If you’re after a standalone Blu-ray player that delivers stylish looks, smart features and solid picture quality for a low price, then Samsung is usually a good place to start. Decks like last year’s Samsung BD-D5500 showed that you don’t have to pay through the nose to get all the latest mod-cons like Wi-Fi, network media streaming and internet content, making them some of the best-value decks of 2011.
This year continues in the same vein. The Samsung BD-E6100 costs somewhere in the region of £130 but plays 3D and comes equipped with most of the smart features found on the BD-E8500 (obviously without all the PVR gubbins). We’ll touch upon those in due course, but for now we’ll examine the deck’s design, which is textbook Samsung.
It’s super slim and designed to slot into AV racks with minimal upheaval, although at 37mm it’s still fatter than the Panasonic DMP-BDT320 (if such things are important to you). As you might expect the finish is jet black, with an circular brushed texture on top. The front panel lacks the lovely touch-sensitive display panel and disc slot of the E8500, instead opting for large physical buttons, a slide-out tray and a clunky green LED display. That’s not unusual on a budget player like this, but it lacks the quality of other Samsung players and we’re not entirely enamoured with the light bodywork.
Connectivity is basic too. On the far right of the front panel is a USB port for media playback from memory devices, digital cameras, card readers and the like, while the back sports HDMI and coaxial digital audio outputs, plus an Ethernet port. With no multichannel analogue outs or second HDMI port, a 3D-capable receiver is a must if you want to enjoy 3D pictures and HD audio simultaneously. Some rivals like the Panasonic DMP-BDT220 offer two USB ports and an SD card slot too, but this is a cheaper player.