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on June 15, 2013
Let me preface this review with a little story. I purchased a very expensive Samsung home theater system several years ago (tower speakers, 5 dvd changer, HDMI throughput). This was one of the most troublesome pieces of electronics I have ever had. Wouldn't even play a new DVD after 4 months. Very little help or support from Samsung either. It always sounded good, but just after the warranty the HDMI ports quit working. I was done with them and haven't had a home theater since.

Fast forward 6 years and I find myself intrigued with Samsung and their designs. Quality seems to have improved. I have some friends with Samsung TV's which are quite nice, and I love my Galaxy S-3, so I put Samsung on my list to consider when looking for a home theater. I wanted BluRay, wireless rear speakers and to be under 400$.

When I did my research, this unit kept popping up in my search criteria. It was closer to the 400$ mark than most, but it had some extra features like wi-fi and apps similar to the Roku2XD that I already have been using. I saw mostly universal positive reviews (save for the clown on here griping about speaker covers, which is a non-issue imho). I went for it.

Granted I have only been using the unit for 3 days, I am in love. This sounds amazing. I was even able to get rid of my Roku because this internet connected unit has all the channels I was already using. My only complaint is that the Samsung UI is a little slow. Th Roku loads about twice as fast, but the Roku has a lot less going on and I am not here to compare apples to oranges. The menu screens for apps like Netflix and Amazon instant video are laid out much better than Roku though.

I watched Star Trek (2009) in HD streaming from Amazon and it felt like I was on the bridge of the Enterprise. The speakers are small but substantial. You can tell there is a massive magnet in that little box. I set this up in my small living room in about half an hour. Everything is straight forward. The hardest part is navigating the on screen keyboards to enter your information into the apps.

I would recommend this unit to anyone looking for a full featured home theater on a budget.
***UPDATE*** One month in and this unit never ceases to impress me. The bass and depth of sound is amazing. I love watching movies over that I have seen and catching the little nuances in the background. I still wish the Samsung apps loaded faster, but we absolutely love this at our house. My recommendation stands at 5 star!

*update 12-1-13* Here we are coming into the holiday season and I would still recommend this home theater. This has become an indispensable part of our media life. The sound is phenomenal and the unit works perfect. I had an app that was crashing the system, but an update took care of that. You can't go wrong, and I see the price is much better than when I purchased it.

*update 3-20-14* Starting to experience some issues with the unit. For a month the unit was taking 5-6 minutes to connect to my wireless network. Every other device in my home (5) had no issues. The system has started to freeze (in app. Netflix mostly, but amazon video and hulu as well. I just watch Netflix more) and when it freezes, it resets itself, making me wait another 5-6 minutes for it to regain connectivity. Late january a new firmware update came through and it instantly resolved the network connection time, but the frequency of the apps crashing has me getting quite upset. When it works, it works flawlessly. Nothing ever happens while watching a disc, so I am sure that it's something to do with the apps. I have a solid wireless network, the hub being only 6 feet away from the system and have 25mpbs download speeds. I am not sure what's happening but I wish I wasn't experiencing these problems. Contacting Samsung support just ended with me resetting my smart hub and forcing me to re enter all of my username and passwords for my apps (a tedious task using the remote) without solving the issue. We will see what transpires.

*update 5-4-14* Still having frequent issues with the network connectivity of my home theater. When watching videos in-app (netflix, hulu, vudu and crackle), with startling frequency and no real rhyme or reason, the show will start to buffer, then I get an error message stating that the title can't be played. I back out and try to select another show and then get the message that the unit isn't connected to the network. When I go to the system menu it says that the system isn't connected to any network. I refresh it and still nothing. I have to go and select my home network and re-enter the password every time this happens. I am sorely disappointed with this aspect. We watch ALL of our entertainment on this unit using these apps and this makes it impossible. Samsung has had me reset the unit several times, and has finally just started to blame my network for the problem. Well Samsung, if my network was the culprit wouldn't I see problems with every other device connected to the network? My downstairs neighbor is an IT professional who has checked my network status and reliability (he can even monitor its connectivity remotely) and it has never had an issue. So for right now I am downgrading my rating to 3 stars. The DVD/BLURAY player works flawlessly and the sound is still phenomenal, but the wireless network issues need to be resolved. I am hoping a future firmware update will solve this.

*Update 5-22-14* I have been in contact with Samsung customer support 3 different times regarding this problem. On Monday, 5-19 they released a new firmware update. Customer support had me install the update, then do a factory reset on the unit. Now, everything works perfectly. They believe the issues were with the apps, that weren't updated in sync with the firmware, which was causing issues. It took a few hours, but everyone was helpful, kind and patient. This is the kind of customer service I expect from a high end company. A couple months of problems (granted, not severe problems, but enough to be terribly annoying) are nearly forgotten about after this experience. I love this player!!!

*Update 7-9-14* I have received one more firmware update since my last review. The player works amazingly well. I am always surprised by the small sounds and nuances I hear in shows and movies. We still use this about 95% for streaming Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Crackle (FREE SEINFELD!!) and the only time we have a problem is when an app crashes. Typically when this happens I check and the app has an update available. I wish SmartHub would update the apps automatically. Anyhow, I can still sleep well at night giving this a 5 star review. A well rounded multimedia machine.
1414 comments180 of 186 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 8, 2013
[UPDATES: See my updates at the bottom of this review.]

It drives me crazy when manufacturers don't post photos of the back of the unit, so I posted a user photo showing all the ports. I got this because I wanted surround sound, and built-in Netflix/DVD/Blu-ray meant I wouldn't need to turn on my Xbox 360 or PC. But let me tell you about all the cool features it has, and what you can do with it:

- Play Blu-rays and DVDs (which get upscaled -- personally, I hate upscaling, but other people like it).
- Stream Netflix, Hulu Plus, Youtube, etc. It even has a web browser. Use wifi or the LAN port.
- Connect devices via bluetooth. Play music from your iPhone through these speakers, wirelessly. You can even click a button in the iPhone/iPad youtube app, and it'll open the Youtube app on the Samsung and play the video on your TV! You can then browse videos on your iPad and they'll play on the TV (it makes browsing easier). I probably won't use this much, but it's cool.
- Play videos from your PC/DLNA device wirelessly with AllShare. I'm not interested in this, but you might be.
- Plug in external hard drives or thumbdrives via USB and play videos. It even plays Matroska files (.mkv), which surprised me. It supports FAT32 *and* NTFS file systems! Microsoft's own Xbox 360 doesn't even support NTFS! Update: I tested an external NTFS hard drive with .mp4, .mov, and .mpg files. Works perfectly!
- Simulate surround sound on stereo videos. It has a lot of audio modes that will use the rear speakers even if the source material doesn't have it.
- Level out the volume. It has two options: Smart Volume keeps the audio level when the scene changes or you switch channels. Dynamic Range Control boosts dialog and turns down loud noises. Both of these settings can be turned off. I'm not sure how well these work, but I have them both on.
- Sync your audio. Because of the video lag, you might hear the audio before the video. I set mine to 50ms delay, and it's perfect. This depends on your setup.
- Wireless rear speakers, kinda. They plug into a powered hub, but you can just hide that behind your couch or whatever. The point is that there are no wires running across the room to the TV. The hub turns on automatically.
- NO "vampire power." Both the main unit and the rear speakers use no power when turned off (stand-by mode). I tested this with my Kill-a-watt, because it worried me.
- It turns on your TV automatically when on the Smart Hub app screen (at least with my setup, below. But the remote can be programmed for your TV, too). This might be annoying if you only want to stream audio via bluetooth, however. If the unit is still set to bluetooth when you turn it on, the TV won't turn on. If I turn off my TV when the Samsung is on HDMI, the Samsung turns off.

Here's my setup: I have my devices plugged directly into the Samsung via HDMI, then have HDMI out to my TV. If you go from your TV to the Samsung, your TV will probably downmix the audio to 2.1. This avoids the problem. All audio is always 5.1 (if supported), and I don't need to press any buttons. I don't use my TV speakers (why would you?). Video games sound great! You can hear enemies behind you. I'm not an audiophile, but I'm completely satisfied with the quality.

If you have more than one device, simply buy a switcher like this one: Portta PET0301S 3x1 HDMI Switcher with 3D Support -- it'll automatically switch when you turn a new device on. I hated having to change inputs on my TV for everything.


- It's a bit slow when starting Netflix/Hulu, but still faster than turning on my Xbox, logging in, etc. Edit: I've timed it, and it takes 40-50 seconds to start those apps after the main unit is turned on (main unit turns on quickly).
- It crashes sometimes (usually when switching apps). I have the latest firmware.
- It doesn't have dedicated buttons for inputs. You have to cycle through HDMI, optical, FM, bluetooth, etc. with a single button on the remote. That's annoying, because I only use two.
- Speakers are shiny plastic (but whatever, this thing is pretty cheap). I think they look fine, but I would prefer it if they weren't so shiny.
- Proprietary plugs for the speakers (see photo)
- No headphone jack! This was important to me, but none of these systems seem to have them.
- Unit is slow to respond to the remote. It's better to hold the "mute" button, because a single press never does it.

There is definitely room for improvement, but it's great for the price and features. The convenience is great! I would have to turn on a receiver anyway, so this lets me cut down on devices by having so much built-in, which also saves power.

***Update 12/8/2013:***
I haven't experienced crashes lately, but the Hulu app freezes all the time! When it gets to a commercial break, it will just be frozen on a black screen. I'll have to quit the app, then restart the app, which usually won't resume where I was -- meaning I'll have to fast-forward through the whole episode, which takes a long time. If you watch a lot of Hulu, I definitely don't recommend using this app if you have an alternative. Based on the poor reviews on the Hulu iPad app, and my experience on a PC, I'm guessing the blame goes to Hulu, not Samsung. The Netflix app works quite well. I still highly recommend this for everything else.

One other tip -- turn this unit on BEFORE any other devices like an Xbox or Playstation, otherwise the gaming console will default to stereo. If the Samsung is on first, my Xbox 360 detects 5.1, and everything is fine.

***Update 2/10/2014:***
I took off a star because of some annoying bugs that are still present (there have been around 3 updates since I first got it). The wireless rear hub doesn't always turn off -- one time I checked the next day and it was STILL on, sucking up power. Other times the wireless hub "thinks" it's connected (solid blue light), but the main unit tells me to "check wireless speakers" and no sound comes out of them. It takes a bunch of unplugging and replugging to get them synced again.

***Update 8/11/2014:***
I took off another star because the wireless hub issues are still present, and happen often. The main reason I bought this unit was for surround sound, and that's what I'm having the most issues with. The wireless hub stays on pretty often (I moved the wireless hub to a position where I can easily see the light), and uses ~7 watts--all night if I don't notice it. I found out in the manual how to "re-sync" the hub ("ID Set"):

Turn off the main unit, unplug the hub. Press "0135" on the remote and the unit should give you a message on the front display. Plug in the wireless hub and press a pin into the "ID Set" hole on the back for 5 seconds. It should start blinking. Then turn on the main unit.

Those are a lot of steps to resync, and the fact that the hub has a blue light even when it's not actually working just compounds the problem. I did the resync, had it working again, then turned it off for a bit. When I played a video game an hour later, it wasn't working again. Luckily I was able to simply unplug the hub and plug it back in to get it to work, but that doesn't always work.

This is way more trouble than it's worth. It's possible that my unit is defective in some way, and most of them don't have these problems. But now I wish I could swap this out for a WIRED unit if it would solve these problems.
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1010 comments116 of 119 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 15, 2013
This is my second time purchasing this. Both systems work and sound great at both locations we use them. Great value
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on October 17, 2013
I'm giving 4 stars because Samsung is not supporting FF & REW feature for USB .avi files. it plays all types of files. other than that it is working great so far.
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on January 1, 2014
Giving it four stars for the theater experience. Playing a DVD or blu-ray and running the sound through the system is outstanding, a very good audio experience. However, when you just want to listen to music from a CD or streaming from mobile, the sound is tinny and lacks richness unless you are parked right in front of the speakers. I was hoping to use this as my all-in-one audio and video system, but I'm thinking the audio-alone falls short. Set-up was moderately easy, though it took a support call and purchase of an optical cable to get sound from normal TV (not disc) to come through the system, or to have TV sound without the system (if we had a Samsung TV, I don't think this would have been an issue). So, 4 stars for home theatre, but only 3 for music.
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on September 1, 2013
I purchased this to replace a cheaper home theater 5.1 setup. The first thing I found was the Samsung would not accept audio through the digital optical audio cable. I used the same cable I had been using with the other system and got nothing - no sound at all. I read some other reviews on other sites and they suggested trying different cables until finding one that works. I didn't want to bother with that so I just installed an HDMI splitter to connect the DirecTV and Xbox360 to the Samsung (it only has one HDMI input, FYI). So, I still don't know why the optical input didn't work.

The left-front speaker quit working - I found the wire harness had become unplugged from the back of the unit. When I plugged it back in I noticed that you really have to put some pressure on when plugging those connectors in - push them hard until there is a final "click" into place. I had to re-seat all four output harnesses.

The software is pretty good - it has played every video format I have thrown at it so far through the USB port on the front of the unit. It can be a little slow switching between apps and the rest of the unit's functions, and the remote can be slow to respond occasionally, but overall I'm happy with the purchase. I was happy to see Netflix and MLB were ready to go on the apps screen.

There are some other reviews stating that there is a large difference in audio volume levels for different types of audio, as in dialog in movies is too low compared with the rest of the sounds. This is definitely true. I think the default volume level for the center channel is too low, but you can boost the volume for this channel alone in the audio settings.
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on December 16, 2013
This system has many negative issues with it. Let me start by mentioning that it was not purchased on Amazon. Once arrived, I installed it and noticed that one of the rear surround sound speakers was putting out garbled noise. I verified that the speaker was defective by switching older surround speakers in its place and they worked great. After nearly two hours on the phone with Samsung (trying to verify that the problem is the speaker and not some other issue, something I already verified) their solution was to send the unit to an authorized service center! I might have done that in the hope that it would solve my problem and get me a functioning product, but other problems steered my course toward returning this item (see below).
The sound quality in general was bad. When I tried to watch a Blu ray movie, the dialog was so inaudible that I literally had to turn up the volume to extremely high levels only to quickly turn it back down when the dialog changed to music or explosions. I fiddled with the speaker settings by increasing the center speaker level (this is the speaker through which dialog is channeled) and reducing the left and right front speaker levels but this only marginally fixed the issue.
Lastly, controlling this device along with my Samsung TV was a nightmare. I would want to turn on the radio only to have my TV and my set-top box turn on at the same time! Or I would turn off the TV with the intention of only listening to Pandora on the home theater system and the HTS would turn off...aargh!
The whole thing is going back today and I'm still shopping for a replacement.
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on July 7, 2013
This system has great sound and picture. It was extremely easy to set up. I love the wireless feature, since it eliminates the stringing of wire across the living room (it is not a pure wireless setup - the back speakers hook into a unit that communicates wirelessly with the blu-ray player).

All in all, a great value for the price.
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on July 25, 2014
Owned this for 2 years, used maybe 50 times mainly for TV sound. The set-up instructions are wanting. You cannot adjust the equalizer unless DVD is playing. Limit memory for the continuous apps update. The sound quality is POOR for speech even when the equalizer was adjusted. The BASS is over bearing and bass speaker had to set to -6dB but still poor sound. Here's the kicker, I noticed after my last update the unit would power-on, on its own. It would power off. The sound would come-on even though it was powered off. Today I tried playing Blue-Ray disk after every 2 mins it would switch to Aux input, then Optical input the Ipod input and so-on. I contacted Samsung technical to be told its out of warranty and I would have to pay $80 plush shipping etc to have it repaired. Well I'm not going to spend 1 cent on this pile of junk. Don't buy it.
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on November 4, 2013
Darn good product. The blue ray player makes your T.V. a smart T.V.. The sound quality and ease of use is what I've come to expect from Samsung. The remote also works great with my Samsung T.V..
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