Samsung's HT-F9750 HTIB embraces future and past with tubes, 4K upconversion

Samsung debuted its new flagship home theater system at CES 2013, complete with glowing vacuum tubes, 4K upconversion, and a built-in Blu-ray player.

Matthew Moskovciak
Matthew Moskovciak Senior Associate Editor / Reviews - Home theater

Covering home audio and video, Matthew Moskovciak helps CNET readers find the best sights and sounds for their home theaters. E-mail Matthew or follow him on Twitter @cnetmoskovciak.

Samsung HT-F9750
Samsung HT-F9750 Samsung

Vacuum tubes are an anachronism in any modern home audio device, and even more so if that same device supports the cutting-edge 4K resolution standard.

Samsung's HT-F9750 doesn't shirk from the unusual juxtaposition, with the 7.1 channel home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) system featuring both glowing tube preamps and 4K upconversion. Although both features look and sound cool, they're more gimmick than anything else. The tube preamp (which is paired with a digital amplifier) promises a more "natural" sound, although I didn't hear anything particularly special when I listened to the tubeified DA-E750 last year. And even in the unlikely event that you have a 4K TV (against our advice), it will have built-in 4K upconversion, so you don't need it in your Blu-ray player, too.

The HT-F9750 does have a nice set of more-practical features, including built-in Wi-Fi, two HDMI inputs, built-in 3D Blu-ray player, and Bluetooth. It's DLNA-compliant (using Samsung's proprietary "AllShare" moniker), and it also supports Samsung's new content recommendation engine, S-Recommendation. As with any home audio product, a lot depends on how it sounds. Over the last couple years, I've generally found that HTIB systems aren't a great overall value compared with sound bars and cheap AV receiver/speaker combinations.

The HT-F9750 is scheduled to be released in the first half of 2013. Pricing has not been announced.

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