Samsung boasts one of the widest selections of one-box Blu-ray systems on the market, ranging from 3D-capable 7.1-channel systems down to bedroom-friendly 2.1 affairs. Many of these only differ in terms of speaker configuration, mixing up the sizes of the fronts and rears to cater for different room layouts.
The HT-C5530 on test here, for example, is a 5.1-channel system that comes with a pair of 130cm-high tallboy speakers for the front channels and a pair of 14cm-high bookshelf speakers for the rears, whereas the HT-C5500 uses four bookshelf speakers and the HT-C5550 provides four tallboys. In each case, you get the same passive subwoofer, slim centre speaker and Blu-ray receiver unit.
If you’re still following this, the point we’re trying to make is that the Korean company has something for everyone, no matter how big your budget or abode. What they all have in common, however, is a generous range of features and a gorgeous contemporary design.
This design, as is usually the case with Samsung kit, involves a deep gloss-black finish for all of the components, which will be covered in fingerprints in no time, while the brushed aluminium effect on top of the main unit offers a bit of variation.
This deck is slightly larger than the company’s standalone Blu-ray players but is equally sleek and minimal. Power it up and it turns into something out of Tron, with a ring of blue light around the volume dial and illuminated touch-sensitive controls across the top. Samsung has clearly gone for the style jugular with this system and succeeded.
The speakers look equally alluring, although the build quality of the front tallboy speakers isn’t what we’d call heavy duty. They’re made up of three sections that slot together – a top part containing the drivers, a hollow middle section and a square base that needs to be screwed on. Once assembled the column is a little precarious, wobbling around with the slightest knock, but sadly that’s par for the course with systems at this sort of price.
The rear satellites are built to a decent standard and use a compact cuboid enclosure with springclip terminals on the back. The centre speaker is longer and slimmer than the rears (measuring 360 x 74.5 x 68.5mm), which should make it easy to slip into an AV rack, while the compact subwoofer is pleasantly styled in a combination of gloss black and corrugated plastic.
As for connections, the main unit offers an HDMI output as well as two inputs that let you switch between external devices (such as a Sky+HD box and PS3) using the system’s remote, as well as amplifying their sound. Component and composite complete the video line-up, while audio connections include optical digital and analogue stereo inputs.
Next up is an Ethernet port, which brings a smorgasbord of networking features to the table, although if you prefer a wireless connection there’s a USB port on the back for Samsung’s Wi-Fi dongle (WIS09ABGN). Sadly this isn’t supplied and will set you back around £45. Another optional extra is the SWA-5000 wireless receiver module and TX card, which offers cable-free rear speakers but will add another £80 to your bill. Thankfully iPod or iPhone owners don’t have to pay extra to enjoy their tunes through this system as the dock is bundled in the box.