Samsung’s Blu-ray players have proved some of the fastest disc loaders to date, and sure enough the HT-C6200 is quick on the draw. Terminator Salvation takes 45 seconds to reach the first video screen, which is lightning quick when you consider that some Blu-ray players can take closer to two minutes. Even the disc’s BD Live portal opens quicker than we’ve ever seen and operates with unusual slickness; while the 1GB of built-in memory means you don’t need a USB drive to store downloads.
We switched to Avatar on Blu-ray and discovered that the HT-C6200 does a superb job with this stunning disc. Picture-wise, it plunges you into Pandora’s kaleidoscopic landscapes with mesmerising colour depth, sharply rendered detail and exquisitely subtle shading. It may not be 3D but the clarity and contrast range is so good that you’ll still feel immersed in the image. As night sets in the action remains easy to follow and the dizzying camera work shows no signs of judder.
Its presentation of Avatar’s DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is equally impressive. We skipped to the 'Battle For Pandora' (chapter 30) and the mixture of crisp, dynamic effects, pounding bass and clearly conveyed speech will get even the most sceptical listener on the edge of their seat.
Sharp high frequency effects, like clashing metal and the crack of gunfire, are reproduced without the brightness that some previous Samsung systems have suffered from, and during quieter moments there’s a decent amount of detail (the gentle sound of feet crunching on the floor of the jungle is a good example).
That said, the sound will no doubt seem coloured to discerning ears, lacking the finesse and neutrality you’d get from a separate speaker package. And although there’s some sense of integration between speakers and sub, low-end effects do sound quite disjointed and overpowering, particularly when Power Bass is activated.
As for the other audio modes, Smart Sound isn’t much cop but we’re pleasantly surprised by V-Sound, which actually feels like it’s wrapping the sound around the listener. It doesn’t separate or place surround effects particularly well, but it does create a blanket of ambience during action scenes that involves the listener more effectively than many 2.1 systems we’ve tested.
Add enjoyable music playback from CD and MP3 and crisp, untarnished DVD upscaling into the mix and what you have is a very capable all-round performer.
The HT-C6200 is a highly impressive 2.1-channel system. Most buyers will be lured by the jazzy looks and incredible feature list, which reads like an A-Z of home entertainment, but it’s also an impressive performer with Blu-ray and DVD. We’re big fans of the improvements Samsung has made to its networking functionality, which makes for a much slicker user experience than before.
Sound quality is flawed in places, adding more evidence to the case for buying separates, but the sort of casual listener this system is aimed at will be more than happy with what’s on offer, particularly if they’re upgrading from TV speakers. Its expensive price tag might be an issue for budget buyers, but at least you can’t complain that you’re being short-changed.