Samsung HT-E6730W Blu-Ray Home Theater System

Combining the Old With the New and Blu

Samsung HT-E6730W Blu-ray Home Theater System
Samsung HT-E6730W Blu-ray Home Theater System. Photo from Amazon

NOTE: The Samsung HT-E6730W home theater system that is discussed in the following review, after a successful production and sales run in 2012/2013, has been discontinued and is no longer available for purchase, except as used product via the secondary market.

However, my review and supplementary photo gallery are still maintained on this site for historical reference for those they may own the system, or are considering buying a used unit.

For more current alternatives, refer to our periodically updated list of Home Theater-in-a-Box Systems.

Samsung HT-E6730W Overview

The Samsung HT-E6730W home theater-in-a-box system combines 2D and 3D Blu-ray Disc playback with a vacuum tube-equipped 7.1 channel audio system that includes a wireless receiver module for the surround speakers. However, the story doesn't stop there.

This system also features internet and network streaming, which includes access to both online media content or content stored on your PC or additional network connected devices, as well as two HDMI inputs and a USB port for additional device connection. For more details, continue with this review. Also, after reading this review, also check out my supplemental Product Photos, as well as a sampling of Video Performance Tests.

Blu-ray Disc Player Section: The Blu-ray Disc player section of the HT-E6730W features both 2D and 3D Blu-ray playback capability via HDMI 1.4 audio/video output.

Built-in 2D-to-3D conversion also provided.

Compatible Formats: The HT-E6730W can play the following discs and formats: Blu-ray Disc/BD-ROM/BD-R/BD-RE/DVD-Video/DVD-R/-RW/DVD+R/+RW/CD/CD-R/CD-RW, MKV, AVCHD, MP4, and more (consult user manual).

Video Processing: The HT-E6730W also provides DVD video upscaling to 720p, 1080i, 1080p output via HDMI connection (adaptable to DVI- HDCP).

Networking and Internet capabilities:

Samsung HT-E6730W employs a menu that provides direct access to online audio and video content sources, including Netflix, VUDU, Hulu Plus, Pandora, plus additional content accessible via Samsung Apps.

Also featured is Samsung All-Share (DLNA), which allows connection to a home network with the ability to access digital media files from other DLNA network connected devices, such as PCs and media servers.

CD Ripping: An added bonus provided in the Blu-ray Disc player section, is the ability to rip audio from CDs to a connected USB Flash Drive.

Product Overview - Receiver/Amplifier Section

Amplifier Description: Vacuum Tube Hybrid amplifier employing two 12AU7 Dual Triode vacuum tubes in the preamp stage provided for the left and right front channels, combined with Samsung's digital Crystal Amplifier Plus technology provided on both the main and wireless surround amplifiers to provide a warmer, low distortion power output to the speakers.

Amplifier Output: Main unit 165-170 wpc x 4.1, Wireless Receiver for surround channels 165 wpc x 2 (speakers and subwoofer rated at 3 ohms impedance - no THD rating given).

Note: No reference given (such as RMS, IHF, Peak, number of channels driven) for stated amplifier power output ratings.

Audio Decoding and Processing: Dolby Digital, Dolby Prologic II, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD Master Audio/Essential

SFE (Sound Field Effect - Hall 1/2, Jazz Club, Church, Ampitheatermm Off), Smart Sound (evens out extreme volume changes between scenes or sources), MP3 Enhancer (upscales MP3 file playback to CD quality), Power Bass (increases subwoofer output), 3D Sound (Adds more perceived audio depth by pushing front and surround channels forward - not accessible when listen to the FM tuner function).

Auto Sound Calibration (ASC): Automatic speaker setup feature using test tones in combination with a provided microphone.

Audio Inputs: (in addition to HDMI): One digital optical, One set analog stereo.

Speaker Connections: Onboard connections for Center, Front L/R main, Front L/R height, and Subwoofer speakers, wireless transmitter (slot provided) provided to wireless receiver/amplifier module for powering surround L/R speakers.

Video Inputs: Two HDMI (ver 1.4a - 3D-enabled).

Video Outputs: One 3D and Audio Return Channel-enabled HDMI output (same HDMI output referred to in Blu-ray Disc player section overview), One Composite Video.

Video Processing: Direct pass-through of external video source signals (2D and 3D) up to 1080p resolution, DVD and media upscaling to 1080p. 2D-to-3D conversion capability.

Additional Connections: Built-in WiFi, Ethernet/LAN, iPod Docking Station input, USB, and FM antenna/cable input.

Product Overview - Loudspeakers and Subwoofer

Loudspeakers: Impedance - 3 ohms, Frequency Response - 140Hz - 20kHz

Center Speaker: .64-inch Soft Dome Tweeter, Dual 2.5-inch midrange/woofers, Dimensions (WxHxD) 14.17 x 2.93 x 2.69 inches, Weight 1.98 Ibs

Front L/R: Drivers .64-inch Soft Dome Tweeter, One 3-inch midrange/woofer, one 3-inch passive radiator, 3-inch full range for top (height) channel, Dimensions (WxHxD) 3.54 x 47.24 x 2.75 inches. Stand base (WxD) 9.44 x 2.76 inches, Weight 10.36 lbs.

Surround L/R: 3-inch full range, Dimensions (WxHxD) 3.54 x 5.57 x 2.7 inches, Weight 1.34 lbs.

Subwoofer (Passive Design): 6.5-inch side facing driver with 10-inch passive radiator on opposite side, Frequency Response 40Hz - 160Hz, Dimensions (WxHxD) 7.87 x 15.35 x 13.78 inches, Weight 12.56 lbs.

Included Accessories

Wireless Receiver/Amplifier module for surround speakers, TX wireless transmission card, speaker cables for all speakers and subwoofer, iPod Docking station, Remote control with batteries, Auto Sound Calibration (ASC) microphone, composite video cable, Quick Start Guide and User Manual.

Setup and Installation of the Samsung HT-E6730W

Setting up the Samsung HT-E6730W is fairly straight forward. However, it is important to mention that you should look over both the provided Quick Start Guide and User Manual, so that you know how to set up the wireless rear surround sound speaker module, how to use the Auto Sound Calibration (ASC) system, and set up the internet streaming functions.

Speaker and Audio Setup

Once you unbox everything, place the Blu-ray Disc player/Receiver combination near your TV, then place the center speaker above or below your TV.

The next step is to assemble the front L/R "tall boy" speakers. You need to attach the section house the speaker drivers to the provided stands. Once this is done, you attach the assembled units to the stand bases. Place the assembled speakers in the front of room, to the left and right side of your TV.

Once the front speakers and subwoofer are placed, set up the surround speakers. First, insert the TX Card in the main unit and place the wireless receiver module behind your listening position. Then connect the surround speakers to the wireless receiver module using the provided color coded speaker wire. When you turn on the main unit, the wireless signal should lock into to wireless receiver.

Now, place the subwoofer in a spot in the room that will give you the best bass response - usually either on the left or right side of your TV.

Also, if you desire to mount the center or surround speakers on the wall, you will have to provide your own wall mounting hardware.

To determine if all your speakers are properly connected and active, you have two options: you can either use the manual speaker settings option to set the distance and volume level for each speaker (a microphone and built-in test tone generator is provided), and/or you can use the Samsung Auto Sound Calibration (ASC) feature that uses the microphone and test tone to perform these tasks automatically.

One interesting thing is that any manual speaker settings are separate from the automatic Auto Sound Calibration settings. This means that you can use either method according to your preference. Also, a built-in graphic equalizer is also provided to fine tune speaker frequency response in relation to your room or personal preferences.

Internet Setup

Additionally the HT-E6730W provides network and internet connectivity via either wired or wireless connection. The built-in WiFi is a very convenient option if you have a wireless-enabled internet router, but you can also connect the system to your router using and Ethernet cable. I did not have any difficulty using either connection. However, it must be noted that in many cases a wired connection is best for streaming audio and video as it is a more stable connection, less prone to interruption. Use the option that works best for you.

Audio Performance

Vacuum Tubes: What makes this system really unique is not just the 7.1 channel audio system that features front height, as opposed to surround back speakers as the 6th and 7th channels, but the fact that this system incorporates vacuum tubes as part of its preamp stage.

I will state up front that it is hard to pinpoint the exact degree of the effect of using vacuum tubes in this system, as both the digital amplifier technology and speaker design also contribute to the final result, but I will say this: The HT-E6730W produces a warm, room-filling sound that isn't overly harsh or bright, but is distinct in both the midrange and high frequencies.

On the other hand, where the vacuum tubes probably make the most difference, is when listening to straight-up two-channel audio CDs. Vocals sound full-bodied (considering the speaker size and design employed) and don't get buried amongst musical instruments. Acoustic instruments sound good, but the speakers didn't reproduce as much detail as the Klipsch Quintet speaker system that I used for comparison (listed on the previous page of this review).

Speakers: The speakers provided with the HT-E6730W have a stylish, closed cabinet and exposed driver design (no speaker grills). The two front/right speakers are floor standing "tall boy" types, while the center speaker is a compact horizontal unit that can be placed above or below a TV.

The center channel speaker correctly anchored dialog and vocals but needed a little boost to provide more prominence from the left and right channels (I usually set the center channel one or db above the left and right channels).

On the other hand, the left and right front channel speakers project sound well into the room and provide a wide sound stage, and the uniquely tiltable top speaker on each tower allows a better projection of sound forward and above towards the listening position.

7.1 Channels and 3D Sound: Digging deeper into the 7.1 channel aspect of HT-E6730W system, it is important to point out that the system does not decode or transfer 7.1 channel encoded soundtracks. In other words, any 7.1 channel encoded Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio or PCM is decoded or transferred within a 5.1 channel output configuration. However, when its "3D Sound" feature is activated, the HT-E6730 adds two post-processed top (height channels) that are passed to the tiltable speakers mounted above the front and left channel main speakers.

The degree of the height effect is adjustable (low, medium, high), and it can serve to provide a more immersive experience, especially for action movies, by pushing sound upward and forward within the listening area, but, in some instances, when the medium and high settings are used with music, there can be slight echoing that may be distracting.

It is also important to note that although the top or height channels can be activated for Blu-ray Discs, DVDs, music CDS and streaming content, they cannot be activated for FM radio listening.

Another thing I thought was interesting about the use of the two additional front height channels is that Samsung apparently did not take advantage of implementing Dolby ProLogic IIz processing, but instead, used their own added processing to achieve the front height effect. It would be interesting actually hear what the combination of Dolby ProLogic IIz would actually be with the tiltable top speaker concept used in this system - perhaps, the next incarnation? I would think the Dolby license fee would include access to Dolby ProLogic IIz.

Wireless Surround Speakers: Moving on, I found the wireless surround speaker setup to be a snap. The wireless surround receiver had no problem locking in with the main unit. After I connected the surround speakers to the wireless receiver, turned on the HT-E6730W and played a disc, the surround speakers were there, in sync with no audio lag issues at all. In addition, the wireless receiver provided the needed power to the surround channel speakers to provide a good result.

The Subwoofer: My only complaint, in terms of audio performance, is that the subwoofer, although providing low-frequency support, is somewhat lacking when you get down to the LFE frequencies that are present in a lot of DVD and Blu-ray soundtracks. I also encountered this in my previous review of Samsung's HT-D6500W home theater system, which leads me to the conclusion that Samsung needs to put a little more effort into the subwoofer performance department. Also, it would have been nice if the subwoofer had its own built-in amplifier - which could enable the option of incorporating wireless signal transfer from the Blu-ray/Receiver unit instead of being tethered to it via a speaker wire.

Video Performance

The Samsung HT-E6730W provided a well-balanced image with very good detail, color, contrast and black levels with Blu-ray disc playback. This HT-E6730W did very well on the Blu-ray discs I used in conjunction with this review.

Taking all the tests I conducted into consideration I give HT-E6730W a high rating with regards to deinterlacing and scaling standard definition video sources. For a closer look and further explanation of the video processing capabilities of the HT-E6730W, check out a sampling of Video Performance Tests

Unfortunately, I was not able to evaluate the 3D features of the Samsung HT-E6730W on this go-around, as I did not have access to a 3D TV during the time period I had this system in-house for review. However, if the 3D system firmware is the same, or updated from last year's, HT-D6500W 3D Blu-ray home theater system, that I was able to test at the time, then the HT-E6730W should perform likewise.

Internet Streaming

Using the onscreen Smart Hub menu, users can not only access streaming internet content from well-known providers, such as CinemaNow, Netflix, VUDU, and Pandora Internet Radio, but by clicking on the Samsung Apps portion of the menu you can add a host of additional internet streaming services.

Playing the available content is easy; however, with Netflix, you do need access to a PC to initially set up a Netflix account. If you already have a Netflix account, all you need to do is enter your Netflix username and password and you are set to go.

One word of caution for those that do not have experience with internet streaming - you need a good high-speed internet connection to access good quality movie streaming. Netflix does have the ability to test your broadband speed and adjust accordingly; however, image quality is compromised at slower broadband speeds.

In addition to broadband speed, there is also a lot of variation in the video quality of the content provided by streaming sites, ranging from low-res compressed video that is hard to watch on a large screen to high-def video feeds that look more like DVD quality or slightly better. Even the 1080p content streamed from the internet will not look quite as detailed as 1080p content played directly from a Blu-ray disc.

Media Player Functions

The Samsung HT-E6730W can play audio, video, and image files stored on flash drives or an iPod. I found using either a flash drive or iPod via the front mounted USB port was easy. The on-screen control menu loaded fast and scrolling through menus and access content was straightforward. In addition, an iPod dock is also provided which allows access to video files stored on compatible iPods.

In other words, if you just want to access audio files from an iPod, you can plug that directly into the HT-E6730W's front mounted USB port. On the other hand, if you want to access both audio and video files from your iPod, you need to use the provided iPod docking station that plugs into a special port on the rear of the HT-E6730W. To view video from an iPod on your TV, you also need to connect the composite video output of the HT-E6730W to the TV. This is disappointing, as it does mean an extra cable going from your system to the TV. Perhaps this will be addressed in a future version of this system.

Also, HT-E6730W also has the ability to access audio, video, and still image files stored on a network connected to PC or media servers, and can be viewed on your TV via the HDMI connection.

Final Take

The Samsung HT-E6730W is an impressively feature-packed system. The Blu-ray player section offers 2D, 3D, and both internet and network streaming. The audio portion of the system is very innovative, featuring a vacuum-tube based preamp stage, as well as providing additional inputs, iPod connectivity, an FM stereo radio and a twist on 7.1 channel speaker configuration that emphasizes front height, rather than rear back speakers.

In addition to the extensive feature set, the HT-E6730W is a great performer. The Blu-ray section provides great Blu-ray disc playback, and the DVD upscaling is excellent. Also, the video quality from the streaming sources, such as Netflix, looked very good - however, quality can vary depending on your internet speed.

The HT-E6730W is great for those looking for a modestly-priced all-in-one option to enjoy Blu-ray, internet streaming, and to enhance their audio listening experience, especially for movies - and those vacuum tubes are a nice touch. In the World of Home Theater-in-a-Box systems, the Samsung HT-E6730W is definitely worth consideration.

For more on the Samsung HT-E6730W, also check out my Product Photos, and Video Performance Test Examples.

NOTE: As mentioned at the beginning of this photo profile, the Samsung HT-E6730W has been discontinued.

For more current alternatives, refer to our periodically updated list of Home Theater-in-a-Box Systems.

Additional Components Used for Performance Evaluation and Comparison:

Home Theater Receiver: Onkyo TX-SR705.

Blu-ray disc Player: OPPO BDP-93 used to play Blu-ray, DVD, CD, and streaming movie content for comparison.

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System Used for Comparison: Klipsch Quintet III in combination with Polk PSW10 Subwoofer.

TV/Monitor (2D only): A Westinghouse Digital LVM-37w3 1080p LCD Monitor

Software Used

Blu-ray Discs: "Battleship", "Ben Hur", "Cowboys and Aliens", "The Hunger Games", "Jaws", "Jurassic Park Trilogy", "Megamind", "Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol", "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows".

DVDs: "The Cave", "House of the Flying Daggers", "Kill Bill" - Vols. 1/2, "Kingdom of Heaven" (Director's Cut), "Lord of the Rings" Trilogy, "Master and Commander", "Outlander", "U571", and "V for Vendetta".

CDs: Al Stewart - "A Beach Full of Shells", Beatles - "LOVE", Blue Man Group - "The Complex", Joshua Bell - Bernstein - "West Side Story Suite", Eric Kunzel - "1812 Overture", HEART - "Dreamboat Annie", Nora Jones - "Come Away With Me", Sade - "Soldier of Love".

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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