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Samsung HT-C6500 review

Ben Pitt
5 Nov 2010
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Samsung HT-C6500
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
433
inc VAT

Lots of online features, plenty of inputs and powerful sounds, but the speakers can sound a little harsh

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Samsung sells a huge range of home cinema systems, although most are just subtle variations drawn from a small pool of components. The C6500 isn't the cheapest 5.1 Blu-ray system in the range, but it still looks much more expensive than it is.

Unlike the cheaper Panasonic BTT350 and Sony E370 systems, this one doesn't support Blu-ray 3D. That may be of little consequence now but it would be annoying to have to replace both the Blu-ray player and speakers if you change your mind in a few years' time. However, it does have a feature rival systems lack: HDMI inputs. This makes it easy to pipe soundtracks from a TV box and games console through the speakers. It also means you could still use these speakers with a new Blu-ray player if the next generation of players come along with a must-have new feature, such as streaming movie rentals in 1080p HD.

An external iPod dock is included, but Samsung shoots itself in the foot by eschewing the iPod's friendly controls in favour of clunky music browsing using the remote control and TV screen. Worst of all, playback stopped as soon as we began browsing for the next track to play.

Samsung HT-C6500

Samsung's Internet@TV internet portal has the feel of an operating system more than a media-streaming platform. You get 18 Samsung Apps pre-installed, including YouTube, Picasa, Facebook, Twitter, Google Maps and a selection of games. Lovefilm is also listed, but selecting it brings up a "Coming Soon" message. Various others Apps are available for download, and the fact that they're all listed as Free suggests paid content might appear one day.

Logging into Facebook and Picasa for the first time was an exhausting experience. Rather than taking us directly to the relevant place, an on-screen prompt sent us on a wild goose chase. The solution felt more like an exercise in hacking than logging in, but there are advantages to Samsung's complex system. The player can hold multiple users' accounts, and their normal passwords for Facebook and Picasa are replaced by a four-digit code, which is easier to enter on the remote control.

The Facebook and Twitter interfaces are attractive but a remote control isn't the best way to use these predominantly text-based services. Text input via the number keys was painfully slow, even compared to using the remote controls on other brands of Blu-ray player. Frustratingly, photo thumbnails were shown on Facebook's News Feed but selecting them just produced a blank screen. We were able to view photos and videos when browsing via our list of friends, so presumably this is a bug that will be ironed out soon. Hopefully Samsung's engineers will figure out how to make the photos fill the screen too.

Picasa support was more successful. Friends had to be added to our Favourites on a PC, whereupon their albums appeared on the TV including any private albums they'd invited us to view. Sadly, though, slideshows showed nothing but a loading icon for about three seconds between each photo. This might not bother most well-adjusted people too much but we found it unbearably annoying.

Slow text input hampered Samsung's YouTube player, too, making searches extremely cumbersome. Even basic navigation was slow and clunky. We were able to log in to access and manage our Favorites, but not our Subscriptions, Playlists or even our own videos. With audio sync and aspect ratio problems and an inability to reverse and fast-forward, this isn't a YouTube service we'd envisage using much.