samsung bd-d6900

Although the BD-D6900 is more expensive than your average Blu-ray player, you're certainly getting a lot for your money.

Aside from the obvious 3D Blu-ray playback capabilities and Freeview HD tuner, it's also a versatile media streamer and provides a vast range of internet content through the brilliant Smart Hub portal. That, along with its gorgeous external design and superb new operating system makes it feel like excellent value for money.

Obviously some will find that price too high, and would therefore be better off seeking out a separate budget Blu-ray deck and PVR. But what we're saying is that if you do fork out for this player, then you won't be disappointed.

Ease of use

Smart Hub's functions are easy to control, thanks to clever use of the remote's colour-coded buttons and clear on-screen directions. But with so many of its features dependent on passwords and search tools, the method of inputting text (either predictive or multi-press) can get a bit tedious, but thankfully the deck remembers what you've entered.

The various features, such as Your Video, Facebook, YouTube and Search All are all self explanatory once you enter them.

samsung bd-d6900 remote

Smart Hub isn't the only on-screen display to get a fresh new update for 2011. The main menu has also been redesigned with crisp, full colour graphics, giving each function a funky animated icon, and enables you to delve into every single area of the deck's functionality.

It scrolls horizontally, and when you select an icon a list of options appears above it. It may be a treat to look at, but sadly there's an element of sluggishness as it moves from icon to icon, which is more of a niggle than a major problem.

Samsung brings the same eye-candy approach to all of the on-screen displays, from the jazzy media streaming screens (which use the same folder icons and structure as your PC) to the setup menu, which presents its comprehensive list of options in a straightforward manner.

This makes the player incredibly simple to install, particularly network setup, which is accompanied by colourful animated graphics. It's also worth mentioning that the Wi-Fi adapter inside the player is a particularly sensitive one – it was able to pick up the signal from a garden office situated in the house a fair distance from the router. Many other products have tried and failed to connect to it from here.

The EPG is terrific, showing six channels at a time and playing live TV in a box at the top. There's a lot of information packed into the screen but it's done in a way that doesn't feel too cluttered. With a USB HDD connected, recordings can be found in the Recorded TV menu, which uses thumbnails to great effect.

Recordings can be edited, the menu for which is a little long-winded to find, but once there you can chop out part of a recording or split it in two using some incredibly simple editing menus.

When it comes to Blu-ray playback, the displays are spot-on and it's fairly quick to load discs too, chewing over Terminator Salvation for close to 40 seconds before showing a picture.

Finally the remote is a very user-friendly device, using large chunky buttons and shouty lettering that wouldn't even challenge a five-year-old. All of the keys are perfectly placed for the thumb and most of the major functions – Smart Hub, 2D to 3D, recording, EPG and the handy Tools menu – are all given their own dedicated buttons.