With a height of less than two inches, Samsung’s svelte BD-C6900 is a well-featured Blu-ray player, and is the company’s first to provide 3D Blu-ray disc playback. Among other features (of which there are many), the player provides relatively quick playback startup when a disc is inserted. For BD-Live and Bonus View functionality, the player features both wired and wireless LAN connectivity as well as 1GB of on-board RAM. There’s also a full 7.1-channel audio decoder built-in, for those with A/V receivers and processors that have external multi-channel audio inputs, and the player supports both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio high resolution formats.
The audio section also includes DTS Neo:6 audio processing, a feature normally found on A/V receivers and processors, which provides a 5.1-channel effect with stereo audio soundtracks. The top cover features a see-through window to the disc drive below, along with a front panel USB port (there’s second one on the back), and a well-designed remote control. In addition to the top panel disc window, there’s a large backlit 3D Blu-ray logo nearby, obviously there for retail display marketing purposes, but it can be disabled in the player’s setup menu.
Consider this Blu-ray player if: You’re going to go the 3D route and get a 3D HDTV, as the new Blu-ray 3D standard requires compatible player like the BD-C6900.
Look further if: 3D isn’t terribly interesting to you right now, as pricing of 3D Blu-ray players will most certainly fall over time—it isn’t an expensive feature to implement.
As it’s Samsung’s latest top-line Blu-ray player, the BD-C6900 is pretty well loaded to the gills, and features both wired and wireless (802.11 b/g) LAN connectivity. Having the wireless functionality is a tremendous boon if your router is in another room in the home, as the player comes with video and internet radio streaming capability built-in, complete with provisions for accessing Blockbuster, Netflix, Vudu, DivX HD and Pandora content services.
The BD-C6900 also provides built-in 7.1-channel surround decoder and analog audio outputs, for connection to earlier-generation audio systems that don’t have built-in Dolby TrueHD and/or DTS-HD Master Audio decoding features. The audio setup menu includes the ability to select large or small speakers, in order to best manage where deep bass information goes. But, unlike the surround decoder section of an A/V receiver or processor and some other Blu-ray players that feature multi-channel analog outputs, the Samsung lacks the ability to set speaker distances (time delay parameters), a curious omission.
There’s 1GB of memory built-in for the BD-Live functionality, with two USB ports (one on the front and one around back). Having two USB ports is a bonus, as the rear port can be used to handle a thumb drive for additional BD-Live memory capacity, with the front port available for occasional and more convenient connection to other devices. The BD-C6900 can display JPG photos, play back MP3 music files, and can also handle WMV video files. It also recognized my Canon digital camera, and let me view photos in a slide show directly from the camera’s internal memory card. The Samsung did have a very hard time with some 1080p video clips (.ts file type), producing both obvious jerkiness and stuttering as well as momentarily freezing up every two seconds or so (the Samsung 8000 3D HDTV that the player was connected to had no problem handling the same clips when the thumb drive was connected to it).
The onscreen display features large and colorful icons for the various internet-enabled applications. The top row of icons includes popular applications such as streaming content from providers such as Blockbuster, Vudu and Netflix, while the bottom row has icons for video, photo and music playback from connected devices, and a global icon that connects to Samsung’s internet apps website. Once connected to my home network, the Samsung immediately recognized the presence of my DLNA-compatible PC, letting me view pictures, videos and listen to MP3 tracks. Samsung also offers a free PC software program—PC Share—which provides the ability to show (and also hide) various folders from the player, just so the little ones can’t accidentally stumble upon potentially upsetting content.