Top positive review
63 people found this helpful
Samsung HT-E5400 Home Theater System
on May 23, 2012
Two HDMI inputs
WiFi Built in
Comes with IPOD dock
12 month warranty
Easy for apps to run out of memory and no way to add memory
Could not get ARC (Audio Return Channel) to work with my TV
High Def streams sometimes buffer
No Amazon app (I knew this before I placed my order)
Let me start by saying that I am very happy with my Samsung home theater and have no intentions of returning it. I had an older Panasonic system that I had been very happy with but it was starting to give me a few issues and it was time to move to something that would work with all of today's technology. I purchased this via Amazon about 3 weeks ago, outstanding delivery. The owners manual is 64 pages and actually pretty good, there are lots of things you can do or configure on this unit so reading the manual was very valuable for me. I removed the unit from the box and began setting it up, took a bit due to speaker placement/wiring. The speaker wires provided are quite long and do have special connectors that plug into the system, I did need to lengthen one and I simply added speaker wire to the end of the wire, each wire is nicely color coded on both ends so you know where to plug it into the system and which speaker it goes to. When I had the speakers, TV and my Satellite radio connected I powered up the system, a very simple to follow configuration screen appeared and I simply followed the steps to configure things like my network settings, TV aspect ratio, etc., somewhere in doing this it checked for the latest firmware and indicated a new version was available, I went ahead and let it install it. After it rebooted itself I believe it walked me through the setup again. After this a nice menu displayed on the TV, I won't go into all the details about the menu but this is where you can select things like: Smart Hub (apps), AllShare (Play videos, photos or music from discs, USB, or you computer via DLNA), Change input (Aux, HDMI, Tuner, etc.) and get to the settings.
Smart Hub is a bit slow to load but has a quite a number of applications like Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, You Tube, already loaded and there are quite a number that you can add yourself, this is where one of the issues arrive. Most of the applications loaded by Samsung cannot be removed and depending on what applications you want to install you can quickly run out of memory, simply installing the Fitness piece will all but run you out of memory and there is no way to add memory, if you could use the USB input to add memory that would be a great help. I use the VTuner app to listen to online radio, works very well. I also like the Pandora app however it is a bit slow, takes 20-30 seconds to move from one song to another, it is also easier to configure your Pandora stations via a computer and the internet, changes made via the computer take effect immediately on the Samsung, very cool. Watching online videos normally works well but if you are watching a high def stream you might have some buffering (this is not normally a problem with my computer). I have not tested Hulu or Netflix since I do not have accounts with them. My testing has mostly been done with You Tube and Vimeo.
Allshare is used to access your videos, music and photos, you can access information stored on discs (CD/DVD), IPOD, USB, camera or your computer (via DLNA). If you are running Windows Vista or Windows 7 they have DLNA built in and if you have it configured correctly the Samsung will access them and you can view/play all of the media you have stored on your computer. Samsung also provides downloadable Allshare software which you can install on your computer that will also allow this access. I setup both and played with them, of the two I prefer Samsung AllShare but I did have some troubles getting it to recognize changes made to my media library. I have now installed and use Serviio which is a free DLNA server. I love being able to play all of my music and photos via the Samsung, very, very, cool.
The other units in this price point did not offer HDMI inputs. I stream Amazon instant videos to my TV via my PC and HDMI. I now plug the HDMI cable from my PC directly into my Samsung and let it feed the video to my TV, this allows me to have much better sound than using my TV speakers. I am sure that in the future I will have other devices that use HDMI that I will be able to plug directly into the Samsung.
This unit does an excellent job of playing DVD's, CD's and USB devices, the sound is incredible and can be configured in many different ways, you can also adjust the level of each speaker individually, this works very well, I was able to increase the output of only the rear speakers which really helped with the sound effects on DVD's. The sub woofer is adequate and there is a dedicated button on the remote to adjust it. I did not own any BlueRay DVD's so I purchased The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to try it out, looked and sounded excellent but then again so do my other DVD's.
Web browser is a bit kludgy, can't think of much reason to use it but if you are going to I would suggest attaching a wireless keyboard and mouse via the USB port. I have a Microsoft wireless keyboard and mouse unit and they work fine, also helps with some of the other applications. According to the documentation a wired keyboard will NOT work.
Remote control is pretty good, it would be better if it had back lighting. It does have dedicated buttons for Netflix and Pandora. One annoying thing is the remote is shaped the same at the top and bottom, in the dark it is very easy to have it upside down and be trying to change to volume with the wrong button.
Technical support seems to be iffy. I called about the buffering issue with online videos, they opened a problem report and 24 hours later someone called back, his english was quite good and he tried to help by having me reset the unit which also meant I had to go through the setup again, he stayed on the line while I did this, this did not help. He then said it was my router, I explained that I had the router out of the line and was plugged directly into my modem, he then said it was my ISP, I explained I did not believe that to be true since my computers normally don't have this issue. He said that if the ISP could not solve the issue my only other choice would be to send the unit in for repair. I believe this issue has something to do with their implementation of the streaming applications and I will simply live with it, I have very little need to watch streaming videos via the unit. I would love to know if it works for folks using Hulu or Netflix.
Once again let me state that I am very happy with my Samsung HT-E5400 Home Theater System