Why you can trust TechRadar
Upon fire-up, the Smart Hub informed us that new software and apps were waiting for us if we were prepared to wait for three minutes. That's despite us having already checked the 'software upgrade' area of the on-screen menus as part of our pre-review routine.
A full seven minutes later, Smart Hub indeed refreshed and updated, and launched into another round of updates that saw Acetrax Movies app installed (a progress bar is shown in the top-right-hand corner of the screen).
The Smart Hub home screen itself is rather cluttered, not just by shortcuts and icons, but also by a small advert in the top-right-hand corner that changes every few seconds. Regaine for Men? Thanks, Samsung.
Amusement aside, putting banner adverts into services such as Smart Hub is a crime akin to having to watch adverts on a Blu-ray disc that we just spent £19 on. It swiftly removes any charitable feeling towards the Samsung BD-E6100.
Incidentally, the web browser that has a shortcut on the home screen is very slow, with a cursor-led approach not helping much. In fact, moving the cursor to each letter of a virtual keyboard to type-in an URL took so long that we doubt anyone would ever do it twice.
As we moved to Samsung Apps, the software upgrade nightmare continued. This time we waited for several minutes for a 7MB file to download and install before Samsung Apps would work.
Anyone with a PlayStation 3 will have particular disdain for this constant raft of updates that preclude using the hardware; at least a smartphone makes its firmware updates optional so they can be installed when it's convenient.
Samsung Apps appears to be aimed at the kind of international audience that doesn't actually exist, resulting in a distinctly bland 'elevator music' flavour.
Your Video, which also needed an update, cleverly presents artwork and links to on-demand and pay-for films regardless of their source (once you log in). Family Story offers 5GB of cloud storage and is firmly a Picasa wannabe (why bother? There's an app for that!), and Fitness is a paltry collection of a dozen or so short yoga and Pilates instructional videos. Neither of the latter deserve the gravitas they're given.
The most interesting non-Blu-ray feature on the Samsung BD-E6100 is actually AllShare Play, which detects media stored on either a USB flash drive or on other DLNA-compatible kit on the same Wi-Fi network.
From a USB flash drive, the likes of AVC HD, AVI, MKV, MOV, MP4, WMV and WMV HD files were supported, while from a networked laptop it's slightly different - AVC HD, AVI, MOV and MP4 video only.
The interface that handles these disparate sources and media is excellent; well ordered and colourful, it's perhaps the best thing about the Samsung BD-E6100 away from its core Blu-ray duties.
As usual with Samsung Blu-ray players, the images delivered to a TV are particularly contrast-rich, with bold colours boasting bags of depth and richness.
The level of detail in our test disc Grand Canyon Adventure - firstly in 2D - is also very high, but we did notice the odd shimmer as the camera panned slowly past the canyon's high sides.
Swap to the 3D version and the good stuff continues, as whitewater rafters paddle across the rapids in a shot that displays a great deal of depth, then a man jumps from a rocky outcrop into the Colorado River amid smooth motion tracking.
It's sublime-looking stuff, and we were also impressed by the state of YouTube videos, whose lack of detail never creates video nasties. Samsung's BD Wise Web circuitry helps create a clean, if soft, picture that's always watchable, even on a 46-inch TV.
Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and Space.com. He also edits two of his own websites, TravGear.com and WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),