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Samsung UHD Video Pack review

John Archer

By

Reviewed:

1 of 9

Samsung UHD Video Pack
  • Samsung UHD Video Pack
  • Samsung UHD Video Pack
  • Samsung UHD Video Pack
  • Samsung UHD Video Pack
  • Samsung UHD Video Pack
  • Samsung UHD Video Pack
  • Samsung UHD Video Pack
  • Samsung UHD Video Pack
  • Samsung UHD Video Pack

Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Stunning 4K picture quality
  • Easy to install
  • Currently free when you buy a Samsung 4K TV

Cons

  • Costly for people who already have a Samsung 4K TV
  • Only three full films

Key Features

  • 500GB HDD with 3 UHD movies
  • Pre-loaded with World War Z, The Counselor and Life Of Pi
  • Free between Oct 16 & Dec 24 2014 with selected Samsung TVs
  • USB 3.0
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: £149.99

What is the Samsung UHD Video Pack?

The UHD Video Pack is a 500GB hard drive containing – whoop! – genuine Hollywood movies in 4K. It’s available free with the majority of Samsung’s UHD TVs if you buy before 14 December 2014, and it can also connect to some of Samsung’s 2013 models.

With native 4K content still in desperately short supply at the time of writing, the UHD Video Pack is a significant moment in 4K’s development, and a potentially key element in your 4K TV buying decision.

Need help choosing a new TV? Read our TV Buying Guide

Samsung UHD Video Pack

Samsung UHD Video Pack – Design and Features

The UHD Video Pack looks pretty unassuming considering its importance to the burgeoning 4K story. It’s just a small, slim box with one rounded end and a glossy grey finish. But then, of course, for all the fanfare that might accompany its arrival, it is still ultimately just a hard drive with some AV files on it!

Intriguingly the Video Pack connects to Samsung TVs via USB, rather than HDMI like all the other not-publicly-available UHD/4K servers we’ve been using over the past few months.

Obviously using a USB connection raises some questions over what video and audio formats the Video Pack can provide. But actually USB 3.0 can carry films, documentaries and ‘showreels’ in the HEVC H.265 format at frame rates up to 60fps, using 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, accompanied by audio tracks that can vary from AAC on some of the included documentaries to Dolby Digital for the three key Hollywood movies the Video Pack currently carries.

You can choose to use the TV’s built-in speakers for playing the audio, or send it out to a surround sound receiver via your TV's digital audio output. Although the mixes are converted to legacy Dolby Digital when they pass through the TV.

Next up we ought to get into exactly who can use the UHD Video Pack. At the time of writing it’s available free, by redeeming a coupon, to anybody who’s bought a new (not second-hand) compatible Samsung UHD TV between 16 October 2014 and 24 December 2014.

The full list of compatible sets runs as follows: 85HU7500, 65HU7100, 55HU7100, 78HU8500, 65HU8500, 55HU8500, 65HU8200, 55HU8200, 75HU7500, 65HU7500, 55HU7500, 65HU7200, and 55HU7200. Plus the Video Pack can be used with 2013 Samsung UHD TVs that have been fitted with a 2014 UHD Evolution Kit.

SEE ALSO: Best TVs Round-up

Samsung UHD Video Pack

If you were paying attention back there, you might be wondering why Samsung says the pack is compatible with 2013 TVs when it's currently only available with new 2014 TVs. The answer to this is that Samsung will shortly be putting the Video Pack on sale separately, for £149.99. HOWEVER! People with other brands of 4K TV thinking of snapping up a Video Pack when they go on sale should note that it's encrypted so that its files will only play on Samsung TVs.

We’ve cunningly failed so far to namecheck the three big Hollywood movies contained in 4K um4 files on the UHD Video Pack. So let’s correct that now. They are: The Counselor, The Life of Pi, and World War Z. Which by our reckoning adds up to one good film, one decent film and one pretty poor film. (Sorry, Ridley Scott, but The Counselor really isn’t your finest hour.)

All three are, at least, exceptionally good-looking examples of their art – especially The Life Of Pi. So they’re great choices for showing off the joys of 4K/UHD.

It turns out, though, that these three film highlights are far from the end of the content on the UHD Video Pack. You also get a few of Samsung’s own short 4K demo sequences, plus a series of documentaries/travelogues: Grand Canyon Adventure, San Francisco Flow, Bailee Moore, Atmosphere, Khumbu Valley, Mix, Myanma (Burma), Vancouver City 2, Sojourn, Oregon, Let Me Know When You See Fire (Phantom Fire), Dive To The New World, and World Surrounds Me.

The menu system for accessing the content is a bit clumsy – all the UHD videos are lumped together rather than you being able to, say, separate out the three ‘proper’ movies. Though on the upside the interface is attractively presented, with extensive use of high-quality graphics, artwork and stills.

One of the biggest questions surrounding 4K is just how large 4K video files are. So you may be interested to know that World War Z, The Counselor and The Life of Pi come in at 33.81GB, 34.19GB and 37.73GB, respectively. Ouch.

SEE ALSO: What is 4K TV and UHD?

Samsung UHD Video Pack

As well as being able to access basic technical information on each of the films – video codec, sound format, file size, running time and picture resolution – you can select different subtitle options for each, where such options are available.

We can’t help but reflect that it’s a pity there are only three big movies on the UHD Video Pack. When Samsung first discussed the possibility of such a product a few months back, there was talk of making as many as 50 UHD films available over the course of a year via downloads. So being now locked to just three full films is a bit of a come-down. Still, there are a good few hours' worth of content here overall, so while you'll eventually run out of stuff you haven’t seen before, at least you’ve got a decent amount of demo stuff for showing off your 4K TV to your mates!

Samsung UHD Video Pack – Setup

There’s not much to say here, really. Make sure your Samsung TV is running the most recent firmware by checking the Firmware Update section of the TV’s Support menu, then plug the Video Pack’s USB cable into the correct socket on the TV – it's coloured blue on this year’s Samsung TVs. For the purposes of this test we used a 65-inch 65HU7500.

Aside from that and being able to adjust the subtitles for each video, it’s just a matter of finding what you want to watch and hitting Select.

In case you were wondering, you control playback of the Video Pack using the TV’s remote control.

torjs99

November 6, 2014, 2:05 pm

very impressed with a 4K movie fitting into 35Gb.

MattMe

November 6, 2014, 4:27 pm

I was expecting much larger file sizes than that too.

Zubeir

November 7, 2014, 9:39 am

Easily fit on a standard blu ray

Colin

November 7, 2014, 5:23 pm

So it's just 3 movies and some trailers on a hard drive? Why even review it? And it's £150 for 3 average movies - awesome. Do the TV manufacturers not understand why 3D failed? It was because 3D content was not particularly accessible, and significantly more expensive than 2D content. It would take a particularly special movie for me to spend £50 on it - the odds of them choosing 3 movies that one person wants to see so much that they're willing to spend £50 per film are very slim indeed. The odds of anyone actually buying this are so small as to be negligible. So in reality this is just demo content to try and convince people to buy new Samsung UHD TVs. I thought by the title of the review that this was some kind of device to stream UHD content - but really it's just 3 movies on a hard drive. Not worth clicking on.

Paul

November 8, 2014, 10:03 am

what format was the Hardrive formatted in NTFS or FATex

nelys

December 30, 2014, 7:20 pm

I recentily by this product but I can't open movies because need a pin, how I now my pin??? , thanks.

John

January 10, 2015, 6:59 pm

Do you need internet connection to view the movies on the video pack?

Thanks

Paranoid of my Android

January 28, 2015, 5:40 pm

It is NTFS

Paranoid of my Android

January 28, 2015, 5:41 pm

Does anyone know how I can play this video pack on my PC? VLC player and MPC dont support Samsungs .um4 file type

anil

February 2, 2015, 6:04 pm

I recently by 121cm tv nd I got this uhd video pack free for this nd wen I used it. it says da file is nt currently supported

Mike

April 15, 2016, 4:07 pm

It's got cheaper now, and even better you can buy the American version - CY-SUC10SH1 - it has 10 films plus loads of extras, and I have it running on the UE65JS9500

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