Top positive review
180 of 186 people found this helpful
I may be in love with Samsung again. (I am again, Updated)
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.