Despite our reservations, the overall sense of spectacle offered by this 3D system makes it worth the investment, especially if you’ve got young kids who’ll be too entranced to notice the flaws. And in any case, it’s still early days for 3D, and any problems are certain to be addressed as the technology matures.
As a 2D player, the HT-C6930W is magnificent, thanks to its faultless handling of the 1080p digital signal. Avatar on Blu-ray is simply breathtaking, positively exploding with rich, vivid colours and scintillating sharp detail. It also does well with the Silicon Optix HQV disc – test cards are clean and stable, while moving diagonals are smooth and free from stepping. What’s more, it loaded the stubborn Terminator Salvation Blu-ray in a comparatively fast 50 seconds.
Although the HT-C6930W’s sound performance lacks the subtlety and foundation-shaking power of decent amp/speaker separates, its crisp, dynamic rendition of Terminator Salvation’s DTS HD Master Audio track is as good as we’ve heard from a Samsung system.
The front speaker tweeters dig out plenty of delicate high frequency detail but deliver loud high-pitch sounds without excessive harshness, and it attacks snappy sounds like gunfire with satisfying zeal. The subwoofer does a reasonable job too, rumbling away heartily during zesty action scenes, but it lacks the tautness and control you’d get from good-quality powered sub. Speech from the centre is projected with purpose and clarity while the surround speakers flood the soundstage with immersive ambience and effects – although auto calibration left them a little low in the mix.
Next we moved the surround back speakers to the front of the room, activated Dolby Pro Logic IIz and selected chapter 3 of Terminator Salvation, in which a helicopter zooms though the driving rain. The height speakers definitely add an extra sense of envelopment to the soundstage, and gave us the sense that rain was coming from above, although the effect is a lot more subtle than we found on the Onkyo TX-SR607. Although you wouldn’t base your buying decision on this feature, it’s certainly a nice bonus if you can accommodate the speakers in this unorthodox position.
If you’re looking to join the 3D revolution and bag yourself a decent 7.1-channel sound system in the process, the HT-C6930W is the perfect place to start. 3D capability is the star attraction, but even if you don’t take advantage of it straight away (after all, those TVs don’t come cheap) then there’s plenty to keep you entertained in the meantime. As well as the phenomenal feature list, it’s stylish, easy to use and provides superb 2D hi-def pictures. And while some people may be reluctant to pay over £500 for an all-in-one system, that price tag is actually quite reasonable for such a feature-packed system, making it a very compelling home cinema proposition overall.