In terms of features there’s plenty to get your teeth into. The line-up is pretty much the same as other Samsung systems like the HT-C9950W and HT-C5530 so we won’t go into any great detail, but the highlights include Allshare, which lets you stream multimedia content wirelessly from devices on your home network, and Internet@TV, which offers a range of web applications such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Picasa, Rovi and LoveFilm, plus new ones can be added when available. Both features work smoothly and are presented with eye-catching graphics and a logical layout.
Of course, being a Profile 2.0 system you can also download bonus movie content from the internet. Samsung’s systems normally support a wide range of digital media codecs and containers and this one is no exception. DivX Plus HD, WMV HD, MKV, MP3, WMA and JPEG can all be played from USB sticks connected to the side port or streamed from networked PCs. As for Blu-ray, the onboard decoders for Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio mean all HD audio bases are covered, even though you don’t have the benefit of rear channels.
A range of sound modes are also provided. Smart Sound levels out the differences in volume between sources and programmes, while MP3 Enhancer improves the fidelity of compressed music and Power Bass boosts low-end output. These can be toggled through using the DSP button on the remote, and only one mode can be applied at a time. Samsung’s V.Sound aims to expand the three-channel soundfield to emulate surround sound. A dedicated subwoofer level control allows you to tweak bass as required.
Like most Samsung systems, the HT-C7300 is incredibly easy to set up and use, even more so in this case without rear speakers to rig up. The brightly coloured onscreen menus look terrific and the cursor is responsive. It’s all controlled by a thoughtfully designed remote, which achieves a Panasonic-esque level of simplicity and user-friendliness with its chunky buttons, no-nonsense labelling and intuitive button layout.
We tried out a few Blu-ray discs and loading times are quick overall, taking 34 seconds to load Iron Man 2 and just 46 seconds to get the tricky Terminator Salvation disc up and running. On screen performance is also impressive – Iron Man 2’s dazzling 1080p transfer is reproduced with intense sharpness, bringing out the subtle detail in close ups of Stark’s goateed face, which look beautifully crisp and textured. Panoramic shots of the Malibu cliff tops surrounding Stark’s home and Monaco look similarly stunning.
The HT-C7300 also paints bright, accurate colours with all the subtle shading intact, which brings an engrossing depth and complexity to the picture, plus at 1080/24p it handles the fast-paced action of the Monaco Grand Prix scene without any distracting judder or stepping artefacts.