Samsung BD-C6900 Blu-ray 3D Player Page 3

The closest you’ll get to watching 3D without those funky glasses is with Avatar on Blu-ray. The AVC encode features phenomenal depth and rich color saturation (especially blue), and the DTSHD Master Audio soundtrack encompasses the room with a range of discrete effects. The script is far from original, but you have to give props to James Cameron for his technological vision. If 3D finally succeeds—this is at least its third try, after all—he can take most of the credit.

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On DVD, Star Trek: Insurrection’s opening sequence is a killer on players with poor deinterlacing performance, but the Samsung had no issues with the rooftops and railings. Its superior upconversion drew me into the picture. The image’s vivid detail amazed me. Granted, it pales in comparison with the Blu-ray, but I can only count on one hand the number of players that can squeeze this much detail out of 480 lines of resolution.

Stream Away
I’ve had the privilege of reviewing other Blu-ray players with similar streaming services from Netflix and VUDU. I love Netflix’s convenience and low monthly fee (about $12 per month), but the quality of its HD stream is more akin to a goodlooking DVD than true HD. The Samsung’s interface is the older type. It doesn’t let you add anything to your queue from the player, so you have to use a computer to make changes. The PS3 Slim and LG’s latest round of Blu-ray players let you browse Netflix’s vast offering of titles and add them to your queue directly from the player.

VUDU is a payper-title service. For $6, you can get a near Blu-ray-quality experience with one of its HDX titles. I watched a large portion of Avatar and was particularly impressed by the depth of the video. There was never a glitch in the streaming process. Blu-ray still has better quality, but on a smaller display, it would be very difficult to tell the difference between the two. Be aware that HDX streams require an Internet connection with a constant 4.5-Mbps download speed at minimum, or you’ll have to settle for a lower-quality 720p feed (2 Mbps minimum). A slower connection than 2 Mbps, and you’re limited to standard-definition—time to change your ISP!

The player is also a DLNA-certified digital media player than can display movie, photo, and music content from a compliant digital media server. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get this to work with my Windows Home Server even when I used a third-party DLNA client (Asset UPnP) that has worked with other DLNA-compatible devices. Samsung includes a proprietary software solution, the Samsung PC Share Manager, which installs on your PC. It simplifies the process, but since it isn’t compatible with Windows Home Server, I couldn’t use this aspect of the player. I did load some music and pictures onto a USB drive, and the Samsung played back these files without any issues.

Conclusion
With the smashing success of Avatar, Hollywood is convinced 3D will drive people to the theaters in droves. And with the boxoffice returns for Alice in Wonderland, How to Train Your Dragon, and Clash of the Titans, they are onto something. Will this success translate to the home video audience? We’ll have to wait and see.

Sadly, I couldn’t test the Samsung BD-C6900 player’s Blu-ray 3D capabilities (Tom Norton got that honor in the July issue). But I can attest that its 2D prowess is mighty impressive. I really love its speed, excellent audio and video output, and plethora of streaming capabilities. At $350, you’re paying a premium for 3D. But given this player’s feature set and performance with 2D Blu-ray Discs and DVDs, it’s a cheap price to have a 3D player in case you decide to jump on the bandwagon sometime down the road.

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