Samsung BD-D6700 Blu-ray 3D Player
Price: $300 At A Glance: Top-of-the-line streaming • Exceptional 2D and 3D playback • Compact, sleek design
Blu-ray players just aren’t what they used to be—they’re a lot more. Sony’s PlayStation 3 has long offered more than just standard Blu-ray playback. Today’s breed of players bring not only state-of-the-art Blu-ray performance but also connectivity to your home media network and a range of streaming options from the most popular movie and music providers on the Internet. These players can become the hub of your home entertainment system and eliminate the need for separate devices to get the most out of today’s technology.
The Samsung BD-D6700 is the very definition of media convergence. It not only offers the latest in Blu-ray features but also integrates your home entertainment library and the best entertainment the Internet has to offer. Its ease of use is only surpassed by its sheer volume of entertainment options, all in a sleek and sexy package.
Thin Is In
If you go to any of the home entertainment trade shows, one thing becomes immediately clear: Thin is in. Companies are pushing to get your displays, video players, media boxes, speakers, and just about everything else as compact as practically possible. Big-box consumer electronics’ days are numbered. Instead, you get slim, sexy flat-panel displays that are seemingly no thicker than your American Express card—and speakers and Blu-ray players that fade into the background with nary a footprint to be seen.
Samsung’s BD-D6700 fits this trend to a tee. It’s by far the smallest Blu-ray player I’ve seen. At 1.3 inches high, it’s less than half the height of my reference Blu-ray player, the OPPO BDP-95. Its tiny form factor gives it a surprisingly slick look, with a front-loading disc slot and touchsensitive front panel for control. While the player feels a bit flimsy in build, it looks quite nice sitting on the shelf.
Although this tiny player may look a bit insignificant, it packs a wallop of features, besting some of the top-of-the-line players from many of the more popular boutique brands. The BD-D6700 features full Blu-ray 3D playback and the requisite BD-Live connectivity, as well as built-in WiFi connectivity (802.11n), full 2D-to-3D conversion, and Samsung’s AllShare synching with other DLNA devices and a multitude of online services. It serves all of this up with a slick new interface that makes searching for media a breeze.
The BD-D6700’s slim design doesn’t afford a lot of connectivity options. You get the requisite component and composite video outputs plus a stereo analog output. On the digital side, there’s an optical TosLink connector and two HDMI outputs. The two HDMI outputs let you use the BD-D6700 with an A/V receiver or surround processor that doesn’t have the HDMI 1.4 input required to pass a 3D signal. You can send one HDMI connection to the display and the other to your A/V receiver or processor for audio. Of course, if you have an AVR that can switch 3D signals, you can simply use one of the outputs.
The player features a USB 2.0 input on the front panel just behind a door for loading personal digital content, and there’s an Ethernet port on the back panel that you can use in place of the built-in wireless connectivity.
A simple touch-style interface controls the basic operation from the front panel. It lights up impressively when the player is powering up. Controls are limited to the most basic functions, such as play/pause, skip, stop, and eject. The front display is dimmable, but you can’t shut it off completely. Discs are inserted via an illuminated slot, PlayStation3 style, rather than the more common loading drawer. The lighted slot is easy to find in a darkened room, but it’s extremely bright. If you’re sensitive to light control, you’ll probably shut it off.
The remote is fairly easy to operate, but the buttons aren’t as intuitive as most remotes I’m used to. The menu buttons don’t do what you think they would, and the remote can be difficult to navigate in the dark. You can also control a display via the remote. It’s already set up for a Samsung display and offers codes for other popular brands. This is also the first remote I’ve seen that offers the new Netflix button, which I’ll get into later.
A World of Options at Your Fingertips
Setting up the Samsung was easy. Most of the defaults are pretty close to the mark, although I’m not a fan of some of the presets that are becoming common on new Blu-ray players. My biggest gripe stems from the practice of setting the default for the Dynamic Range Control to on. It’s easy to overlook and can have a huge impact on the quality of the sound coming from the player.