The onscreen menus are blissfully simple to follow and look terrific, boasting a radiant colour palette and a logical left-to-right structure. The main menu makes it easy to find features like YouTube – simply hit the red button on the main splash screen and away you go, while PC streaming is grouped under the ‘e-Contents’ option in the main menu.
Setting up a network is easy if you have a DHCP router, and the system can search for available PCs and the relevant shared folders automatically. But if this doesn’t work for any reason (the folder name being more than 12 characters being one) then you’ll need to use the manual search, which is a real chore as you have to enter the IP address, the exact name of the folder and your Windows password using the onscreen virtual keyboard. Also the Auto mode is a bit of a misnomer as you still have to enter some of this information for it to work. It’s a shame it’s such a hassle as it’s otherwise potentially one of the system’s most impressive features.
You’ll also find a basic array of audio adjustments in the setup menu, allowing you to adjust the speaker distances, the delay and the volume of the front, rear and centre channels, although changing the front and rear levels affects both speakers.
Samsung has included a range of SFE Modes primarily for music playback. With bizarre names like ‘Symphony Hall in Boston’, ‘Philharmonic Hall in Bratislava’ and ‘Jazz Club in Seoul’, they’re over-specific but convincingly evoke the surroundings they describe (or what we imagine they’d sound like anyway). The trouble is, why anyone would enjoy prefer these strange echoing effects to straight up stereo is beyond us. You also get Dolby Pro Logic II, which is a lot more useful.
As for pictures, the unit will output in 24Hz ‘Movie Frame’ mode and there’s a choice of Movie, Dynamic and User picture presets, the latter offering sharpness and noise reduction settings. But for the best results set it to ‘Normal’ – that way you get to enjoy the HT-BD1252’s impressive pictures in all their glory.
Inglourious Basterds on Blu-ray looks incredible. The system perfectly conveys the lustrous, cinematic quality of Tarantino’s visuals through the use of rich, natural-looking colours and emphatic detail reproduction. Checking out the shot of Colonel Landa arriving at Monsieur LaPadite’s home, surrounded by the verdant French countryside the system resolves the trees, bushes and grass with stunning ‘through-the-window’ clarity. It’s a trait that runs throughout the movie, with miniscule details being sharply resolved during brightly lit and dark scenes. Chuck crisp edges, a lack of unwanted noise and smooth motion tracking into the mix and you’ve got yourself one impressive picture performer.