Blu-ray players have come way down in price in the last couple of years, so the main question most buyers will have about the Samsung BD-D6700 is: why should I spend $270 (current street price) on a Blu-ray player?
Samsung's answer is dual HDMI outputs, which are necessary only if you have a non-3D-compatible receiver and demand to hear the real Dolby Digital True HD or DTS Master soundtrack. Less demanding listeners can hook up the optical digital audio jack instead of the second HDMI output and get basically the same sound quality.
There's plenty to like about the BD-D6700 overall, including built-in Wi-Fi, tons of streaming video services and smartphone control, but all of those features are available on the step-down BD-D6500 too, which is almost $100 cheaper.
Right under the disc slot is an LCD display with touch-sensitive buttons. This allows the BD-D6700 to have a completely uncluttered exterior, and they worked fine, although we generally prefer hardware buttons.
The main user interface for the BD-D6700 looks modern and colorful by Blu-ray player standards, although it pales next to the simplicity of, say, the Apple TV.
The UI has four main icons: My devices, My content, Internet, and Settings. Overlap between categories makes accessing them less straightforward. Content on an attached USB drive, for example, can be accessed via either My content or My devices, and the same goes for content stored on a networked computer.
The Internet icon takes you to Samsung's Smart Hub interface, where you'll find all of the BD-D6700's streaming media services.
Smart Hub is more ambitious than any of its competitors. There's an application store, a customizable home page, search, recommendations--really the kitchen sink approach to dealing with digital content. Unfortunately, most of the implementation is clunky and search in particular is disappointing.
Smart Hub search bills itself as a cross-platform search engine for content, which is a great idea since it can be a pain trying to remember which content is available where. Unfortunately, we found that search only worked with Vudu, YouTube, and Facebook, leaving out major services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and CinemaNow. We doubt we'd use the feature at all if we owned a Samsung Blu-ray player.
Samsung Apps was released last year and is also available through Smart Hub. The idea is similar to that other famous app store, allowing third-party developers to create programs that you can add to your Samsung Blu-ray player. Like in other app stores, the majority of the apps aren't worthwhile, but there are some good ones that don't come preinstalled like MLB.TV.
The BD-D6700 can also be controlled by a smartphone. Applications are available for both iOS and Android, although we preferred the Android app in general. The best part about the app is you can use it for text entry, which you'll need to do a lot of when searching or when you first register all your streaming media accounts. Note that you won't be able to use the app to search within streaming media apps, such as Netflix, however.
The big connectivity standout on the BD-D6700 is its dual HDMI outputs. There are a few reasons why you may want dual HDMI outputs, but the main reason is if you have an older HDMI AV receiver that doesn't support 3D pass-through. With two HDMI outputs, you can send the 3D video directly to your HDTV and just the audio directly to your receiver. As we mentioned above, you can also send audio to older receivers using the digital audio output--eliminating the need for dual HDMI outputs--and get basically the same sound quality. If you're set on buying a player with dual HDMI outputs, be sure to also check out the Panasonic DMP-BDT310, which is a little less expensive and has a different suite of streaming media services.