At £65, Samsung's entrant is clearly in a different price bracket to many of its rivals.

But, taking value into account and the fact that Sammy is selling this as a stripped-down player with the emphasis on its 1080p abilities, it could still do well.

Simple, forward-thinking deck

This entry-level deck is a very progressive machine.

On the fair assumption that it is now impossible to buy a new TV without an HDMI input, Samsung has bravely dumped nearly all of the analogue circuitry to concentrate on the HDMI output.

Hence no composite or S-video outputs and no multichannel jacks either. The fascia isn't plastered with logos either. Only the DVD badge and Full HD sticker remain.

Study the manual and it becomes clear that this budget box doesn't really have any features beyond spinning DVDs and upscaling anyway.

Stylish design

Style-wise, it's difficult not to be impressed by the slick fascia.

In a dim light the playback controls are rendered invisible on the glossy background, making it look like one thin slice of polished plastic. The onscreen interface is excellent and the remote is small, light, and well-designed.

There's still a Scart socket at the back, and the RGB signal from this yields quite a stable image with bright colours and low levels of video jitter and background noise.

Messy pictures

The player's budget nature is evident in the player's colour performance - look for banding around the sun in the opening scene of Sunshine.

Pressing the HDMI button on the remote nudges the video output from standard-def to 720p after the usual pause.

Unfortunately, the Samsung made a bit of a mess of our scaling test patterns. The HQV jaggies test caused quite a lot of image break-up with diagonal lines appearing almost constantly.

Ineffective upscaling

Upscaling should have brought some clarity to the softer background detail on my DVD, but here the difference was negligible and the artefacts introduced outweighed any advantage.

Switching to 1080i brought some improvement to the projected Optoma image, with less lines appearing, but still an overall worsening of image quality.

Upscaling to 1080p caused the same appearance of horizontal lines and jagged edges, as the player's video processor struggled to keep up with moving images.

Bargain disappointment

Ultimately, this smart-looking deck is a budget disappointment.

An sub-£100 HDMI upscaler sounds like just the thing for the TV in the spare room, but unfortunately this Samsung isn't it.