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The first thing you’ll notice of course is the player’s stunning design, which holds no surprises for fans of Samsung’s cutting-edge couture – it’s slim, minimal and black as night. Turn on the power and the top panel comes alive with Blu-ray 3D logos, touch-sensitive controls and a backlit window that reveals the disc whirring in the tray.
Taking centre stage on the well-stocked rear panel is an HDMI v1.4 output, which ferries those 1080p 3D pictures to a compatible TV. The inclusion of only one HDMI output might be a problem if you want to enjoy HD audio but your AV receiver lacks HDMI 1.4 sockets, as it won’t be able to pass on the 3D signal.
Panasonic has solved this dilemma on its DMP-BDT3000 3D player by offering two HDMI outputs – one for your TV, one for your receiver – but Samsung’s answer is to provide a set of 7.1-channel analogue outputs, which send decoded hi-res sound signals to your amp, leaving the HDMI output free for direct connection to your TV. There’s on-board decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, as well as bitstream output from the HDMI output.
You’ll also find component, composite, optical digital audio and analogue stereo outputs on the rear, as well as an Ethernet port that opens up a wealth of web and networking possibilities. However, you needn’t rely on a crusty old cable to get online – this state of the art deck comes equipped with a built-in Wi-Fi adapter that supports 802.11b, g and n.
It really makes the most of this network connection too. Not only can you visit BD Live sites and download new extras (stored on 1GB of built-in memory, we hasten to add) but you can also play media stored on networked PCs courtesy of the AllShare feature and access Samsung’s Internet@TV portal.
Internet@TV boasts a collection of applications including YouTube, Twitter and Picasa, as well as news, history and TV listings sites. Apps for Facebook, LoveFilm and BBC iPlayer will be added soon. The interface looks great and it’s perfect for passing the time on a rainy day, but the slightly cumbersome navigation and text entry might test your patience.