LAS VEGAS--We're used to seeing AV receivers with integrated Blu-ray players in home-theater-in-a-box systems, but they're pretty rare as standalone products.
Samsung's newly announced HW-D7000 combines a full, component-style AV receiver with a Blu-ray player, packed with features on both counts. The receiver has standard midrange specs, such as 120 watts per channel, four HDMI inputs (each with audio return channel and 3D compatibility), and DTS-HD Master Audio/Dolby TrueHD/Dolby Pro Logic IIz sound processing.
The HW-D7000's Blu-ray features are similar to those of other high-end Blu-ray players Samsung is showing at CES 2011, although the early press materials do not indicate that it offers 3D Blu-ray playback. The HW-D7000 does have built-in Wi-Fi and can access Samsung Apps, which opens up a wide variety of streaming-media services, including Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Pandora, Blockbuster, and Twitter.
New for 2011 is Samsung's Smart Hub, which is a unified search feature that looks through all of the streaming-media services for content and to make viewing recommendations. Of course, that's what Google TV promised too (and didn't quite deliver), so we're eager to see how Smart Hub works in practice. The device is also DLNA-compliant, so you can stream your personal music, photos, and videos from a connected PC.
We're not always fans of integrated units like this, as they make it more difficult to upgrade your home theater as time goes on, but an all-in-one unit certainly makes more sense in a secondary location, like a bedroom, where space is at a premium.
Of course, a lot of the device's appeal will depend on pricing, and Samsung has not announced pricing or a release date for the HW-D7000. Home theater fans will remember that at CES 2010 Denon unveiled a similar unit, which carried a hefty $1,800 price tag.