Multimedia

Samsung LED TV with Medi@ 2.0 is not ready for me

Today I spent several hours testing the almost amazing Samsung LED TV on a local store. More specifically the UN40B7000 model.

The image quality is great and all but I was more interested in the digital multimedia features included in these new models, branded Medi@ 2.0 (or Media 2.0). You actually plug these TVs on your home network and can access media content on a home DLNA/UPnP server or the Internet.

Well, I tested almost all features and I can say it is a good product but its not ready for me to buy, and let me point why:

  1. MKV (Matroska) video files with DTS audio tracks won’t play audio. I got a message on the screen saying the audio codec is not recognized. Well, DTS is pretty popular.
  2. Chapter information embedded on MKV video files will be ignored. Also, if you want fast forward a movie, 2x is the fastest you can get.
  3. There is no way to choose which audio track embedded on a MKV or MP4 file will be played, in case you have video files with multiple audio tracks.
  4. Subtitles embedded in MKV and MP4 movie files are ignored. Apparently only external subtitles files are supported but I didn’t tested it because I embed all my videos with their subtitles. Anyway, external subtitle files may lead to other problems such as charset selection and I couldn’t find any menu option for such things.
  5. To search the handy embedded YouTube application you have to use the numeric keypad on the remote control as you type SMS in those old fashioned cell phones.
  6. I can live with all the above but there is one unacceptable super irritating limitation: you can’t browse other files or slideshow photos while music is being played. So you browse your MP3s, select an album to play and you are stuck there. If you try to go back to the menus, the music will stop playing. This is soooo 1980.
  7. It is very difficult to find complete specifications for this TV. For example, the list of supported codecs etc. Samsung website has a nice design but is very non practical and doesn’t provide enough information.
  8. A friend that owns this TV claimed the (very expensive) Samsung USB WiFi accessory for this TV can’t connect to his WPA secured wireless network, only week WEP encrypted networks.

It has some good points too, but again, the limitations above currently stop me from buying this LED TV:

  1. Slim, nice, beautiful menus, integrated remote control.
  2. Plays general simple MKV full HD movie files with high profile H.264 compression.
  3. As a DLNA/UPnP client, this TV works very nicely and immediately recognized and played streamed content from a Windows Media Player shared library (its a UPnP server underneath) I configured in 5 minutes on my laptop. Although I found it a a bit slow to browse the library, even connected with an ethernet cable.

I was ready to buy this piece of digital integration but left the store a bit disappointed. But I’ll keep watching their product line and hope Samsung will improve their Linux-based firmware.

7 comments to Samsung LED TV with Medi@ 2.0 is not ready for me

  • Graham

    I wish I read this before i bought UN32C5000 but info in english is rare on this subject and i’m still learning Portuguese. I would have done more testing. i just stuck in a pen drive and found that it played avi, mp4 & mkv but not m4v. I thought 3 out of 4 is good enough for me, but i forgot about subtitles at the time. I’m still learning but I think m4v is the only one that allows soft subtitles to be optional – doh! Subtitles are very important in a multi-lingual house hold! Anyway, the user manual says it supports a number of subtitle file formats, however no further information is given on how to actually ensure subtitle files load.

    I think like probably all tv manufacturers, they put out too many models with too many features and not enough support. I wish apples were not such a rip off here in Brasil. I would be happy with a 30″ imac using elgato for tv but at over R$7,000.00.. forget it! Good luck in your search but i really think you might be better of with just hooking up the best monitor you can find to a pc. I think they call it a media center. Check out the mac mini, it’s got hdmi now. That might be blasphemy to an ibm employee though!

    I guess your like me. You want one device with one remote that does everything. I think people like us will never be satisfied. For instance, you’ll find the tv of your dreams, get home and mount it on the wall and find that the sound is pitiful and you really need a sub. The samsung site says that my model has a sub [even i know what 'sim' means] but it doesn’t. I could complain but do you rekon they will do anything? Thanks for the opportunity to have a whinge!

  • soham

    hi ,
    i hav samsung series 5 led tv. It played all video formats but recently i encountered a problem with h 264 file types. Im confused because even those which played perfectly well earlier do not play now. pls help me out.

  • Alex

    I own a 47″ LG LED TV and it has the limitations that were described in the posting. It also has the superb quality picture. But to get around the audio codec problems I have tried to re-encode videos with h.264 video and mp3 audio in an MP4 container using Media Coder. But surprise… I get “Unknown Audio” as error message :-( I have tried all kinds of combinations but as of today could not find anything that would work. If someone knows what video/audio codecs will actually work with these TVs please let me know. Thanks.

  • I”ve done the research and all i can say is that Samsung does rule!! 1st its super thin not too sure how many mm, 2nd the picture quality is amazing beyond words, even when i saw them at best buy they looked great but once i plugged in the blue ray OMG!! All im saying is do your research and you’ll see why Samsung is the leader in this technology! :))

    But yes you are right on that department, but cmon its a t.v just use your desktop! :)

  • [...] grande massa de usuários, de hackers, e mantenedores comprometidos, constantes e interessados. As TVs com Medi@ 2.0 da Samsung são uma ótima idéia e tem um computador lá dentro (que roda Linux !!) mas é algo fechado e [...]

  • The wifi adapter does work with WPA, I have one (and I had a Samsung TV: not anymore). You may find that it won’t work if the passphrase has spaces in it, though.

    My final opinion is like the Unix philosophy: do one thing and do it right. The TV has to have a good picture. Leave the rest for devices that know better (like a PS3, for example). But if you really want a TV that has some aspects of a media centre, then I would suggest to go with the LG SL80YD or SL90 (the LED one). Me, I’m staying with my Sony ;)

    Samsung has nice features. When it works.

  • Helio Chissini de Castro

    Hi Avi

    Well, run away as hell from Samsung, always read htforum ( in portuguese ) to see how bad is the status of wuality of “high end” tvś in Brazil ( i.e. friend of mine need to come to Procon )
    If you want a tv that do everything up in your list, except for 6, go for new LG line ( 80yd or 90 LED )
    I have one 80YD 32″ 240hz and plug my external NTFS drive ws a question of put the usb in and play. all files are basically supported except play 5.1 sound direct on tv, fo this you need sound going out to a receiver. The rest, even my mkv was playing fine and beatifull.
    Upscale are excelente for SD files and attach a computer with hdmi and PS3 wows :-)
    So go and try the new LG’s, you will go out of the shop with one.

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