The BD-D6900 takes a fairly standard 40 seconds to load Terminator Salvation but our other test discs such as Inception and Avatar took around 10 seconds less.
We really can’t fault the Samsung’s 3D picture quality. We tried Avatar on a Panasonic 3D plasma and the images are gobsmacking – the various Pandoran landscapes are conveyed with a dramatic sense of depth and distance that makes you want to plunge into the picture, while the vibrant colours and pin-sharp detail shines through the inevitable gloom of the glasses. Much of the credit for this goes to the TV of course, but the BD-D6900 certainly holds up its end of the bargain with no visible glitches or artefacts.
Drop the third dimension and the prognosis is equally positive. With Inception the image looks forensically sharp, conveying the textures of skin, clothing and buildings with pleasing stability and focus, while the natural colour palette lends believability to the image. The scene featuring exploding Parisian shop-fronts really dazzles, thanks to the gorgeous detail, radiant colour and the way the player smoothly tracks the flying shards of debris.
Sadly the 2D-to-3D conversion mode falls a little flat with Inception, particularly if you watch it straight after a real 3D disc like Avatar. You can certainly see the deck trying to separate out the different layers and bring an added sense of immersion, but it’s not deep enough to convince and the image seems slightly noisy. Try it with a movie originally shot in 3D however, and the effect is much more impressive, making the 2D Avatar disc look almost as good the 3D version.
Next we tuned into Freeview and marvelled at the crispness and vibrancy of hi-def channels. Studio-shot material like The Graham Norton Show and Mrs Brown’s Boys look particularly lucid, although the vast array of HD drama and sports is beautifully presented too. Standard definition pictures are perhaps a little noisier than we expected, but it’s not bad enough to ruin your viewing pleasure.
So is the BD-D6900 worth well over £200 of your hard-earned cash? From a Blu-ray perspective, definitely. The astonishing feature list, which includes all the latest features such as 3D playback, internet content, DLNA networking and extensive multimedia support, is second to none, plus its 3D/2D picture performance is superb.
What’s more, the new onscreen design makes it incredibly easy to use, give or take a couple of sluggish menus, and Blu-ray decks don’t come much sexier than this, thanks to the silver finish, super-slim dimensions and touch-sensitive controls.
It’s only the Freeview functionality that might make you think twice. With a single Freeview tuner and recording available only when you plug in an external HDD, it’s no match for a proper PVR – if it’s recording flexibility you’re after, try the BD-D8500 or buy a separate Blu-ray deck and twin-tuner PVR. But for casual Freeview watching, the BD-D6900 does a terrific job, boasting an excellent EPG and impressive hi-def picture quality.