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.
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