Rant

Never Again, Samsung

In about 2002 a friend in a much wealthier income stream gave me a barely used Samsung T100 mobile phone, because he had upgraded to something new. I loved it. The design, the performance, the software.

In 2009 I decided to finally upgrade from CRT to flat screen television. And, strongly in part due to the mobile experience (continued on with other Samsung mobiles), I decided only a Samsung would do. I ended up with a Series IV 32" LCD, and loved it. Beautiful design, nice picture, plenty of inputs and outputs, reasonably straightforward software.

So in 2010, when I had need of upgrading my DVD player, I naturally decided to go Samsung again. Why wouldn't I.

I had seen the "550" design the year before, with its sexy touch buttons, and after finding the HTC-655W home theatre, featuring the 550 DVD player plus surround tall boy speakers and wireless rears, I decided that was the one!

Not quite one year later, and I've spent most of the past year suffering major buyers remorse.

Aside from major problems with the retailer damaging the unit when it was sent in for repair, resulting ultimately in a replacement unit, it's just not lived up to any of my expectations.

The auto audio calibration has never worked. It takes forever to open and close the DVD tray, and even longer to start playing through optical audio in. It has had bizarre speaker problems with speakers coming and going and switching places. And it can't play DivX/Avi from DVD, despite this being an advertised feature - and despite being able to play the same files via the USB port.

Whenever I'm in a hifi store and see people near the current version of this product, I just want to tell them to run a mile. I wish someone had done the same for me.

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Comments
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The DivX/Avi issue is one you see across all makes.

Here's why. DivX has some 6 plus versions and then who knows what people did to the encoding at times.

AVI is even worse off. An AVI is a "container" and has been seen with hundreds of encoding methods. If any one writes "plays AVI" you immediately know to look for the fine print.
Bob

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May be

But my $49 home brand DVD player could play pretty much every Divx/Avi DVD I have... Sure, if the scene involved a lot of movement (ie rain, fireworks) it would slow down, but it did a 99.9% better job than this Samsung, which would at best play about 3-5 seconds, then go to a blank screen, possibly forever. And that's not just for fireworks - that's any scene.

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Do we need to go deeper? OK.

While consumers will not care why all this is such a mess, not all content encoding can be implemented for FREE. That is, if you put in a DivX decoder, there is a license fee. If you put in many others, there will be some patent or license fee involved.

And this is just the beginning of this discussion. To avoid all the possible litigation many companies will implement a very short list of encodings.

Again, the consumer does not want to know this.
Bob

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Even so

Neither the manual for my 2006 $69 AWA DVD player nor 2010 $499 Samsung HT-C655W list which Divx/AVI formats that they support, so I can't compare in that fashion.

All I can say is, in 4 years ownership, the AWA very very rarely failed to play a Divx/AVI disc or USB stick - though yes - during scenes of intense action/rendering (ie heavy rain, fireworks etc) the video and audio would stutter to some degree.

In 1 year of ownership, it has been very very rare for any Divx/AVI DVDs to play at all, though via USB has generally been ok. The problem with this of course is that I have a lot of things on DVD, because the cheap AWA was so good at playing them.

I appreciate proprietary costs, but this fault seems more to do with the way the Samsung reads from the DVD. Also, given the price difference, one would expect MORE format compliance from the Samsung over a made-cheap-in-China AWA from BigW... (discount store here in Australia)

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You nailed it.

I find the unit you noted rarely bothers or worries about any patent issues.
Bob

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