- Generous feature list
- Great-looking menu system
- Blu-ray picture quality
- Main menu sluggish in operation
- Some harsh high frequencies
- Boomy sub
- Review Price: £649.99
- AllShare DLNA networking
- Smart Hub
- 3D Blu-ray playback and 2D-to-3D conversion
- Vertical Surround with swivel speakers
- Wireless rear speakers
- Supplied iPod cradle
The main unit isn’t quite up to Samsung’s usual eye-popping standards, but still looks funkier than most other systems on the market. The all-over gloss black finish is as sleek as ever and despite having loads of tech squeezed under its bonnet the bodywork is pleasingly slim. It’s also great to see the new front-panel display incorporated here – the illuminated touch-sensitive controls and disc slot are built-into the same panel as the LED display, leaving the rest of the fascia uncluttered. On the right-hand side, you’ll find a ‘hump’ that houses touch-sensitive volume controls, and below this is a flap that hides the obligatory USB port and an input for the sound calibration microphone.
Spin the unit 180 degrees and you’ll expose a pleasing array of sockets, most notably two HDMI inputs. These are found on fewer systems than you might think, which is a shame because they’re remarkably useful if you have several HDMI-equipped sources but only one or two inputs on your TV.
They also let you enjoy digital audio from those sources without having to rig up separate optical cables, although there is an optical digital input here should you need it. The HDMI output is of the v1.4 variety to facilitate the system’s Full HD 3D compatibility, which also supports the Audio Return Channel feature.
The interesting stuff doesn’t stop there. You’ll also find inputs for the supplied iPod/iPhone dock and for the wireless transmitter card, which enables you to beam audio to the rear speakers without having to run cables along the length of the room. The transmitter card and receiver unit are included in the box, although it’s not truly wireless as you still need to run cables between the receiver and rear speakers.
Completing the socketry line-up are component and composite video outputs, analogue stereo input, an FM antenna input and Ethernet port. There’s also a panel of colour-coded speaker plugs that make it simple to connect the cables.
The tower speakers are dressed in a sumptuous gloss black finish to match the main unit, which attracts dust and fingerprints like you wouldn’t believe but looks stunning when polished. The rear speakers come in three parts – the hollow lower section screws on to the base, seemingly at an angle, while the top part housing the drivers (two midrange and a tweeter) slots snugly onto the lower section. On the back are springclip terminals.
The front speakers are similarly styled but there are significant differences. Above the three midrange drivers and tweeter is a swivel speaker that can be angled upwards. This is part of the new Vertical Surround feature, which does the same sort of job as Dolby Pro Logic IIz, isolating non-directional effects to create virtual height channels and firing them upwards to give a greater sense of horizontal and vertical envelopment. It’s a great idea, bringing the benefits of Pro Logic IIz without the hassle of rigging up separate speakers at the front of the room.
The front speakers are put together in a similar way to the rears, except that the speaker cables are permanently attached, which means you have to feed them through the base before screwing them together.
In addition, built-in speaker terminals allow the top section to slot in without the need to connect fiddly springclips. Unusually, each front speaker connects to two terminals on the back of the main unit, one feeding the main drivers and the other feeding the swivel driver, but the cables have pre-attached dual plugs that make this less complicated than it sounds.
The compact, unimposing subwoofer is styled in a deeply sexy black finish, with a lovely brush-effect panel on the right and a large port on the side. The lightweight build quality does nothing to ease our apprehension about the nature of passive subs and the lack of control over their performance, but you certainly won’t hear any complaints over how it looks.
Finally, the centre speaker is as stylish as the other components, and with its compact dimensions (360(w) x 74.5(h) x 68.5(d)mm) you shouldn’t have any problems sliding it into a packed AV cabinet.
With such an all-encompassing feature list, it’s hard to know where to start. A good place would be Smart Hub, perhaps the most appealing of Samsung’s 2011 updates. It’s an Internet portal that offers a wide range of social networking, catch-up TV and video-on-demand ‘apps’ – Facebook, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and LoveFilm to name but a few. It looks radically different to the previous Internet@TV service, sporting a funkier, friendlier feel, plus a series of new customisation features (such as the ability to group apps into folders) that give you more control over your content.
Two other additions are Your Video, which recommends videos based on viewing habits and ratings, and Search All, which trawls the web apps for content that matches a specified keyword. For more on Smart Hub check out our reviews of the BD-D8500 and BD-D6900.
They’re joined by AllShare, Samsung’s DLNA networking feature. Using this you can stream media from PCs and NAS drives on your network, and the clean, colourful menus make it easy to navigate around your device’s folders. The system supports an unusually generous range of formats too, including MKV, DivX HD and WMV. The USB port provides an alternative way of playing digital media if you’re not on board with the whole streaming phenomenon, plus it also supports iPods and iPhones.
Media streaming and Smart Hub can be accessed without an Ethernet cable in sight thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi capability, which is incredibly easy to set up thanks to Samsung’s attractive installation wizard. And as if that wasn’t generous enough, there’s also 2GB of local storage on board, so you can download BD Live content without having to plug in a USB stick. Nice.
On the Blu-ray side the HT-D6750W supports 3D discs, but it will also jazz up your 2D discs into 3D. This has filtered through from Samsung’s TVs and is a very attractive feature on paper – the significance being that you can now enjoy this feature no matter what brand of 3D TV you own, as until now it has only been available on Samsung’s TVs (although Panasonic has added it this year).
Finally, you’ll find a bevy of audio features, including the new 3D Sound mode, which attempts to deliver an extra sense of depth and richness. There’s also Smart Volume, MP3 Enhancer, Power Bass and eight DSP modes with wacky names like Jazz Club in Seoul. The system also kicks out 1,330W of power, which, if accurate, is formidable.
The onscreen menus are the epitome of user-friendly, sporting a gloriously warm and fuzzy colour palette and legible text across the board. It’s just a shame that the newly introduced Home menu, which uses large animated icons, is a little sluggish to respond. We never had a problem using any of the new Smart Hub features though – everything is self-explanatory, and even though entering passwords and e-mail addresses is a pain, at least it remembers what you entered for the next time you use it.
And as per usual, the remote is laid out in a clear, intuitive fashion. We love the large, rubbery buttons and the bold lettering. The various sound modes are clearly signposted towards the bottom, while the playback, menu and volume controls are exactly where your thumb expects them to be. Great stuff.
Overall, the HT-D6750W’s sound quality is good by usual all-in-one standards, but a few sonic shortcomings remind you of the system’s cost-conscious origins.
With ”Inception’s” DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack, the HT-D6750W reproduces the loud, powerful orchestral stabs with considerable force and without any clear evidence of distortion or cabinet rattle, even with the volume pushed beyond a comfortable listening level. Underpinning the sharp orchestral notes are long bass tones, which sound deep and foreboding.
It also has no trouble picking out the soundtrack’s delicate high-res detail. The supplied speakers demonstrate surprising sensitivity for an all-in-one system, drawing out subtle background detail like the hushed voices and gentle murmur of traffic as Cobb and Ariadne walk the streets, or the ambience within the Mombasa café as Cobb and Eames chat about the job. That makes the sound seem airy and multi-layered, and because the rear speakers boast similar detail-handling prowess it makes for an absorbing soundstage all around the room.
Dialogue is perfectly audible too – even during frenetic action scenes you can clearly discern what characters are saying, plus shouting causes no sibilance or distortion.
Although the sound is crisp and dynamic, when the system is being driven at high volumes some of the high-frequency effects prove a little too much for the speakers to handle. For example, as Cobol henchmen chase Cobb through the Mombasa streets, the metallic chink of gunfire has a little too much ‘edge’, not the neutral, controlled tone that you’d get from a more proficient system. The same problem occurs when Ariadne shatters the mirror – as the glass hits the floor the sound is slightly too hard on the ear. That said, the level of harshness is nowhere near as bad as some rival systems.
Another problem involves the subwoofer, which delivers a deep rumble to bolster key action scenes, but inevitably, there’s a lack of grip and tautness – ideally bass would be punchier. But this is one of the downsides of passive subwoofers.
But back to the positives, and Vertical Surround is an effective addition to the feature list. During the scene in ”Terminator Salvation” showing a helicopter flying across the ocean through wind and rain, it gives the impression that the ambient rain effects are coming from above the listening position. It’s not easy to pin-point the source of the sound, but the soundstage certainly feels fuller and more immersive with Vertical Surround engaged.
As for 3D Sound, you can hear a slight boost in depth and richness when activated, but the result isn’t wholly satisfying, making the sound a little coloured – some listeners may like the effect.
As for picture quality, it passes pixels to our test TV without any issues. Images look deep and punchy, with few artefacts to speak of besides inherent film grain. Detail retrieval is superb, edges are smooth and it renders colour blends, shadow detail and tricky skin tones without any trouble.
These qualities are present with both 2D and 3D images – with the latter it picks up where the BD-D6900 left off with its stable reproduction of ”Avatar’s” deep, detailed layers. As we found with Panasonic’s 2D-to-3D conversion, Samsung’s mode is no match for real 3D, but with 2D discs like ”Avatar” you can get some fairly effective results.
The HT-D6750W presents us with a bit of a conundrum. On paper, it’s an astonishing proposition, boasting an incredible feature list that reads like an A to Z of current home cinema trends, plus the external styling and jazzy onscreen design are real treats for the eyes. We like the new audio features too, particularly Vertical Surround with those distinctive swivel speakers.
But in action, a couple of sonic shortcomings take a little sheen off the overall package. So you have to ask yourself – is it worth tolerating these relatively minor flaws to get your hands on all that other good stuff, given that such compromises are inevitable when opting for an all-in-one system? After much consideration we’d have to say yes – the HT-D6750W definitely deserves a place on your shopping list.
Score in detail