Samsung HT-H7500 (HT-H7500WM) Home Theatre System Review
Having it all
What is the Samsung HT-H7500?What isn’t it? This box of tricks will play all your video and audio discs, provide a 5.1 channel surround sound experience and has a bevvy of Smart TV features built in. Simply put, it’s an all-in-one home entertainment system with cutting edge connectivity and if you fancy diving into the world of home cinema, it pretty much has everything you need to do so, right in the box. You will, of course, need a TV to complete the experience. At the time of review (September 2014), you could pick up the H7500 for around the £550 mark but the manufacturer’s suggested price is around £700.
What’s in the box?As we said above, almost everything you will need is in there. There is the main unit which has the brains, amplification and disc playing electronics within it. You also get 6 speaker units – the front two, a pair of surrounds, a centre speaker and a subwoofer – with all the wiring necessary to hook them up. The HT-H7500 comes with a wireless unit, which you attach the rear surround speakers too, thus avoiding wires trailing from front to back of the room. Additionally, there are power cords, an instruction booklet and a remote control also in the package.
Are home theatre systems easy to set up?Considering all that’s involved, the HT-H7500 is fairly easy to hook up and get running. First and foremost, the speaker plugs and wires are colour coded so it’s easy to see what goes where at the back of the unit. Following that, the process is much like setting up any other Smart disc player, with language and network settings to sort out. Once that’s done, it’s worth setting up your speaker distances in the Sound menu. It only takes a minute but can make a world of difference in creating a more immersive surround experience. One thing that’s perhaps worth noting is that that the speakers don’t come with any stands so you’ll either need to find room on your TV unit or have your own. Samsung also produces the HT-H7750 which does come with ‘tall-boy’ speakers.
How do I connect the Samsung HT-H7500?The system is designed with high definition in mind, so your only choice of hooking this up to your TV is via the HDMI output. Ideally, you’ll be inserting that cable in to an ARC (Audio Return Channel) capable HDMI port on your TV – as it makes control that bit easier and it means one cable to rule all – but don’t worry if your TV doesn’t have one (most recent ones do), as it will all still work.
Colour coded speaker inputs and a wireless receiver make setup very easy
In the instance none of your TV’s HDMI inputs have ARC, you’ll be best served using its digital optical output (toslink) inserted in to the corresponding input on the HT-H7500. As a last resort, there are also stereo RCA inputs on the rear of the unit but you won’t get multichannel audio that way, of course. There are also 2 HDMI inputs for the likes of HD set-top-boxes, PVRs and consoles to plug in to, which is likely enough for most given you have the Blu-ray player built-in. Finally, beneath a flap on the front panel, is a USB port which can be used to playback media files from storage devices.
Is the HT-H7500WM easy to use?There’s a funky looking little remote bundled with the system, which doesn’t fit especially well in the hand and the directional navigation keys (arrows) might have been highlighted more prominently. It has the all the volume and playback buttons one would expect, along with ones for enter (OK) and to access the home screen. As well as the keys on the remote, there are also some touch-sensitive buttons on the facia that offer simple controls, including the eject button.
There’s no doubt operations are easier if you’re hooked up by an HDMI ARC connection but it’s still fairly simple even if you’re not – it’s just a matter of selecting the appropriate input using the source selection button on the remote. When you want to watch a Blu-ray or DVD, it’s as simple as loading up the disc and it will auto-play and accessing the Smart TV features is simply a case of pressing the Home button. So, in short, we think the H7500 is about as easy to use, as is possible, with its multi-functional nature taken in to consideration.
Samsung HT-H7500: Smart TV FeaturesIf your disc collection isn’t enough, or you just fancy the convenience of streaming internet video, Samsung has you covered with the number of those services available through the H7500. In fact, at the time of writing, there were 80 of them to choose from. They aren’t all big names, of course, but most of those are present with support for BBC iPlayer, 40D, ITV Player, Demand 5, Netflix, YouTube, Wuaki and Amazon Instant among them. We’d like to see Sky’s NOW TV and Store added to that list but you don’t get as comprehensive a selection with any other manufacturer.
But it’s not all about streaming services on the HT-H7500 and although the Smart TV suite isn’t quite as fully featured as those found in Samsung TVs, it’s still pretty incredible. You get social networking apps via Facebook and Twitter integration; you can stream all manner of media files from PC, phone or tablet using DLNA, screen mirroring, WiFi direct or Bluetooth. Heck, this thing even has a NFC tag on the top for ultra-convenient pairing. That’s not to mention the in-built recommendation engine, which tracks your viewing habits and presents suggestions for further viewing. There’s an awful lot here and it all works very well!
As expected from Samsung, video output is first class
Samsung HT H7500: Picture QualitySince the video electronics inside this player are the same as those found in Samsung’s higher end dedicated Blu-ray players, it’s absolutely no surprise that this system delivers excellent video performance. It’s capable of scaling standard definition signals all the way up to 4K Ultra HD resolutions, and it does so very well. We didn’t actually have any 4K TVs in during the process, this time, but we’ve seen the processor in action previously, and it’s mighty good. Most reading this are likely ‘only’ to have a Full HD 1080p TV and you’ll be pleased to know, the scaling up to this resolution is even better.
As with any Blu-ray player worth its salt, the H7500 performs no untoward processing on the video signal that could affect 1080p content, so it’s perfect in terms of colour and material shot at 24 frames per second (most films) is outputted in exemplary fashion. The HT-H7500 can even restore the original framerate of some DVDs not encoded at 24p, which is a bonus for movie buffs. The 3D performance of this player is also first rate, with the same preservation of the origingal source we saw with the 2D output. So, in answer to the question above, yes, the HT-H7500 produces knockout pictures, whatever you throw at it!
Do discs load quickly?Why, yes they do. Just like the recent standalone players we’ve reviewed from Samsung, the HT-H7500 is ready for action in almost no time. Your average Blu-ray disc will be at the menu screen in around 20 seconds, whilst a DVD was typically a few seconds quicker than that. There’s also a ‘Quick Start’ option in the Setup menus which doesn’t do anything for discs loading times but it does improve the boot up time, albeit at the expense of slightly increased power consumption in standby. We also noted that Quick Start stopped the ARC function working properly with the Panasonic AS740 in for testing at the same time, so that's something to consider if you experience similar difficulties. In our experience, it affected the auto powering up of the HT-H7500 but it's very likely that this might not happen with other equipment.
Samsung HT-H7500WM: Sound QualityOne of the obvious advantages in buying a package like this is the fact that all of the hard work has been done for you. Provided Samsung have done their job, there are no worries over speakers not tonally matching and setting crossover level for the sub, and we can say the HT-H7500 presents a surprisingly refined and detailed sonic performance. It’s often the case that these kind of products are a little bit bombastic and over the top, but the surround experience was extremely easy to listen to with excellent effects placement and ambient noise that sounded very natural. The subwoofer underpins all this with great authority, providing real depth and detail, without ever becoming overbearing.
The system also makes a decent job of ‘upmixing’ stereo content to a simulated 5.1 experience. There is a ‘Sound Effect’ button on the remote which uncovers a number of modes and whilst they’re not altogether necessary, the Virtual Surround mode is actually pretty impressive with 2.0 TV sources. We will say that when using it that we did hear the odd momentary, unexplained ‘whining noise’ come from the speakers, however, so there’s a bug in there somewhere. You can also add a little extra verticality using the ‘3D’ sound button, which attempts to lend more impact to height effects but we didn’t find that as effective.
The vacuum tube amp produces a warm, natural sound
How is it with music?
Probably better than you would expect. Samsung makes a great play on its vacuum tube amp technology and, whatever its efficacy, we will say that the H7500WM produces a fairly warm and mellow sound. That’s not to say it can’t cope with shriller, electronic sounds – as it can – but without any of the DSP modes engaged, it’s more naturally at home with acoustic tracks. There’s even an upscaler for ‘MP3 level sound’ (24KHz/8 bit) to nearer CD quality (44.1KHz/16 Bit) and we have to say that streaming our mobile music over Bluetooth sounded very good indeed. We would avoid all multi-channel sound modes here, by the way, stereo music sounds much better in stereo with this particular package.
- Convincing surround experience
- Excellent video output
- Unbelievable smart TV features
- Well Priced
- Remote is a bit naff
- Some processing issues with 'Virtual Surround'
Samsung HT-H7500 (HT-H7500WM) Home Theatre System ReviewIs the Samsung HT-H7500WM good value?
Yes, we think it’s excellent value actually. At the time of publishing (September 2014), the package is widely available for under £550. When you weigh up the cost of a separate AV Receiver, a modest 5.1 speaker package, plus a top-notch Smart Blu-ray player, this isn’t a huge sum of money by any stretch. You’re looking at a bare minimum of around £400 for the speakers and AVR with the player on top. There are advantages in going the separates route, not least the fact it makes speaker upgrades a possibility, but if you’re looking for simplicity and a package you know will look and sound great, this is definitely one to check out.
What alternatives should I consider?
It’s indicative of the decline in popularity of multichannel systems that this is the only available all-in-one system we’ve reviewed in 2014. Lamentably, the market has shifted towards soundbars and sound-bases and we’ve tested dozens of those. You might also want to take a look at our up-to-date list of other sound solutions for your TV.
Ease of Use8
Value for Money8
Our Review Ethos
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