Design and Installation
So what do you get? You get six speakers – four surrounds, a centre and a subwoofer plus bases and stands for the surrounds plus the main amplification unit with the disc drive combined and a further unit that provides amplification for the rears as well as wireless communications with the main unit. You do, of course, also get all the necessary screws and wires essential for setup. It can all look quite daunting, initially, but once you’ve taken the time to identify all the pieces, it’s not a tough jigsaw to build, thanks largely to the fact each component is clearly labelled and the speakers connect to the amplification by means of colour coded plugs.
Once set up, the HT-F9750 all looks quite flashy but there’s no hiding the fact the construction feels rather lightweight, thanks to the fact it’s chiefly made of plastic but once the bases are attached, it all feels solid enough and not likely to keel over. Of a much more solid feel, is the supplied remote control which has a pleasant brushed metal facia and touch-sensitive buttons that can be back-lit for late night operation.
Given the F9750 is an all-in-one solution, it’s nice to have a couple of HDMI inputs so you could connect games consoles as well as your set-top-box, for example, and it’s also Audio Return Channel (ARC) compliant too, allowing you to use the TV as a conduit to the amplification and opening the F9750 up to even more. One can also hook up a device that uses S/PDIF for 5.1 audio and there’s a plain old stereo inputs too so the bases are fairly well covered. On top of that, the HT-F9750 is also Bluetooth compliant, allowing it to stream music from your tablet, smartphone or PC.
We’ll look at the more feature-related stuff below and just take you on a whistle stop tour of the Settings Menu here. Under Settings are 6 further submenus, Display, Audio, Network, Smart Features, System and Support. The Display Menu has the new 4K Output option with choices of Auto or Off – it’s not going to send a 4K signal to your 1080p TV even if on Auto but switch it off if it really worries you. For readers with 4K displays – both of you – please experiment to see what works best with yours, for Blu-ray, and report back in the feedback thread. Thank you.
More conventionally, there’s some settings for all traditional high definition TVs and in the Display settings sub-menu where there are options for 3D, TV Aspect, BD Wise, Resolution, Movie Frame (24fps) and a very interesting DVD 24fps Conversion Option so the F9750 looks like its capable of inverse telecine, which reconstructs the DVD frame rate back in to its original 24 frames per second format. This will only work with NTSC DVD’s, not the PAL versions made for the UK but it’s a promising addition for movie buffs. There’s additional settings for the Smart Hub Screen Size, HDMI Colour Format, HDMI Deep Colour and Progressive Mode. We will look at what effect some of those have later in the review but, as a guideline, we’d advise switching off Deep Colour – unless playing back AVC HD material from a video camera; leaving Movie Frame (24FS) at Auto for smooth Blu-ray playback and the same for Progressive mode to ensure non 24p film cadence detection is operative for DVD’s.
The Audio menus naturally contain quite a number of options, first and foremost of which is the ability to set speaker distances and levels for each of the components. Arguably, you won’t need to do this if you make use of the included microphone and Auto Sound Calibration feature but you might find a little manual tweaking will improve matters. Further tweakability comes in the form of the Graphic Equaliser, just beneath the Auto Calibration option. For those disturbed by the volume inequalities between various channels and content, you can also elect to engage the Smart Volume system and from here one can also activate ARC, let the receiver know what speakers you want active and engage the Dynamic Range Control for Dolby content. We prefer to leave it off and adjust volume accordingly but it is effective in making late night viewing more socially acceptable. Further options allow for downmixing of multi-channel to stereo and the ability to set Audio Sync to match the pictures with the sound in the time domain.
Not that Samsung is currently bereft of VoD providers for the Smart Hub; on the F9750 the slimmed down version of what we see on the Samsung TVs is known as Apps but it amounts to much the same thing. Pre-loaded on the Apps screen we have the likes of BBC iPlayer (of course), Netflix, LOVEFiLM and blinkbox. Samsung now provides all the free-to-air based catch-up services meaning 4OD, ITV Player and 5 on Demand have joined the iPlayer which makes them unique amongst Smart TV platform providers. As well as the pre-installed apps, there are also plenty to choose from through the Samsung Apps store – accessed from top left of the Apps Page.
The Photos, Video & Music portal is basically the media player which obviously plays very nicely with Samsung’s own AllShare PC software but will happily talk to other media servers. The Media Player seems very robust and handles all the usual suspects, including MKVs but we did get a bit too much buffering when streaming HD video over a wireless connection. Other notable features include a Web Browser which is very slow but OK for very light use and the ability to mirror the TV screen and instantly share photos and video between the F9750 and a Samsung Galaxy S3 (and of course soon S4) but since we’re not the owners of one, we didn’t get to try it out. The Samsung F9750 is a very smart little box indeed.
As with the 3D performance, the digital nature of the content means that any Blu-ray player capable of outputting 1080p24 should be, more or less, identical to any other when using the HDMI output. Provided one doesn’t mess with the Picture Mode options accessed from the Tools button on the remote, the F9750 will faithfully reproduce all your Blu-ray discs in pristine fashion, with no unwanted effects on the colour or luminance channels nor any sneaky noise/film grain reduction – something Samsung products have been known to do in the past.
The F9750 uses a dual core processor and it proved exceptionally competent with deinterlacing a 1080i signal, even with very fine details under movement. Clearly the quality of your display will have an effect and in our testing interlaced pictures looked far better in the plasma than they did on the LED but at least we know the player is keeping its end of the bargain here. As with 1080i content the, Samsung's excellent video processing was also brought to bear when dealing with standard definition DVD content. It was able to fully reproduce the SMPTE 133 resolution test for, correctly scaling the full 576i/50Hz signal without any loss of detail or unwanted ringing and in the cadence tests the HT-F9750 also performed flawlessly, correctly detecting the most common types 2:3 (NTSC - USA/Japan) and 2:2 (PAL - European). The inverse telecine feature also works well and for those with large collections of NTSC discs, it really does help restore the look of film – if you haven’t double dipped with the Blu-ray version, it’s well worth a look.
We were obviously keen to see what added height and width the extra drivers in the front surrounds provided by engaging Samsung’s proprietary DSP and we have to say we were extremely impressed with what it can do with 2 or 5.1 channel sources. The DTS HD MA soundtrack for Wreck it Ralph has some excellent room-filling moments – especially when the cy-bugs are involved - and the F9750 provided pans that were smooth, with very good imaging and fairly precise placement of effects. Our current TV series addiction is The Tudors which isn’t necessary the most demanding fare but some of the scenes in the Tower of London were made genuinely more engaging – and also disturbing – by adding in some of the 3D Sound magic. It’s usually the case that we tend to use Bypass modes with these packages but Samsung has genuinely added something worthwhile with their efforts in their R&D labs here.
It’s quite often the case that systems more designed for movie soundtracks don’t lend themselves quite so well to music but the F9750 was actually quite a tuneful performer, albeit with that slightly clean edge we mentioned earlier. Whilst the sub might not pack the meatiest punch it is very crisp and attentive and coped well with the complex bass in John Grant’s Pale Green Ghosts titular track 1 and the meandering synths were well suited to the system’s characteristics. Same album, different vibe - GMF - has a much warmer sound and we could just sense that the vocal track was being overwhelmed by the rest, if only slightly. The 3D modes are interesting with music rather than hugely successful; we could make a case for it engaged at the ‘Low’ setting with some music but, unlike with TVs and Movies, we preferred a 2.1 output.
- Superb video performance with 2D, 3D and DVD
- Very easy to set up
- DSP is genuinely very good
- Precise surround sound placement
- Feature-set is excellent
- Bluetooth streaming
- Impressive connectivity
- Sub is a bit lacking
- Vocals sometimes get swamped with music
Samsung HT-F9750 3D Blu-ray/DVD 7.1 Home Entertainment System Review
With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in, the streaming possibilities are near endless and the former makes accessing the (slightly trimmed) down Smart Hub just that bit easier. Samsung’s new tiled Home Screen is excellent and, in fact, the whole feature set will take some beating in this sector. There’s more VoD services than you could ever possibly need, some of which tie-in with Samsung’s new S Recommendation feature which suggests further viewing based on your tastes. There’s also an excellent media player, Wi-Fi direct, mirroring (if you own a Galaxy S3/4) and a Web Browser, which is not too bad, at all, thanks to the dual core processing.
The video side of things is very well taken care of with both 2D and 3D Blu-rays displayed excellently with no signs of background noise reduction or unwanted manipulation of the signal. For the lucky few out there with Ultra HD displays, the F9750 will even scale your Blu-ray’s to match the higher resolution but we think that’s more of a headline grabber than a truly useful feature. Audio wise there’s very little to fall out with either; the F9750 is incredibly crisp and detailed, especially with movie soundtracks, although there’s just a touch of missing presence emanating for the sub. Samsung’s DSP is probably the best we’ve heard from a non-specialist audio manufacturer and really added something to the sense of height, in particular, with the extra speaker driver in the front surrounds.
The F9750 is also quite musical with the snappy bass and clean delivery suiting electronics-heavy tracks, in particular. Our major criticism, musically speaking, would be that vocals can sometimes find themselves lost amongst the rest of the mix but it’s possible to largely tweak that out in the Settings menus.
As an all-in-one system, the Samsung HT-F9750 is undoubtedly very successful. It looks attractive, handles video superbly, packs in plenty of connectivity options and sounds very good. Perhaps the stumbling block, for some, will be the £1,500 price-tag when Samsung’s main competitors pitch their similar systems far lower but that doesn’t stop the F9750 from receiving an AVForums Recommended Award.
Ease of Use
Value for Money
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