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Samsung HT-E6500 review

5.1 system with 3D Blu-ray and streaming galore

Our Verdict

A fine all-in-one attempt that makes up for a flimsy build quality by chumming-up Smart Hub with fine 3D and movie sonics, though it's the nod to musos – via both Bluetooth streaming from a smartphone and a warm valve amplifier-led soundstage – that make this a standout option for a living room.

For

  • HDMI switching
  • Bluetooth music from smartphones
  • Punchy movie soundtracks
  • Simple set-up & calibration
  • Smart Hub apps via Wi-Fi

Against

  • Questionable build quality
  • Dated gloss black looks
  • Poorly designed remote control
  • Subwoofer slow to act

It may play nicely with 3D Blu-ray discs, and even convert 2D sources to 3D, but Samsung's HT-E6500 home cinema 'in a box' is just as much about music as it is movies.

At its centre the HT-E6500 is a chunky Blu-ray player with ins and outs galore, with the rest of the package made up of a centre speaker, left and right satellite speakers, two rear speakers and a passive subwoofer.

The latter requires hooking up to the main unit, as do all the speakers, but doesn't need plugging in to the mains.

Samsung HT E6500 review

There are no speaker stands, so you'll need a bevy of bookshelves in your living room, but it's a diminutive and relatively low-impact 5.1 system (aside from the miles of cable, that is) that manages a 'that'll do plenty' 1000W output of codecs ranging from the Blu-ray-centric Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio to Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, DTS 96/24 and DTS.

Audio modes are many, with 3D Sound – offered in various strengths – more use than 'SFE' modes including such oddities as 'Jazz Club Seoul', 'Philharmonic Hall Bratislava' and 'Symphony Hall Boston'.

The DSP modes, comprising Virtual 7.1, Power Bass and MP3 Enhancer are more useful.

Samsung HT E6500 review

Aside from the 3D Blu-ray drive at its heart (which also plays DVD, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD, CD-R and CD-RW), the most noticeable design flourish on this resolutely 'black plastic box' approach (which isn't the classiest or most well-built around) is a valve amplifier.

Situated on the right of the product, Samsung is clearly touting this – which ought to lend the HT-E6500 a warm, music-friendly soundstage – as a main feature since it's got a cut-out transparent fronting so all can see.

The musical bent doesn't stop there; the HT-E6500 also has an FM tuner, a wired iPod/iPhone dock (though we couldn't get it to output videos), and even Bluetooth functionality to link to any smartphone.

Samsung HT E6500 review

That latter feature makes it a genuine contender against an Apple AirPlay system, since the functionality is identical – and the reliability of streamed tunes is arguably higher.

Hard-wired connections include an HDMI output and two inputs, which make the HT-E6500 a HDMI switcher for a couple of devices (games console and set-top box, perhaps?), though the single USB slot hidden behind a front flap is an unsightly solution.

Samsung HT E6500 review

Also on the rear is an optical digital audio input, AUX audio input, and separate wired speaker connections.

One thing to bear in mind is that proprietary cable connectors are used, which makes it all a bit of a fiddle if, in fact, you want to use the HT-E6500 with an existing wiring (or perhaps for a projection-led home cinema) since cable lengths aren't ideal.

Wiring-up the HT-E6500 to the internet doesn't suffer from anything like that kind of kerfuffle since there's a Wi-Fi module inside.

That fuels both the HT-E6500's AllShare DLNA networking function (which covers all manner of digital video and music files, which can also be played via a USB stick) and a hugely attractive Smart Hub screen, which features apps such as the BBC iPlayer, Acetrax and LoveFilm.

Samsung HT E6500 review

Now, is that an all-in-one, or what? Its spec is so impressive that we're almost left mourning the lack of a Freeview HD tuner.

Tech Specs

Product TypeHome Theater System
Player/Recorder TypeBlu-ray Disc Player
Speaker Configuration5.1
HDMIYes
Internet StreamingYes
RMS Output Power1000 W
iPod SupportedYes
Number of Digital Optical Inputs1
3D Type3D
Sound SystemDolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS 96/24, DTS HD
Brand NameSamsung
FeaturesPMP Docking
ManufacturerSamsung
Video FormatsBD Video, DVD Video, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, XviD, MKV, WMV, WMV2, WMV3, WMV7, WMV9, AVCHD, VC-1
Scanning ModesProgressive Scan
Frequency BandFM
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Operating Power Consumption127.70 W
Media FormatsBD-R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, CD-RW
Number of Analog Audio Inputs1
Front Speaker Height279.91 mm
Front Speaker Width93.98 mm
Front Speaker Depth69.85 mm
Rear Speaker Height141.48 mm
Rear Speaker Depth68.33 mm
Rear Speaker Width89.92 mm
Center Speaker Height74.42 mm
Center Speaker Width359.92 mm
Center Speaker Depth68.33 mm
Subwoofer Height350.01 mm
Subwoofer Width167.89 mm
Subwoofer Depth284.99 mm
Number of HDMI Inputs2
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)0.5%
Total System Weight (Approximate)11.51 kg
Wireless Speaker(s)Yes
Height63 mm
Width430 mm
Depth315 mm
Image FormatsJPEG HD
Audio FormatsMP3, AC3, WMA, AAC, CD-DA
Product ModelHT-E6500W
Product NameHome Theater System with Vacuum Tube & Digital Amp (HT-E6500W)
Manufacturer Part NumberHT-E6500W/ZA
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Vacuum Tube and Digital Sound
Enjoy a more lifelike experience with Vacuum Tube and Digital Sound. Hear your favorite music for the first time with the innovation of analog and digital sound combined. It creates a truer, more immersive sound that digital alone cannot replicate. Samsung has brought wonder to your eyes, now it's time for your ears.

Samsung Smart Home Theater System
Full web browsers, cutting-edge TV Apps, all-new Signature services, processors and much more enhance the Home Theater Experience.

Remote ControlYes
Weight (Approximate)3.85 kg - Main Unit, 948 g - Front Speaker, 607.8 g - Rear Speaker, 880 g - Centre Speaker, 3.67 kg - Subwoofer