Integration of a 3D Blu-ray player and PVR makes this a veritable media hub for the modern TV.
The Samsung BD-C8900A is mostly the same as its predecessors like the BD-C6900 with all the same general features, though with a few key upgrades.
The main new additions icnlude 3D Blu-ray playback on 3D TVs and the 500GB PVR, though these perks add size and price to the package.
While many 3D Blu-ray movies are compatible with ordinary Blu-ray players, there are some 3D movies that require 3D-specific players (Disney says a 3D Blu-ray player is needed for its 3D line-up), so the Samsung shines here if you’re looking for 3D specifically.
For everyone else, 2D is displayed at Full HD quality and DVDs are up-scaled for better viewing quality. Aspects ratios are also scalable from the player to fit most screens.
The PVR features a 500GB hard disk that can record up to 120 hours of HD and 242 hours of SD content from TV, and is as simple as most other PVRs to use. While many PVRs now can come cheap, top end versions can exceed $500, making this deal for Blu-ray and PVR functionality in one a more appealing grab.
Adding to ease-of-use is the integration other playback options in the main menu that sets out videos, music, recordings and images on a simple page. Navigation is a breeze particularly for anyone using a recent Samsung TV, with the Anynet functionality letting you use either the TV or the Blu-ray remote for everything on the similarly laid-out menus.
The player also supports HDMI, USB, Ethernet and Wireless LAN connectivity so content can be streamed from a PC or other DLNA device via networked connection or straight off a USB.
Wireless connection through Samsung’s Internet@TV that offers web browsing through apps is a handy addition that is simple to set up (if you’re running wirelessly through a router, all you have to do is input your wireless password) but not very useful.
There are a wide range of apps ranging from news to Facebook, but typing on a TV remote is slow and cumbersome, especially when you have to constantly aim your infra-red remote down at the player. YouTube is the most functional app for this TV-centric device, with lag-free streaming and a simple, practical layout.
The Blu-ray player is significantly heftier than its predecessors because of the built-in HDD, weighing in at 3.8 kg and sitting at 430 x 61.5 x 300 mm, but this shouldn’t be much of an issue for a product that’ll sit under a TV to be rarely touched.
The pulsating, blue, half-moon lights on the top of the player can become a bit of an eyesore if you don’t have something to sit on top of the player and cover it. The initial novelty of a breathing Blu-ray player is lost pretty early on.
The BD-C8900A has all the features you’d want in a Blu-ray player, including running the latest video formats and 3D content, alongside the handy extra of a PVR. It’s a pricey option, but it’s as feature-filled as you’ll find in a Blu-ray player (next to a PS3).
If you’re willing to fork out nearly three times as much as earlier Samsung models that can still run 3D Blu-ray model, you’ll be content at least. The Samsung BD-C8900A Blu-ray Player is currently selling for an RRP of $889.