Once you get the system home, don’t expect to get up and running quickly. With four tower speakers to screw together and a wireless rear kit to connect, it’s a time-consuming process.
That aside, it’s fairly straightforward to set up – you can easily tell which speaker parts slot into each other, all the screws are provided and colour-coded cables are a big help. Anyone with an ounce of common sense should be able to assemble it without the manual.
Once in place, the next stage is to adjust the sound settings to suit your room and listening position, a process simplified by Samsung’s Auto Sound Calibration (ASC). Connect the supplied microphone, run the ASC program and a short piece of music plays from each speaker in turn (it takes about 10 minutes). The system then calculates the appropriate distance, level and EQ settings.
It’s a helpful tool but don’t rely on it completely. We checked the settings afterwards and the rear speakers had been measured at 25 feet away, when they were actually around 6 feet. However, it’s easy to alter the settings in the setup menu.
The HT-F9750’s onscreen architecture is identical to its Blu-ray players and PVRs, which is definitely a good thing – we particularly like the bright, engaging Smart Hub screen, your jump-off point for any function.
Its beauty lies in its simplicity. There are huge tiles for the main functions (‘Movies & TV Shows’, ‘Apps’ and ‘Photos, Videos & Music’) with smaller tiles for apps like BBC iPlayer and ITV Player below. The chunky icons, bold colours and large text are unlikely to phase first-timers.
The Apps menu is much simpler than the old Smart Hub menu, which crammed too many options onto the screen – here the app thumbnails are lined up in a grid, with Recommended apps along the top. The dedicated Fitness and Kids sections are now represented by thumbnails. You can add new content from the Samsung Apps menu and organise them how you like.
Elsewhere the on-demand movie menu makes great use of cover art, while the DLNA/USB menus make it easy to find your desired files – although we feel there’s at least one screen too many in the sequence.
The setup menu is thorough yet logical, while tricky installation procedures like Wi-Fi setup and software updates are simplified by onscreen dialogue boxes and diagrams.
Navigation is satisfyingly quick thanks to the dual-core processor, while the posh remote is a joy to use. It’s a weighty zapper with a fetching brushed silver finish and flat keys laid out in a logical fashion – there’s even a backlight for easy operation in the dark. Everything is clearly labelled and there are dedicated buttons for often-used features. It’s a top-drawer handset that should take the prized place on your coffee table.