So you just purchased a new 4K UHD Samsung TV like the Q8C and you need a Blu-ray player. Because not everyone has or even wants an Xbox One X, Samsung has you covered. The UBD-M9500 is capable of playing back 4K UHD Blu-ray content as well as DVDs, Blu-rays, CDs and more. This inconspicuous black box looks and feels familiar but it holds the key to your 4K UHD goodness inside. Read on for the full review of the Samsung UBD-M9500.
The Samsung UBD-M9500 has the following features and specifications:
- 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
- HD Up-Scaling
- UHD Up-Scale
- 360° content playback
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Smart Blu-Ray
- Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC)
- CD Ripping
- Dolby/dts 7.1
- Optical out
- HDMI Out: 2
- USB 3.0: 1
What’s In The Box
- Samsung UBD-M9500 Blu-ray player
- Power cord
- Remote with batteries
- Documentation and instructions
- Warranties and information
Aside from the curved front facade of the UBD-M9500, there’s not much in terms of aesthetics to be excited about. The player has a familiar look and feel and doesn’t stray far from what typical Blu-ray and DVD players look like. On the front, you have Samsung branding, the Blu-ray tray, power, and eject buttons. There is also a small OLED display on the curve that gives you bits of information about operation.
The top has simple UltraHD/Blu-ray branding and on the right side of the unit is where your USB port is located. Around the back, you’ll find the power outlet, Optical Audio out, Ethernet, and 2 HDMI out ports. Along with all the traditional warnings and brandings like dts HD, Dolby Audio, Java, and HDMI. There is a fan for cooling and some additional venting to keep the unit operating at optimal temperature.
The remote included is pretty basic and plasticy. It’s not premium feeling at all and I wish there were a bit more thought put into its design. Overall the design is pretty basic, save the curved front which does add a nice design element if you have a curved TV. I did feel that the build quality was slightly lacking. I was expecting a much more robust device and not the super lightweight box that I got. The materials feel good enough, it just doesn’t scream premium to me. Of course, that may not matter to many.
Ease of Use
The UBD-M9500 setup is a breeze, pretty much plug and play if you don’t want to use the Samsung Smart Hub. If you have a TV or streaming device that you already use, you may not even bother with Smart Hub. In this case, it’s just a simple HDMI to HDMI connection to your TV and power on. You’re golden at that point, just play your favorite 4K UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD or CD.
If you want to use Samsung’s Smart Hub you’ll have to connect the unit to Wi-Fi which is a breeze as well. If you’ve connected any device to Wi-Fi in the past you’ll get through this with ease. Once you’re in Smart Hub, you can choose to connect your Samsung account (or not) and connect all of your apps. We’ll go over the Samsung Smart Hub interface later in software.
Overall, this is a very simple device to operate. If you’ve used DVD players or Blu-ray players in the past, it will be very familiar. Also, if you’ve used streaming devices in the past, setting up Smart Hub will be a breeze.
The UBD-M9500 performs as a Blu-Ray player should, mechanically it’s solid and I had no issues with the tray or any mechanical parts of the unit. Of course, this is a 4K UHD player so discs like Planet Earth 2 (4K UHD) will work in it. All of your old DVDs and Blu-ray discs will also work and the player will auto-select correct frame rate and settings depending on the content. The one thing the UBD-M9500 is missing is support for 3D Blu-ray, which could be a deal breaker for some. It didn’t matter much to me.
Of course, 4K looks amazing when played through the UBD-M9500 to a 4K UHD TV. The wider and more detailed color spectrum of HDR paired with the 4K resolution just makes a world of difference. Blacks are deep and whites are crisp and clean, it’s really a joy to consume content from this device on a 4K UHD TV.
Upscaling works automatically and even regular Blu-ray and DVD discs will look really good on your 4K UHD TV. Of course, watching older content upscaled isn’t going to look as great as native 4K UHD content but I think this player handles it well. Overall, the UBD-M9500 is a solid performer and a solid addition to your 4K UHD TV.
The same Samsung Smart Hub that is featured on the Q8C 4K UHD TV is also on this Blu-ray player. You don’t have to use the Smart Hub if you already have something set up on your existing TV or streaming device. I covered the Samsung Hub in my Q8C review so here’s a bit of what I had to say about it in that review.
You can also access social media and browse the web using Smart Hub. You have access to apps like YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Plex, Amazon Video, Crackle, Vimeo, and various Samsung content apps. There are even games you can access through Smart Hub and music services like Pandora, Spotify, Google Play Music and Movies and a plethora of other apps.
Navigation of the interface is smooth, simple and intuitive and you’ll have to use your Samsung account to login. I found the Smart Hub easily replaced all of my devices like my Amazon Fire Stick, Chromecast, and Xbox One S (when it came to accessing video content). The only two things that were lacking with Smart Hub was the gameplay of my Xbox One S, which is understandable and YouTube TV, which isn’t available on non-Google devices yet.
Initially, I thought I’d skip using the Samsung Hub but since I own the Samsung Galaxy S8+ and have a Samsung account already, I figured I’d put away the other devices and use the Hub. Overall the experience was very pleasurable. I never felt I needed to use any other device besides my Chromecast for YouTube TV. If Google makes YouTube TV available on Smart Hub then I’d have a complete solution in Smart Hub. As far as high-end gaming goes, I don’t think Smart Hub is ready to replace an Xbox One or PlayStation console just yet. So hang on to those for a bit longer.
The Samsung UBD-M9500 also has Bluetooth built-in which allows you to pair headphones to it. This is a pretty handy feature if you want to watch movies in the middle of the night and not disturb anyone else.
Overall, the Smart Hub is really nice and the Bluetooth feature is really a great addition. Having used an older version of Samsung’s Smart Hub, I think they’ve really made huge improvements over previous versions. Still, there are so many streaming solutions on the market, I’m sure many will skip setting up the Hub.
The Samsung UBD-M9500 retails for $399.99USD but you can get it on Amazon for $327.99USD right now. Samsung’s website has it for $329.99USD. I think the price is slightly high. It’s not horrible at $329USD but I think it would be a great buy at $299USD. Still, this Blu-ray player plays 4K UHD movies and if you have the TV, you’re going to need something like this.
This is a solid 4K UHD Blu-ray player. The build quality and remote quality could be better but it does pair well with 4K UHD TVs. If you’re not interested in an Xbox One X and just want 4K UHD Blu-ray playback capbility, then the UBD-M9500 is a great choice.