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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Slim, nice, beautiful menus, integrated remote control.
- Plays general simple MKV full HD movie files with high profile H.264 compression.
- 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.