Having already unleashed the UK’s first 3D-ready TV and Blu-ray player (the UE55C8000 and BD-C6900 respectively), Samsung has established itself as one of the main driving forces behind the 3D revolution. And now it’s looking to cement its status with the HT-C6930W, the world’s first 3D-capable Blu-ray home cinema system, which we’re reviewing here exclusively.
It offers an ideal way of getting a 3D-capable Blu-ray player and complete sound system in one fell swoop, packing a combined Blu-ray receiver unit and a set of 7.1-channel speakers into a single box. What’s more the surround left and right speakers are wireless, cutting out some of the dreaded clutter that home cinema systems normally usher into your living room.
3D is the obvious highlight, but the HT-C6930W is no one-trick pony. Like most Samsung systems, it’s absolutely bursting with other features, acting like a showcase for everything that’s cool in the world of home cinema.
First though, let’s talk design, and much like the HT-C6200 the C6930W is an absolute stunner. The Blu-ray receiver isn’t as showy as other Samsung systems, boasting a relatively plain, angular shape, but its slim height (60mm) and gloss-black finish make it suitably sleek. That said, the black finish is incongruous with the stunning silver styling of Samsung’s 3D-ready 8000 series TVs, which might be an issue if you want everything to match.
Under the flap on the fascia you’ll find a USB port and an input for the automatic setup microphone, plus there’s a display in the centre that’s a little too small for our liking. On top of the unit is a row of illuminated touch sensitive buttons, a see through window above the disc tray and most excitingly, a glowing Blu-ray 3D logo.
There’s a comprehensive selection of sockets on the rear panel, including the all-important HDMI v1.4 output capable of handling Full HD 3D signals. You also get two HDMI inputs for hooking up other hi-def components (Sky HD, PS3 etc) and channelling them into a single input on your TV.
Among the other interesting sockets is a slot for a wireless TX card, which beams surround sound to the SWA-5000 wireless receiver at the back of the room. The pair of surround speakers connect to colour-coded terminals on the back of the receiver. Both the card and receiver are supplied in the box.
Although the inclusion of 7.1 speakers and wireless rears is undoubtedly generous, there is a slight problem with the setup. The SWA-5000 only provides amplification for the surround speakers but not the surround back pair, so in a 7.1-channel configuration you’ll still have wires trailing across the room, which defeats the object somewhat.
Completing the line-up are component and composite video outputs, analogue stereo and optical digital inputs, a terminal for the supplied iPod/iPhone dock and an Ethernet LAN port.
This leads us into one of the HT-C6930W’s other key features – network media streaming. Dubbed Allshare, this DLNA-enabled feature lets you play videos, music and photos stored on networked PCs or NAS drives via Ethernet or the built-in Wi-Fi connection. The list of supported codecs and containers is comprehensive, and includes DivX (SD and HD), AVI, MKV, WMV HD, MPEG-4, MP3, WMA and JPEG. The system supports 802.11b, g and n, the latter offering a fast, stable connection that’s better for streaming hi-def video.