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Samsung HT-BD1250 Blu-ray Home Cinema System - Samsung HT-BD1250
Although the rear connections are relatively generous for a one-box system, we can't help but bemoan the lack of HDMI inputs, which prevents you from looping other hi-def sources through to your TV. There are, however, two optical digital audio inputs and analogue stereo input. Pictures can be piped to your display using the HDMI, component or composite video outputs, and an Ethernet port is provided for BD Live downloads and firmware updates.
But if you're on a wireless network, you can side-step the cumbersome Ethernet connection and hook up to the Internet by plugging an optional Wi-Fi dongle into the USB port on the rear. It's not limited to BD Live downloads though - you can also stream music, video and photo files from a PC on your network, which is a very nifty feature for anyone with a wealth of content on their PC hard-drive. We weren't given a USB dongle to try this feature out, but if it's anything like the BD-P3600 then it'll be tricky to set up but a lot of fun once it's up and running.
The rear speakers can also be connected wirelessly if you pick up the optional SWA-4000 transmitter/receiver kit, which we found online for just under £60. But one peripheral you don't have to fork out for is an iPod dock, which comes in the box and supports most types from 1st generation right the way up to the iPhone 3GS.
Elsewhere the feature list is generous. On the front panel is another USB port that lets you play MP3, DivX and JPEG from a flash drive, and on the Blu-ray side the system happily decodes Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS HD Master Audio. Discs can be output in 1080/24p and your DVDs can be given a near-HD makeover using the 1080p upscaling feature. And if radio's your bag, then there's an FM tuner on board.
A one-box system wouldn't be a one-box system without a range of gimmicky sound modes, and sure enough Samsung obliges. Pro Logic II processing turns stereo sources into 5.1-channel surround, while the EQ modes magically whisk you away to different environments like a Hall or a Church - at least that's the idea. There's also a Smart Sound function that prevents sudden changes in volume from making you jump.
Like Samsung's Blu-ray standalone decks, the BD1250 is simple to use, thanks to the cute, logically arranged onscreen menus and excellent remote, which is styled in the same gloss-black finish as the rest of the system and features intuitive button placement.
The system also provides a range of useful speaker setup options that let you set the distance, delay and volume of individual channels, and in every area of the GUI the system is slick and cooperative (including disc scanning and chapter skipping). Not only that but it also loads Spider-Man 3's first video screen in just 26 seconds.