Owners of current Samsung Blu-ray players, including the BD-P1600, BD-P3600 and BD-P4600, got a pre-Labor-Day present from the company in the form of a firmware update that adds YouTube streaming video. The players already support streaming content from Netflix and Pandora Internet radio, and streaming video from Blockbuster is also promised by the end of the year.
Owners of compatible Blu-ray players can visit Samsung's web site to get the new firmware. CNET is among the first professional reviewers to give the upgrade a whirl and says that everything went smoothly on its Samsung BD-P3600 review unit -- not always a given with Samsung's Blu-ray players (see our Blu-ray player report for more information). CNET also reports that the YouTube interface is different than what you would see on a PC, but that it is still easy to use and pretty similar to what's seen on other electronics products. One gripe is that streaming of YouTube HD content is not supported.
While the addition of YouTube as a content partner is a nice perk, it isn't enough to change Samsung's overall ranking in our opinion. But Blockbuster support could be another matter. The devil is in the details, of course, and the first Blockbuster set-top-box video streaming products were anything but well received (see our report on movie downloads and rentals). We hope to have more information when we update our Blu-ray player report next month.