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Samsung Blu-ray players struggle with CNET users again

While Samsung Blu-ray tend to do well in our editorial reviews, user opinions are consistently more negative, often citing reliability issues.

Last year, we noticed a troubling trend. While we tended to give high review scores to Samsung Blu-ray players based on their design, features, performance and value, CNET users consistently rated them much lower, often citing reliability issues. We went through a detailed examination of why CNET's and user's opinions differ so much, with a major reason being our short review period, which isn't likely to catch longer-term reliability issues. Because of our trepidations with the long-term performance of Samsung Blu-ray players, we referenced Samsung's reliability issues in every review we did this year.

2010 is coming to a close and we've taken a similar look at Samsung's user opinions. The results are surprisingly similar to last year.

Ratings have been standardized to a 100-point scale to make comparisons easier.

At first glance, the chart looks to be bad news for Samsung, but there are several mitigating factors. While Samsung players on average do have a larger-than-average difference in CNET/user rating, a lot of that is because they score so high in our reviews in the first place. The trend mostly only applies to CNET reviews, too, as user reviews at Amazon and Newegg are nearly the same as other products. Lastly, Samsung Blu-ray players in general seem to attract more user opinions, which could make them skew more negative if you believe that disgruntled buyers are more likely to post opinions than happy buyers.

Even taking all of that into consideration, the numbers still give us trepidation. If a friend asked about a Samsung player, we'd certainly mention all the negative user opinions we've seen on CNET. That doesn't mean we wouldn't necessarily recommend a Samsung Blu-ray player, but it's definitely something to factor into the buying decision.

We'll be adding an updated note to Samsung Blu-ray players this year, referencing this story, and we plan to continue to include the note on Samsung players in 2011, until we see evidence that the trend has changed.

We contacted Samsung about our findings and the company issued a response, which is included in full below.

The CNET reader community is an important audience for Samsung. We appreciate the solid editorial reviews that the CNET editorial team has given and value the real-time user feedback as this helps us better understand how we can continue to deliver positive user experiences.

In reviewing the feedback on our Blu-ray products, we noticed that CNET readers had submitted a broad mix of stellar and less-than-stellar comments, and this seems consistent with feedback across all the brands. However, given the small number of user comments posted for each product, it is difficult to draw any statistically valid conclusion.

User preferences vary depending on people's needs and personal preferences, and Samsung offers a wide range of products to give our consumers that choice. We have sold over one million Blu-ray players to date in 2010 in the US, and these players continue to be popular products at retail. We've also received thousands of comments and feedback from various customer channels and online forums that indicate the majority of people were happy to recommend our products to their friends and family.

As the leader in consumer electronics and home entertainment products, Samsung takes customer feedback very seriously. We encourage users to contact us at 1-800-SAMSUNG should the encounter any issue with our products.