12-29-2017 09:10 AM
I would like to voice my support for the need for DTS:X support on the Samsung K950 soundbar, as well as LPCM 5.1 support.
I recently purchased the K950 Soundbar, after what I thought was extensive research, and initially I was thrilled with the performance of the soundbar. With Dolby Atmos input the sound is SPECTACULAR, it has 4k passthrough, it significantly simplifies my home theater setup withhout sacrificing performance (for CERTAIN audio inputs - more on that) and I have the option to expand it for multi-room sound.
However, as I dug into it, I found that the performance of the soundbar is actually woefully limited, especially for such an expensive, high-end device (we paid $1500!)
First, the bar still cannot handle DTS:X sound, which is incredibly unfortunate as there are many, many movies on disc that use this format, not only on Blu-ray but also UHD. So the fact that this bar cannot handle this format means I a unable to get the most out of many of the films in my collection (The Sound of Music, Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Martian, for just a few examples).
The Sony HT-ST5000, a direct competitor to this soundbar, updated their firmware to support the DTS:X format in October 2017. I personally believe that the K950 is superior in make to the Sony, not least of all because it includes dedicated surrounds, but with a large portion of my content now not fully supported by the K950, I am very seriously considering returning my K950 for an alternative option, like the Sony, to ensure I have full support. And clearly Sony recognizes the need for this support on their flagship soundbar, which is a good sign on their part.
Second, I was very disappointed to find that the K950 cannot handle LPCM 5.1 sound, as became clear when using with Nintendo systems (the Switch and the Wii U). I see now that this is clearly indicated in manuals and elsewhere, and so I admit that I made an assumption that this soundbar would support this, as my previous Samsung HTIB system (which this soundbar replaced) did support it, and it is a very standard audio format.
The Nintendo Switch sold 10 million units globally just this year (http://variety.com/2017/digital/games/nintendo-switch-10-million-console-sales-1202636150/) and they are projected to ship 14 million units in 2018. That the K950 is unable to support LCPM 5.1 sound, which Nintendo uses for all of its systems, means it is unable to truly support what is currently and will continue to be one of the most popular gaming systems globally.
I truly believe the K950 is a stunning product, when used with Dolby Atmos or TrueHD content, and outside of that support it has an excellent set of features to set it up to be a fantastic center of a home theater system.
However, having now used it for a few days and experiencing its limitations in supporting common home theater content, as laid out above, I must admit that I can't really recommend it as a quality high-end sound system. The fact that it is wireless and compact is compelling, and the sound is indeed STELLAR with Atmos content, but Atmos content is still very limited and the most common formats are still the above, and of course others that the bar does support. SO until it is able to support the above audio formats, it is not truly a replacement for a dedicated receiver and separate speaker setup.
In the end, the most important quality for a high-end home theater setup is that it can handle the audio and video formats that are commonly found in home content (games, blurays, etc). The K950 has the potential to be INCREDIBLE and truly a game changer in the home theater setup, but until it can handle all common audio formats, it is just too limited to be recommended as a proper home theater system.
The DTS 5.1 update over the summer helped immensely, and truly I am loathe to even consider returning this unit. But unless it is updated to support even one of the formats outlined above, I most likely will have no choice but to return and go with a competitor product.
I hope you are able to make these updates, and keep this otherwise great soundbar truly competitive!