(41 of 44 customers found this review helpful)
Easy To Set Up
Interfaces Well With TV
Wi fi streaming
Surround Sound Solution
I've purchased the Samsung HT-C6900W system for over a year now after reading rave reviews here and other sites. The C6900W is an excellent system. The HT-C6500 received same review and Consumer Reports score as best HTIB's of 2010 as both units were nearly identical except the 6900W included the wireless rear amp and is 3D capable. Cnet did not review the C6900W but awarded the C6500 as the best HTIB of 2010. Sound and picture quality, online features and other performance measures are identical. I decided to purchase the C6500 as a xmas gift to a family member (who's very impressed with my unit) but found this D5500 instead. I can't find much difference in the two other than the D5500 is the 2011 model and is 3D capable (and cheaper for some reason). After helping set up and observed it operating, I found that the sound and picture is identical. As Consumer Reports note here, there is a distinct dropoff of sound quality on other HTIB's compared to the Samsungs. Don't know why other manufacturers like Sony and LG can't keep up. This was also the case back in 2010. Truthfully, I like LG and Sony's online content just a bit more because they have streaming content like Amazon instant and Qorocity but those features don't come close to making up the sound quality shortfall.<br /><br />Here's what I found during my HTIB search last year. Seems it also applies this year:<br /><br />I researched many of these HTIBs and while most have a good bass like the 6900W, the clarity and crispness of the midrange and treble sets this unit apart from the others. Higher sounds and speech aren't muffled yet the sub delivers a good thump for a full bodied surround sound. Speakers are small so can be placed just about anywhere and can crank up to very high volume. Won't rattle your windows but loud enough for the average enthusiast. You get the full 5.1 surround effect from 5.1 sources such as blu-rays, most DVD's and some broadcasts. The sound quality is comparable to a mid-range A/V receiver and decent speaker set.<br /><br />The video quality of Bluray and upcoverted DVD's are right there with the PS3 which is still regarded as one of the best Bluray players on the market. Blu-ray load times could be better but I have seen much worse. DVD load times are very short. Blu-ray and DVD fast forward and rewind is much smoother on the PS3 though that's not intolerable.<br /><br />Back in late 2010, I was hesitant to purchase the unit after reading many negative user reviews mostly relating to reliability or defect. Few reports of sound problems through the HDMI inputs, problems claiming rear wireless signal loss (I don't know if a wireless rear amp is available for D5500), internet streaming issues, video pass through issues, etc. Came across a unit for an unbeatable price so I took a risk and purchased. No issues. Both DirecTV and PS3 connected through this unit's HDMI inputs and the sound and video pass through to the TV from both perform superbly. Netflix and other internet streaming works without a hiccup. For the 15 months of daily operation, not once did the wireless rear drop. Bottom line: All functions of this unit works well. If you experience any video, sound, input or wireless connection issues, you may have a lemon or you may not have hooked it up correctly (though it seems a lot of lemons are out there).<br /><br />The cons: <br />There isn't a separate volume control front/rear/sub. Sometimes you just want to crank up the sub for that over-the-top bass while leaving the overall volume alone. You really can't do that with this unit but you can change the mode to power bass that cranks the bass up to a certain level. These preset sound modes work well to meet your mood or taste but having those independent controls to manually set each sound source would be nice. <br /><br />Volume changes drastically depending on source. Broadcast volume through DirecTV has to be set near 30 while Blu-ray, DVD, internet streaming and PS3 sources is set to no more than 20. I don't know if this is a function of the DVR box or this HTIB. You can mitigate some of the broadcast volume shortfall by setting the HTIB to Smart Sound but it does take away from the surround effect.<br /><br />Internet streaming apps slower to respond than PS3. While a Netflix HD movie streams without a hiccup on play, the initial load time and buffering times after skipping to a certain scene take longer than that of a PS3 even though the 6900W (and the D5500) is equipped with wireless N while the PS3's are G. I'd say my PS3 buffers in 4-5 sec, this unit takes about 6-8. DLNA streaming of pictures and videos from a networked computer works well though it does suffer occasional freezing on long videos but sometimes that's the computer's faught. No problems reading picture and video files on a USB drive.<br /><br />Gloss black finish of the console and speakers leave fingerprints all over. <br /><br />Typing in text and numbers for searches such as Youtube can be clumsy and take a bit of getting use to. It's similar to typing text messages on those old cell phones prior to smart phones with qwerty keys. <br /><br />Menu access: If you are not in the Disk Play/Apps input mode, you have to cycle through the inputs back to this mode to access the setup menu. There should be a button on the remote to take you directly to the setup menu no matter what input source you are watching but there isn't. <br /><br />This unit only has 2 HDMI inputs while the competition has 3. <br /><br />In summary, this is a fantastic unit for the price. Sound and video performance along with the extensive features made the Samsung HT-C6900W tops on my list and it is no different for the D5500. They since taken off their ratings on the 6900W but both CNET and Consumer Reports rated this unit as excellent last year. It will not beat a professionally built 7.1 AV receiver/speaker system or the latest Bose 5.1 package systems but it's 1/5 of the cost and you also get the wifi bluray package. The cons, while each are minor, add up to take away one star.
How long have you owned it:
A month or less
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.