As Samsung‘s new top-of-the-line player, the BD-C6900 ($399.99) is loaded with all of the features we like to see in a Blu-ray player–and it just so happens to throw in 3D capability for good measure. We have not performed a hands-on review of the BD-C6900 (limited discussion of its 3D performance is available in Andrew Robinson‘s review of the Samsung UN55C7000 3D TV), but here is an overview of the player’s features. This Profile 2.0 player supports BD-Live Web functionality and BonusView/picture-in-picture playback, and it offers both onboard decoding and bitstream output of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The BD-C6900 features built-in 802.11n for a wireless network connection, and the AllShare feature allows you to stream digital media content from a PC or DLNA-compliant server. The player supports Samsung’s [email protected] portal, which lets you access the new Samsung Apps store that offers both free and fee-based apps. Much like the Apple Apps Store, this incarnation allows you to tailor the BD-C6900’s functionality to suit your taste: apps are available for VUDU, Netflix and Blockbuster video-on-demand, as well as YouTube, Pandora, Flickr and Twitter, among others.
In terms of video connections, the BD-C6900 offers HDMI, component video and composite video outputs (no S-video). This player supports both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 output resolutions via HDMI. Picture adjustments include the ability to choose between three preset picture modes or go with a user mode in which you can adjust sharpness and noise reduction. Audio outputs include HDMI, optical digital (no coaxial), and both 2- and 7.1-channel analog. The BD-C6900 has onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, and it also passes these high-resolution audio formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode. You can set speaker size for the multichannel analog audio outputs, but you can’t adjust distance or level.
The BD-C6900 supports playback of BD, DVD, CD audio, AVCHD, Divx, WMA, MP3 and JPEG. You can add the player to your home network using either the back-panel Ethernet port or the internal 802.11n wireless module. The BD-C6900 has 1GB of internal memory to store BD-Live content, and a front-panel USB port is provided for additional storage. This USB port also supports music, photo and movie playback. The player lacks advanced control ports, such as RS-232 or IR.
Read about the high points and low points of the BD-C6900 on Page 2.
• The BD-C6900 supports 3D playback, when mated with other 3D-capable components.
• The BD-C6900 supports 1080p/24 playback of Blu-ray discs.
• The player has internal decoding and bitstream output of high-resolution audio sources, and it has multichannel analog audio outputs for use with older A/V receivers.
• It supports BD-Live Web content and can play picture-in-picture bonus content.
• You can wirelessly connect the BD-C6900 to your network, and it has internal memory for BD-Live storage.
• The BD-C6900 supports DLNA media streaming and Web-based video-on-demand. The Samsung Apps store offers a lot of flexibility to customize features.
• The BD-C6900 uses HDMI 1.3, not 1.4. HDMI 1.3 will support 3D playback, but it only supports transmission of a 1080i signal for each eye. HDMI v1.4 can support 1080p for each eye. [UPDATE 4/29/10: This is incorrect. A Samsung product manager confirms that the BD-C6900 does have an HDMI 1.4 output.]
• This player lacks an advanced control port like RS-232.
Obviously, 3D capability is the BD-C6900’s marquee feature and will ultimately dictate whether or not you purchase this player. Sure, it’s loaded with other worthwhile Blu-ray features–like multichannel outputs, built-in WiFi, DLNA media streaming, and video-on-demand–but you can find these features in players that cost less than the $400 BD-C6900…including the $250 BD-C6500. Is it worth the extra money to get 3D capability right now, even though 3D content is sparse at best? For the enthusiast who enjoys being an early adopter, the answer may be yes; and, truth be told, $400 is actually pretty reasonable by early-adoption standards. Of course, you also have to buy a 3D-capable TV and active-shutter 3D glasses, which will run you between $149 and $199 per pair. So again we ask, is it worth the cost right now? You be the judge.