We recently reviewed the Samsung BD-D8500, a Blu-ray player with a built-in twin-tuner Freeview HD PVR, but here we’re taking a look at its stripped-down sibling, the BD-D6900. This 3D-ready Blu-ray deck comes equipped with a single Freeview HD tuner and no hard-disk drive, but aside from that, it offers all the features that made the D8500 so alluring, including DLNA networking and access to Samsung’s shiny new internet portal, Smart Hub.
Without full PVR functionality, it’s hard to pin-point this product’s audience. It’ll probably appeal to people who like the idea of getting hi-def TV and Blu-ray from the same box but don’t necessarily need to record anything – perhaps for watching movies and TV in the bedroom. However, the BD-D6900 does support recording onto external HDDs via the USB port, so a recording option is there if you want it.
Feature list aside, one of the BD-D6900’s greatest assets is its stunning design, which is a million times more stylish than the BD-D8500. That's largely because Samsung has tarted it up with a silver top panel that perfectly complements Samsung’s 8000 and 9000 series 3D TVs, nicely contrasted by the black finish below.
At 33mm, it’s also impossibly slim, and you’ll find the same display panel that graced the 8500, with a row of touch sensitive controls and disc slot built into it. This works brilliantly, compressing everything into a small area and leaving the rest of the fascia uncluttered. On the right hand side is a flap concealing a USB port and CI slot.
On the rear panel is a decent array of sockets but the first thing to note is that there’s only one HDMI output, not two as found on Panasonic’s DMP-BDT310. So if you want HD audio to go with those 3D pictures you’ll need an AV receiver with HDMI v1.4 inputs – you can’t pipe the signals to a TV and receiver independently, and there’s no multichannel analogue workaround. Not a deal breaker perhaps, but it might force you to finally upgrade that ageing amp. It’s joined by component, composite, stereo audio and optical digital audio outputs, as well as an Ethernet port and RF input/loopthrough.