samsung bd-d6900

The most significant new feature added to Samsung's 2011 Blu-ray players is Smart Hub, a vastly improved revamp of its Internet@TV service.

This online portal once again brings a range of services to your TV, including BBC iPlayer, LoveFilm, Facebook and YouTube, but this time round it's presented in a more striking and much clearer layout (looking a bit like Android or the iPhone with little square icons laid out in a grid), and also brings some clever new features to the table.

Among them is Search All, which scours the unit for content relating any keyword you enter. It pulls results from Smart Hub, YouTube, Facebook and connected devices, and remembers your searches for future reference. It's just a shame it doesn't search the Freeview EPG for forthcoming programmes.

Another new feature within Smart Hub is Your Video, which recommends movies and TV shows available on LoveFilm and other VOD providers based on ratings and viewing history, as well as providing an online database of movie information.

samsung bd-d6900

It looks terrific, using large movie posters and a slick scrolling interface, plus there's a search tool for finding the film you want. The amount of information available is impressive, pulling up photos and trivia as well as cast/crew info, plus you can Like or Share videos on Facebook or Twitter.

That's not all. The new layout of Smart Hub allows for greater customisation than its previous incarnation. You can organise apps into folders and label them, one for each member of the family perhaps, plus you can delete or move them around at leisure.

New apps can be added from the dedicated store, which offers a generous range of family oriented content, including the well-known sites mentioned above plus Dailymotion, AccuWeather, Picasa and Google Maps, alongside loads of children's stories, games and puzzles.

It could do with a couple more catch-up TV services, but there's plenty to keep you amused for the time being.

Incredibly that's just the tip of the iceberg. The built-in Wi-Fi adapter keeps ungainly Ethernet cables out of the equation, and it lets you download BD Live content or stream media wirelessly from PCs and NAS drives using the DLNA-certified AllShare feature. You can also play digital media from USB devices, with a list of supported formats that includes MP3, WMA, WMV, DivX HD, XviD and MKV.

Not forgetting, of course, that the BD-D6900 is also a Blu-ray player, and on that score there's Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio decoding, 1080/24p output, Full HD 3D output and 1GB of memory built-in for BD Live downloads.

The 3D conversion is a nice touch if you fancy adding an extra dimension to your existing 2D disc collection, and interestingly it also works with TV programmes from the Freeview tuner.

Talking of which there's a full roster of digital TV features too, including an eight-day EPG and an on-screen info banner that lets you browse the schedules. If you connect an external hard disk drive you can record from the Freeview tuner (which also lets you use series link) and pause/rewind live TV with the Timeshift feature.