Let’s be up-front: the main decision you’ll have to make regarding this player is whether, at this stage, you even care about 3D Blu-Ray. The BD-C6900 is a top-of-the-line player, no doubt, but so is the 6500 – the only real differences between the two are 3D Blu-Ray support and a $150 disparity in price. Keep in mind that just a 3D player isn’t enough; you’ll also need an HDTV and a pair of 3D glasses, neither of which are inexpensive, to use a 3D Blu-Ray disc. Also worth considering is the fact that there aren’t a whole lot of 3D Blu-Ray titles available right now. Sure, you don’t want to go buying a new media player every 6 months, and it makes sense to invest in something you think you’ll use. However, prudence might caution you to consider that, by the time you can actually buy more than a handful of 3D Blu-Ray discs, this player, or one very much like it, may have dropped significantly in price, and in the interim you’ll have missed nothing (except the ability to boast about your ability to watch nonexistent 3D Blu-Ray movies). Unless , of course, you’re one of those habitual early adopters that buys first-generation everything, regardless of how expensive and potentially buggy it turns out to be when compared to the refined and improved versions that inevitably follow in a matter of months. In that case, don’t fight your disease. Appease yourself in the short term, and in the long-run, seek professional help.
Provided you do decide you need 3D Blu-Ray now now now, you’ll certainly be getting what you pay for here, as there is hardly a better or more feature-packed device on the market. The BD-C6900’s image quality is exquisite in 2D as well as 3D, and it supports video from a panoply of sources. Besides normal Blu-Ray and DVD discs, you can stream media from any DNLA-compliant device; the player supports a constellation of common and obscure formats, with perennial favorites DivX and MKV topping the list. You can also stream content from various internet sources like YouTube, Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, Flickr, and Picasa – and what’s more, the 1GB of onboard storage gives you the ability to save a relatively prodigious amount of downloaded content. Built-in wi-fi (802.11N) support is an additional and quite welcome perk, as are the 7.1 analog outputs on the back for your primo sound system. (Hey, if you’re going to blow $350 on a Blu-Ray player, I assume you’re not hooking it up to your TV’s built-in speakers.)
Design-wise, the BD-C6900 also scores high marks. It’s generally sleek, anodized black form looks smart and occupies a respectably small space on your entertainment center shelf or A/V rack. There’s an illuminated window on top that lets you look down on the spinning disc as it plays – kind of cute, but they were also thoughtful enough to let you turn that little light off after you inevitably stop finding it so. The only thing I’m not a fan of is the placement of the buttons on the top of the player itself, which is inconvenient. The remote has gotten a redesign since the last generation of Samsung players; the number pad is kind of unnecessarily large, but the layout is generally well-organized, and the remote can control your TV as well. Also sporting a new design is the set of onscreen menus, which put the player’s streaming content options front and center. The menus aren’t customizable, but they make getting to most of the useful and frequently visited links quick. Getting around Samsung’s burgeoning Apps/”Internet@TV” offerings are also clear and easy. Navigating USB drives and external storage isn’t exactly as simple, but still poses no real trouble.There is, unfortunately, an additional factor to be considered when purchasing Samsung media players these days, which is the rather disturbingly frequent reliability problems reported on sites like CNET and Amazon. While they by and large get rave reviews from the editors of tech sites, and most professional review outfits take the time to give the device in question a thorough once-over, testing only lasts a matter of days, and doesn’t screen for problems of durability or long-term integrity. The BD-C6900 hasn’t gotten so many specific complaints as of yet, but if the trend continues from last year, we may well hear a lot of wailing after a few months of ownership and frequent use. Basically, if you’re willing to risk the potential pitfalls of a new technology coming from a possibly buggy line – open up your wallet, put on your 3D glasses, and, if luck is with you, prepare to be a very happy customer.