On the back of the main unit is an HDMI output (for outputting DVDs in 1080p, 1080i, 720p or 576p) alongside component and composite video outputs, while the analogue stereo and optical digital audio inputs enable you to play other kit through the system. It’s also pleasing to discover that the system supports wireless rear speakers using the optional SWA-3000 wireless receiver module and TX card, which plugs into the slot on the rear.
The wireless shenanigans continue with the system’s Bluetooth support, which was one of the things we loved about the HT-X810R. That means you can stream audio to the system from a compatible device (such as a mobile phone, MP3 player or laptop) located up to 10 metres away. It’s a great way to enjoy music on the fly and is an unusual feature to find on such an affordable one-box system, adding yet another string to its bow.
Under a flap on the left hand side is a USB port, which provides another way of playing back your media content. You can plug in memory sticks, flash drives, card readers, MP3 players and digital cameras and play DivX, MP3, WMA, WMV, XviD and JPEG files – which is a very impressive roster by anyone’s standards. Among the supported disc formats is DVD-Audio, which is also found on the 2.1-channel HT-X810R but multichannel material will find a more natural home on this 5.1-channel setup.
The system’s Auto Sound Calibration (ASC) mode makes it blissfully simple to optimise the sound for your room. The system measures test tones using the supplied microphone and automatically sets the appropriate channel levels and distances between speakers. It’s the sort of feature normally reserved for pricier systems and receivers and its appearance on such an affordable setup earns Samsung some serious kudos.
Also on the feature list is Dolby Pro Logic II processing, P. Bass (which boosts low frequency effects) Audio Upscaling (which aims to improve compressed audio playback), a range of EQ effects, virtual headphone and an FM radio tuner. You can even change the player’s wallpaper setting to a JPEG or DVD frame of your choice.
Operating the unit is a piece of cake thanks to the player’s responsive software, straightforward menus and the intuitive remote, which is a bit cluttered at the bottom but otherwise easy to master. We like the fact that it boasts dedicated buttons for all the main functions (such as the various sound modes, channel levels and inputs) so you rarely have to enter the setup menu.