Samsung HT-BD2 review

This good value system is the first cinema-in-a-box with Blu-ray Tested at £775.00

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Our Verdict

The first Blu-ray cinema in a box sets a good standard for others to follow

For

  • Excellent spec for the money, including fine Blu-ray pictures and sounds, plus 7.1 speakers
  • very stylish looks

Against

  • Treble is a bit harsh, whilst bass isn't quite deep enough
  • could do with a little more sonic solidity

It shouldn't be surprising that Samsung is responsible either - the Korean giant has always understood the importance of being first to market. But what is surprising is how reasonably priced and capable the HT-BD2 is.

You only have to take a look at the box (roughly the size of a sumo-wrestler's coffin) to realise that you've got a lot of equipment for less than ú800.

And none of that box is wasted air; instead you have a deceptively large, but very stylish main unit, a boxy subwoofer, and seven attractive satellite speakers - a horizontal centre, four stalk-like floorstanders, and two compact rears.

That's right; Samsung has gone the whole hog by providing you with a full 7.1 package.

The good spec news doesn't end there: you get 1080p/24fps support for Blu-ray, decoding of all the HD sound formats, two optical inputs for a Sony PS3 or Freesat box, and DVD and CD playback.

If we were being exceptionally greedy, we'd also like to have seen video-switching and a DAB tuner instead of the FM-only version that's included.

Born for Blu-ray

Of course, this Samsung was born for Blu-ray. Jumper looks terrific in 1080p, with the Tokyo scene proving a particular pleasure. The neon-lights stand out in punchy fashion, while overall detail and edge-definition is terrific, and as the Mercedes weaves in and out of traffic, the 24fps support works a treat.

The Samsung also pleases with sound; 5.1 effects are redirected to take advantage of the extra two speakers, and the benefit of this is an extra level of immersion.

The high detail levels of the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack carry through from the speakers, and dynamics are pleasing.

However, it's not all good, and the subwoofer doesn't go as deep as it could, and the satellites are guilty of being a little harsh at the top-end. There's also a slight hollowness to the sound - the presentation isn't as solid as it could be.

Picture is great, sound a tad harsh

The Samsung fares better with the bleaker, 7.1 soundtrack of the Old Boy Blu-ray. The detail remains and the extra effects designed especially for the surround rears are worthwhile.

Switching to DVD proves a similar experience. The rowdy soundtrack of Rambo is detailed, punchy and dynamically controlled, but lacks the overall roundness and depth of the best systems.

However, the picture is lovely, with the Samsung demonstrating excellent stability in the upscaled image.

The Samsung has a fair stab at CD playback, too, offering decent detail and timing for a home cinema setup. The general brightness is still there, and there's certainly not as much texture to instruments and vocals as a dedicated system, but it's certainly not bad.

We expected the first Blu-ray home cinema in-a-box to have spec gaps, but Samsung has surprised us with a full range of video and audio support - and two more speakers than we were expecting.

Overall, it's good value indeed.

Specifications

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Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
Number of Analog Audio Inputs1
Component VideoYes
Number of Digital Optical Inputs2

Physical Characteristics

Center Speaker Depth9.1 cm
Front Speaker Width12.5 cm
Video Player Width44 cm
Front Speaker Depth8.9 cm
Rear Speaker Height131.1 cm
Video Player Depth8.6 cm
Center Speaker Height9 cm
Side Speaker Width10 cm
Rear Speaker Depth8.9 cm
Center Speaker Width30 cm
Front Speaker Height131.1 cm
Video Player Height39.6 cm
Width44 cm
Side Speaker Height27 cm
Rear Speaker Width12.5 cm
Side Speaker Depth9.7 cm
Depth8.6 cm
Height39.6 cm
Dimensions39.6 cm (H): 44 cm (W): 8.6 cm (D)

Audio

RMS Output Power1100 W
Sound SystemDolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS Neo:6, DTS 96/24, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD, DTS-ES Discrete, Dolby Digital Plus
Speaker Configuration7.1
Wireless SpeakersYes

General Information

Product NameSamsung HT-BD2
Product ModelHT-BD2
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Brand NameSamsung
Product TypeHome Theater System
ManufacturerSamsung
Manufacturer Part NumberHT-BD2R

Video

Scanning ModesProgressive Scan
Video FormatsBD Video, DivX, DVD Video, WMV, XviD

Miscellaneous

Package Contents
  • HT-BD2 Home Theater System
  • Remote Control

Technical Information

Player-Recorder TypeBlu-ray Disc Player
Media FormatsBD-RE, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, CD-RW

Warranty

Limited Warranty1 Year