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What is the Samsung HT-J7500?This is a multi-purpose system providing almost everything you need for that home cinema experience, in a single box. It will play all your video and audio discs, provide 5.1 channel surround sound and it’s also blessed with a host of Smart TV features. You will, of course, need a TV to complete the experience. At the time of review (May 2015), you could pick up the HT-J7500W for around £600, which is potentially very good value for such a complete package.
What’s in the box?There’s is the main unit providing the processing, amplification and disc playing capabilities within. You also get 6 speaker units – four surround, a centre speaker and a subwoofer – with all the wiring necessary to hook them up. The HT-J7500 also comes with a wireless communications box which hooks up to the rear speakers, thus allowing you to avoid the unpleasant sight of trailing wires across the room. Additionally, there are two power cords, an instruction booklet and a remote control also in the package.
Connections & SetupThe HT-J7500W is about as easy as it gets when it comes to wiring up a full surround sound system. All the speaker plugs and wires are colour coded to correspond with the inputs at the back of the main unit. Once you’re all plumbed in, it’s much like setting up just about any video device, with language, network settings and all that kind of thing. With that done, we would advise taking just a little bit of time to set your speaker distances in the Sound menu. It takes just a minute or two but can make a significant difference in creating a more convincing sound stage.
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.
OperationThere’s a nice looking compact remote included with the system but the directional keys aren’t well highlighted so it could be easier to use. It has the all the volume and playback buttons you would expect along with keys for enter (OK) and one for 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.
Smart TV FeaturesThis is an area where Samsung systems always shine and the HT-J7500 is no different, although there are a few things missing, at present, at this early stage in the product’s lifecycle. There are still lots of internet streaming services on offer, including apps for BBC iPlayer, All 4, Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Instant among them. We are awaiting an update for the inclusion of ITV Player and Demand 5 to complete the set of major UK catch-up services but they will be along soon. You should also get social networking apps via Facebook and Twitter but we could still stream our media files from PC, phone or tablet using DLNA, screen mirroring, WiFi direct and Bluetooth.
Picture QualityIt came as absolutely no surprise that this system delivers excellent video performance. The HT-J7500 is 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 processing in action before . But rest assured if you’ve yet to leap on the Ultra HD train, as scaling is terrific all-round.
As with the BD-J7500 player we recently covered, the HT-J7500 puts no colour tint on disc material but there is the hint of some high frequency detail being marred using static test patterns. We couldn’t notice it when actually playing a disc so it’s not something we’re going to worry about. In terms of motion processing and framerate matching, the HT-J7500 was spotless in both 2D and 3D. The HT-J7500 can even restore the original framerate of some DVDs not encoded at 24p, which is a bonus for movie buffs.
Great pictures with discs that load very quickly
Disc Loading TimesWhile the HT-J7500 isn’t quite as quick to load as the BD-J7500 player, it’s still pretty speedy. Our test Blu-ray discs gave an average load time of 20 seconds before being ready to play, whie DVD discs were normally 4 or 5 seconds faster than that. It’s also worth noting the ‘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.
Samsung HT-H7500W: Sound QualityFor a relatively budget system, we certainly would have few complaints in the multichannel department, with the HT-H7500 delivering a convincing and tonally matched surround sound experience. The centre speaker delivers clean and precise dialogue, whilst the front and rear surrounds produce a lively effects stage that take will you far beyond the likely dreary stereo performance of your TVs speakers. The subwoofer plays its important role with fairly impressive assurance, too, with deep, carpet-troubling low notes augmenting the rest of the channels. It’s not as well defined as some subs we’ve heard but then you can pay degrees of magnitude more for a single subwoofer unit than it costs to purchase this total package.
We wouldn’t go all out in recommending the various sound processing modes built in to the system but it does make a reasonable job of ‘upmixing’ stereo content to a pseudo 5.1 experience. There’s a ‘Sound Effect’ button on the remote which delivers the Virtual Surround effect and it works well with some material – drama series & movies where there’s likely a multichannel mix, in particular – but it can sound unnatural with others. The HT-J7500 isn’t blessed with Dolby Atmos or DTS-X processing but you can give the sound a bit more verticality using the ‘3D’ sound button, although we did find it somewhat ear fatiguing after a few minutes use.
The H7500W claims few HiFi pretensions, although it does support HD audio and contains valve amplifiers, in addition to its Bluetooth streaming capability. The performance with music was passable, if not inspiring, with a fairly warm and mellow tone. The subwoofer shows less capability with music than it does film and TV, however, and there’s a general lack of presence in the mid-tones but if you’re not too demanding a listener, it will do you just fine and there’s nothing to offend here.
- Excellent video playback
- Very easy to setup
- Sounds very good with movies
- Tons of smart features
- Not the most musical
Samsung HT-J7500W Home Theatre System Review
Should I buy the Samsung HT-J7500W?The Samsung HT-J7500 provides a compelling mixture of excellent picture quality, enveloping surround sound and a comprehensive set of well-honed smart features; all at a price that’s incredibly reasonable. You would certainly be hard pushed to assemble a comparable selection of separates for the current (May 2015) price of just under £600, especially when it comes to the online features. It isn’t that thrilling a listen with music but the well matched set of speakers and subwoofer produce a fine listen with your movies and television programmes. It’s a great all-rounder that’s well worthy of an AVForums Recommended Award.
What alternatives could I consider?The market has shifted towards soundbars and sound-bases so these systems are something of a dying breed and the only other we’ve tested, so far in 2015, is Samsung’s own HT-J7750. That system is near identical bar the fact it has tallboy speakers, so you won’t need to provide your own speaker stands and it has two extra height channels, of questionable worth. You can also lay your hands on last year’s LG BH9540, which adds the two height channels and has comparable smart features and picture quality for approximately around £50 more than the HT-J7500.
Ease of Use8
Value for Money8
Our Review Ethos
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