Samsung home cinema: should you buy one?
By Martin Pratt
Samsung is synonymous with home entertainment tech, but are its home cinema systems worth buying? Read on to find out.
Everything you need to know about Samsung home cinema systems
Samsung has a wide range of home cinema systems to match its vast selection of TVs. All but one of Samsung’s home cinema systems have 5.1 surround sound, which means you’ll get five speakers (left, right and centre at the front, and two at the rear), plus a subwoofer for bass and low-end sound effects.
Samsung often includes tall boy speakers with its systems, especially for the front left and right speakers. These tower-style units incorporate several speakers and are free-standing, meaning you’ll need the space to position them correctly. Samsung’s cheaper home cinema systems, such as the HT-J4500 tend to have smaller speakers, which can either be wall-mounted or sit on a shelf.
Although these systems are made by Samsung, they work just as well with TVs made by other manufacturers, including LG, Panasonic and Sony. There are no proprietary connections on Samsung surround sound – they all connect with either HDMI leads, something most systems come with, or optical cables. HDMI connections are ubiquitous on modern TVs while optical connections are common, but you won’t find them on every TV.
Do I need a Blu-ray player, too?
Home cinema systems aren’t much use if you can’t watch films on them. All Samsung systems come with a Blu-ray player. On certain models, the player will support 3D Blu-rays and the high-end systems will upscale the image quality to 4K. You’ll need a compatible TV to enjoy 3D movies and 4K resolution, though, so it’s worth noting that upscaled 4K won’t look as good as native 4K that you’d get from watching a 4K Blu-ray.
The player also acts as a central hub and all your speaker wires connect to it. Most have additional connections, such as extra HDMI and optical inputs ports, which will let you connect extra devices to benefit from surround sound. Games consoles, PVRs and internet TV boxes can all be connected via HDMI or optical.
Are Samsung home cinema systems smart?
All Samsung systems can be connected to the internet, giving you access to streaming apps such as Amazon Video, BBC iPlayer and Netflix. Wi-fi isn’t always built-in, so you may need to buy an extra dongle or connect the Blu-ray player to your router with a cable if you want to use those apps.
Since the streamed content is being accessed through your home cinema, it will benefit from surround sound as long as that’s how that content is broadcast. Some TV shows and older films were not designed for 5.1 surround sound, so these will be transmitted in 2.1 instead. This means only the left and right speakers, and the subwoofer will be used.