Samsung HT-C9950W review

It's poised and potent, with a very comprehensive specification; but get beyond the gloss and this system's sky high price holds it back Tested at £1800.00

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Our Verdict

Sexy it may be, but this Samsung’s ambitious pricetag is its undoing

For

  • Potent, full sound
  • comprehensive specification
  • desirable styling

Against

  • Sound lacks polish
  • some motion issues with 2D and 3D
  • sky-high price

As a high-end home cinema system, the Samsung HT-C9950W is a brushed-aluminium feast for the senses.

Subwoofer apart, every major component is designed for either wall-mounting or use atop elegant, cable-concealing pedestal stands, with the central disc-playing hub as the system's focal point.

With its motorised volume control, touch-sensitive buttons and slot-loading disc mechanism, it's as superficially desirable as anything Bang and Olufsen could conjure, although predictably, build quality isn't quite to that exalted standard.

Full-blooded specification
Given how complete Samsung's cheaper home cinema systems are, it's no surprise that the HT-C9950W's specification is remarkable.

It can be configured either in classic 7.1 ‘surround-back' or new-fangled ‘front-height' Pro-Logic IIz style, and you also get wireless transmission to the two larger rear speakers.

USB and Ethernet inputs support replay of a comprehensive array of digital media formats, and a wi-fi dongle takes care of installations where wired network access isn't available.

All this, and the Samsung system also handles 3D Blu-ray, HD Audio, streamed media from services such as LoveFilm and audio from your iPod.

So, it looks pretty amazing and it's comprehensively equipped – but how does it perform?

Needs a better grasp of motion
At first listen, it's a powerful performer. Its hefty active subwoofer marks a clearly audible improvement over the passive designs typically found in most comparable systems.

And set up with its front-height speakers in situ (PLIIz-style), there's plenty of dynamic range and scale – but even after extensive tweaking, there's also a less-than-refined edge to treble that's hard to reconcile with the price tag.

Images are crisply drawn and colours are dense, but we've seen players with a better grasp of rapid motion, both in 2D and, especially, 3D.

The HT-C9950W is a competent DVD upscaler, though, and its online video (while variable in quality, as you'd expect) is perfectly acceptable.

Premium price for premium style
So, where does that leave us in terms of star rating? Obviously, price is a major factor here – but not in the way you might expect.

It's true that £1800 can buy you a heck of a home cinema separates system – but it's equally true that if you're interested in something that looks like the Samsung, separates kit is unlikely to appeal to you.

No, what's far more relevant is that Samsung's stylish, very well specified and very-nearly-as-capable HT-C6930W system will cost you at least £1000 less.

The HT-C9950W is better than its sibling, both aesthetically and technically, but it is certainly not that much better.

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Specifications

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General Information

Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Brand NameSamsung
Product TypeHome Theater System
ManufacturerSamsung
Manufacturer Part NumberHT-C9950W/XAA
Product NameSamsung HT-C9950W
Product ModelHT-C9950W

Physical Characteristics

Rear Speaker Depth9 cm
Center Speaker Width22 cm
Center Speaker Depth44.5 cm
Front Speaker Height136.5 cm
Front Speaker Width9.4 cm
Width16.4 cm
Rear Speaker Width9.4 cm
Front Speaker Depth9 cm
Rear Speaker Height136.5 cm
Depth2.9 cm
Weight Approximate28.98 kg - Main Unit
Height49 cm
Center Speaker Height45.2 cm
Dimensions49 cm (H): 16.4 cm (W): 2.9 cm (D)

Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
Number of HDMI Inputs2
Number of HDMI Outputs1
Number of Analog Audio Inputs1
iPod SupportedYes
USBYes

Technical Information

Player-Recorder TypeBlu-ray Disc Player
3D Type3D
Media FormatsBD-R, DVD-RW, CD-RW

Audio

RMS Output Power1400 W
Speaker Configuration7.1
Sound SystemDolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pro Logic II, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS 96/24, DTS HD

Video

Video FormatsBD Video, DVD Video, DivX