsung thing is a crawler compared with the Sony. Everything feels like it takes forever, from boot up to navigating to simple tasks like entering text from the remote or skipping chapters/FF/RW. Slow to connect to Wifi, slow to load a disc, and slow to respond to the remote. Slow!
* Wireless connections are a nightmare. Has trouble connecting, and even occasionally has trouble staying connected. When I first got the player, I used it with a Wireless G router. I had to enter my wifi password every time I turned the player off and on, and the data stream seemed to be slow. So I bought a newer Wireless N router, which solved the data stream problem, but now connecting is even harder than before, and the connection gets dropped more often (once every three or four sessions). Sometimes it works when I type in the password, sometimes it works when I use WPS, and sometimes it just never works at all. Ugh!
* Streaming problems - may be related to the poor wireless connections, but I've experienced some audio problems when streaming HD. Usually these manifest as a low volume, low range soundtrack accompanying the picture. Have not experienced similar audio streaming problems with the Sony.Sony BDP-BX57/S570What I liked:
* Fast! This machine screams when it comes to speed. I never experienced any lag, whether I was navigating menus or trying to freeze-frame on a favorite scene. Very responsive, quick to load discs and quick to connect to the wireless network. Great ease of use!
* Streaming - the Sony quickly connects to the wireless network every time I turn it on and I have never experienced any streaming problems. Many fewer headaches than the Samsung.
* Apps - lots of good apps, including Amazon VOD and Hulu+. No Vudu, however, and only a basic interface for Netflix.
* 3D - not something I plan on using any time soon, but nice to have for someday.What I didn't like:
* Picture quality - the picture was noticeably softer and less detailed than the Samsung, and the colors less rich. The Sony did as well or better than the Samsung when it came to poorly transfered DVDs and SD streaming content, but couldn't keep up when it came to HD streaming and reference level Blu-Rays and DVDs.
* FF/RW navigation - only three speeds for forward and reverse. Three. Really? Is it that hard to provide a few more speed options for those of us who like to move around a lot? This is so frustrating that it's almost a deal-killer for me...
* Box look and feel - the good news is that the box is made of both metal and plastic. The bad news is, it looks kinda cheap (to my eyes). I may have been seduced by Samsung's flashy flat-front with touch sensitive areas instead of buttons and large display, but Sony has opted for a really utilitarian look, with tiny little buttons along a beveled edge and a lackluster display. Certainly not a deal-killer, but it seems like they could have put a little more into presentation there...
* Remote - like the box, kinda small, utilitarian, and hard to read, but again, not a deal-killer.Final thoughts
I still haven't decided which I'm going to keep, and I need to decide soon, as my return window is closing, lol!
I should note that I've experienced a few random glitches with both players when playing back DVDs - nothing consistently reproducible, but they both seem to have their challenges occasionally.
If I were only interested in watching Blu-Rays and DVDs, I would probably keep the Samsung, despite its speed issues. However, since I'm also looking for a capable streaming box, I need something that provides a more stable wireless connection without any additional investment. When it works, it does a great job, but it's certainly not consistent.
The Sony is a rock-solid piece of equipment that inspires confidence. Everything seems to work and work consistently and smoothly. That alone makes me want to keep it, but then I remember that it falls noticeably behind the Samsung when it comes to picture quality, even on streamed material.
So those are my thoughts, for what they're worth. Hope others find them useful. I'll update when I make my decision, when I discover something new, or if I am able to fix any of the aforementioned problems.