Customer Review

87 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointed but can't beat the value, July 6, 2012
This review is from: Samsung HT-E5500W HTIB 5.1 Channel 3D Blu-ray 1000-Watt Home Theater System (Electronics)
I am a current owner of the HT-C6900W and completely satisfied with the system. My review of the 6900W is available here on Amazon and everything I stated there still remains the same. Never had an issue with performance or reliability for over two years of use. It just sounds great (for an HTIB) and works without a hiccup.

I recently relocated to a second home and purchased the E5500W for it. The price of the E5500W is cheaper than that the C6900W (even at the end of model year fire sale price) was but I still had high expectations as I was attributing the price decrease to newer and cheaper technologies.

While the performance is similar, there are a few "compromises" that diminishes the quality of the E5500W compared to the C6900W:
- No autocalibration. This isn't a big deal as you can still dial in the distance and dB offset of each speaker.
- No onboard 1gb internal memory for BD Live. Don't really care about that.
- Still no Amazon Instant! Come on Samsung, I'm a Prime member!
- The remote is skinny with smaller buttons and not backlit.
- Front left, right speakers are single woofer while the C6900W are double (the E6500W looks to be equipped with double). Center, rears and sub looks to be the same.
- Sound quality is very good but speech and low bass seem just ever so slightly muffled compare to the C6900W.
- Some static noise comes from rear speakers. It is infrequent, maybe a few seconds for about every hour of use but this never happened on the C6900W. I don't think it's the speakers themselves but the wireless rear connection. I'm not factoring in this in the comparison as I will exchange if the problem continues or worsens. It could also be an issue with the cable feed.

Of course being two years newer, there are some feature upgrades:
- Smart Hub layout is better organized.
- Equipped with a web browser that works in a pinch. Too clumsy for everyday use but nice new addition.
- No more typing in search fields by pressing number buttons like sending a text message on old cell phones. A letter selection box comes up so you can use the directional keys. This is much more convenient.
- Remote, though a bit cramped as stated above, now has direct buttons for Nexflix and Pandora. This is great for me as I use those two online features the most.
- 2D to 3D conversion right on the remote.

More importantly, there are also some performance enhancements compared to the C6900W:
- The 3D sound feature. It does add to the immersive effect by pumping more volume to the rear satellite speakers. This is right on the remote and can be set to High, Med, Low and Off and you will use all four settings depending on the content you're watching.
- Equalizer now available to customize the sound setting. This is a very welcomed addition. You have much more control in tailoring the sound to your taste.
- Disc load times improved. Still not the best around but notably better than the C6900W.
- Picture quality for blu-ray and dvd upconverted still on par with the best blu-ray players.

Bottom line: The system still sounds very good, better than that of Sony, Panny and LG's equavlents. It should be equal to that of last year's D5500 rated by Consumer Reports as the best BluRay HTIB by far even though it lacked wireless rears and NO HDMI inputs. It was the only HTIB to be rated "Very Good" on sound quality while others were just good or worse. Still, it just doesn't have quite the same punch and clarity as the C6900W. Perhaps that's the difference between the 5xxx and 6xxx series. Given the price, I will keep this system as this year's price difference between the two is over $200! Subjectively speaking, I would exchange for the E6500W if the price difference was $50 or less. The E6500W has these new vacuum tubes that supposedly makes it sound better (advertised as professional grade surround) but could also be a gimmick. I listened to it at the store and I recall thinking that it doesn't sound that different from the C6900W.

Yes, I am somewhat disappointed as my title says because I expected the same, if not better sound performance as my two year old system. It's a notch below. What I am experiencing is effect of stepping down a series even though 2 years apart. Don't let my disappointment fool you. This is still a very good system for the price.

UPDATE 11/26/12

As noted in the comments section, our wireless rear issue was due to the cable signal and has been fixed by the cable company. A friend who purchased this system on black Friday deal had similar issue but could not fix. Both the system's wireless rear and his wireless Uverse digital box would constantly lose signal (main wired Uverse box ok). Unlike my system that had static or no signal to the wireless rears on cable programs only, his wireless rears failed freqently with DVD's and BluRays also. Brought his system to my house check out the problem but it worked without issue. Took it back to his place thinking maybe just disconnecting and reconnecting the system resolved the issue but the problem occurred all over again. Couldn't figure this one out. I decided to use my smart phone to see if I can get some help online. Of course, using wifi is much faster so I tried to connect to his router. There were a billion wifi signals in his apartment complex. Yup. That must be it. I'm not an expert when it comes to wireless signals but most routers operate on 2.4 GHz like the wireless amp that is used for the HT-E5500W. I know that there's multiple channels and multiple devices can operate without issue on the same frequency and whatnot but when there's 30 medium to strong signals and countless weaker signals picked up by a 2 year old smart phone, it's just too much. I believe that is also the issue for his wireless remote digital cable box.

So, for those that live in higher density housing complexes like large apartments or condos, I do not recommend this unit if you are going to use the wireless rear. And there are cheaper alternatives to this system if you can wire up all your speakers. I do not know at what point the system will be interfered with but my phone shows 3 strong, 2 medium and 6-7 weak wifi signals at a given time at my house and our system works without problems.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 27, 2012 1:49:06 PM PDT
Johnnie B says:
Update 8/27/12:
The static noise coming from wireless rears was due to an issue with our new place's AT&T Uverse signal. AT&T has fixed the issue.
Netflix streaming is a bit choppy. HD content looks SD. We use the PS3 for Netflix and looks great. Both this HTIB and the PS3 use the same wifi internet source so don't know what that's about. Pandora still sounds very good on it though.
This unit does a better job than the C6900W of displaying videos and movies saved on flash drives. Perhaps it does a better job at upconverting digital content.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2012 3:29:27 PM PDT
Props and thanks for coming back and posting the update Much appreciated.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 9:08:28 AM PST
Does the receiver have bluetooth as a selectable source for sound?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2012 9:47:19 AM PST
Johnnie B says:
No, it is not bluetooth capable.

Posted on Dec 4, 2012 7:01:40 PM PST
Can the wireless speakers be wired to existing wires? Our room is wired for 4 speakers but the former owner never hooked up a system. Thanks,

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 5, 2012 9:07:40 AM PST
Johnnie B says:
Actually, no. There is no rear L and R outputs on the main unit itself. Only on the wireless amp has those outputs. If you are looking for an equivalent unit without the wireless amp and has the rear outputs on the main unit, I suggest looking at the HT-E5400. It's cheaper and looks like it does all the things that the E5500W does except having wireless amp included. Funny thing is that the E5400 has the wireless TX card slot incase you want to add the wireless amp in the future. The wire plugs from the speakers that go into these Samsung units are proprietary. You'll simply have to splice your existing line to the Samsung supplied cables.

Have you considered getting a AV unit instead? That's what I would do if I had a place pre-wired and especially if I already had a Blu-Ray player. AV receivers have more robust sound and provides much more flexibilty with 5+ HDMI inputs. Depending on how much you want to spend, some units are equipped with bluetooth and Apple Airplay. A decent 5.1 receivers are affordable these days and since you have 4 speaker wires, investing in a 7.1 unit is probably a waste of money.

Posted on Jan 2, 2013 7:18:16 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 3, 2013 7:23:39 AM PST
mom of 2 says:
Nice review. Thanks!

Very surprised there is no Amazon Instant Video app. Is it possible to get Amazon video through the browser?

Edit: will any of this work? http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000777511#register

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 8, 2013 6:34:51 AM PST
Johnnie B says:
Hello mom of 2. Unfortunately, the Samsung HTIB's are not part of the 2012 product lineup that has the Amazon Instant app. Only the 2012 Samsung TV's. I tried to use the browser and, well, it didn't work. Don't think you can do streaming through the browser. It also took 30 minutes of navigating through the browser to give it a go. That browser is so clumsy that I wouldn't want to use it for Amazon Instant even if it worked.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2013 1:17:52 PM PST
Cory Worthen says:
I am a little confused on the rear speaker subject. The rear 2 speakers that come factory default with the Samsung HT-E5500W are wireless? In my house I have huge living room with no where to mount speakers on a wall behind my couch because the nearest wall to my couch is 10' away. So if I were to purchase this unit, I would be able to simply place these speakers behind my couch and they would work without running large amounts of wiring?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2013 1:26:05 PM PST
Johnnie B says:
No, the two rears themselves are not wireless. They will have to be wired to the supplied wireless rear amp. The speakers will have to be wired to the amp. I believe the supplied cables are about 10' in length. I don't have that much room behind my couch, a foot or two. That's where I had my wireless amp.
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