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Samsung continues its groundbreaking Blu-ray exploits with the BD-P3600, which accompanies the superb BD-P4600 in the company's latest line-up. Whereas the BD-P4600 was designed with wall mounting in mind, the P3600 sports a conventional set-top box design, and despite its lower model number it comes equipped with a more generous feature list, making it a player that enthusiasts will love.
But that doesn't mean the BD-P3600 is any less attractive than its wall-mountable sibling. In fact, you could argue that it's the best-looking disc spinner the company has ever produced. When we pulled the unit out of the box it was love at first sight - the P3600 is incredibly slim and clad in a deep black finish with grey highlights around its beautifully curved edges. It's a full-on fingerprint magnet but looks like these are worth a squirt of Mr Sheen every now and again.
Perched on top is a row of touch-sensitive buttons that give off a gentle beep when pressed, and just below the display panel (which is a tad small if truth be told) you'll find a concealed USB port. On the back is a healthy array of sockets including the usual suspects like HDMI, component, composite, stereo audio and optical digital outputs. But the most pleasing addition is a set of 7.1-channel analogue ports, which allow you to enjoy Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio soundtracks on older amps without HDMI inputs.
Because the BD-P3600 is Profile 2.0 compliant, you'll also find an Ethernet connection on the rear for hooking up to the Internet and accessing BD Live content. But making a wired connection can be a real pain in the neck if your router is in another room, so that's why we're pleased to report that the BD-P3600 can also connect wirelessly. In the box you'll find an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi USB dongle (optional on the BD-P4600) that plugs into the second USB port on the rear, enabling you to hook up to the web without a cable in sight.
And thanks to the PC streaming feature, you can play music and video from a computer on your wireless network. Well, in theory anyway - after searching for devices it successfully found my laptop, but wouldn't play any of the stored media content, instead displaying a 'No Program is found' message. It should be a very handy feature if you can get it to work.
Another convenient feature is 1GB of built-in flash memory, which rules out the need to buy a USB memory stick for storing web downloads. It leaves the front-mounted USB port free for further memory expansion or for playing back DivX HD, XviD, MP3 and JPEG files from a memory stick.