The-state-of-the-art reflection about HDR: Samsung = Great hardware, poor software and how PLEX saves the day for latest Samsung TVs when DTS comes to play

You know the situation – you come to your local electronic store and you see the latest TVs from Samsung – a quantum LED technology with amazing colours, contrast, black with zero flickering. You say to yourself – I want that! You wait for minute and you buy the TV for $2700 USD right the way.

At home, you throw the old TV out of the window, unpack the new one and plug it in. You start downloading MKVs with Blu-Ray rips (who use BR in 2018 anyway, right?) and you find the ugly truth – your TV can’t play correctly almost none of the files which you have downloaded.

For some reason, Samsung is the company which creates an amazing hardware with the software which is far beyond the quality of the hardware itself. TVs are not an exception.

Samsung’s TOP 2018 TV models use One Connect device – a dedicated box which serves as power supply, video and sound signal source. The One Connect player uses Samsung proprietary OS – Tizen OS.

For some dumb reason, somebody in Tizen product team decided that Tizen will support wide range of sound format with one small exception – DTS, the second most used sound format in the media distribution (including Blu-Rays). And we are not talking about not implementing the feature, they just drop it from the previous version. The player will not pass-through the DTS tracks from external sources, it just blocks it. In addition, the player has a problem to identify tracks within the MKV media container like additional subtitle tracks, director commentaries, dabbing etc.

How is this possible? Well,… if you would now Sammy for a longer time, you would know that this is quite normal. Their devices give you great potential, but they are a little bit DYI.

So, how to solve the problems with One Connect for good?

Basically, you can do one of the following things:

  • Use AVR and connect it to One Connect
  • Demux your MKV files with DTS sound
  • Use DLNA
  • Use PC with Windows as a player
  • Use external player like Vero 4K+
  • Use Plex

Ad AVR: You have to spend more money on AVR which won’t be particularly cheap (we are talking about 270 USD at least in time of writing this article). You are not able to play media directly from the network. You have to move them to USB storage or connect your storage server to the ARC. This option does not work for me. I don’t want to buy extra device to increase complexity of my media system. And I don’t like a dust cleaning also.

Ad Demux your MKV files: Who really wants to do that? In addition, you can really change DTS-HD to TrueHD. There isn’t any TrueHD encoder available. You would have to convert your DTS-HD tracks to AC-3, so this is a dead end, let’s move on.

Ad DLNA: Ehm, no. The DLNA is piece of shit technology which brings more problems than it solves, e.g. external subtitles.

Ad use PC as player: Normally, I would say that PC is just the best possible player – lots of software, you can use miniPC with compact hardware, possibility of upgrades etc. BUT… Windows (at the time of writing this article) can really handle HDR with SDR side-by-side properly. With April 2018 update, Windows 10 moved on to some sort of support, but it still sucks. If you turn HDR on, you will have a contrast-less, a grey layered, a weird and ugly display of every single SDR frame sent from your graphical card. You would also need a new graphical card, e.g. AMD RX560 or newer because of HDMI 2.0 which is basically another piece of shit compares to DisplayPort, not mention Thunderbolt and USB-C which would be the best possible solution of One Connect which supports HDMI 2.0 only, not even single DisplayPort which is quite funny because it uses modified DisplayPort for connection to TV panel itself.

Ad use external player, e. g. Vero 4K+: OK, that would work but you still need to spend about $150 USD for that player – BTW: Vero 4K+ is amazing peace of hardware. The complexity of your media centre is slightly increased, but you can connect it to whatever you want, and you can use KODI! A fair trade if you can buy it somewhere. If not, don’t worry, there is a solution for all of that called Plex.

Plex is very old fork from the XBMC project (now known as KODI). It does the similar thing like KODI with one small exception – it creates a media file server which you can connect to even from other side of the world.

Tizen has an native Plex application which solves all problems – the DTS support and the track identification. Plex app plays 4K HDR flawlessly, it works out-of-the-box. All you need is some old PC connected to your home network which would host a Plex media server and you are good to go. Search for the Plex Media Server and Plex application in app store in your TV. Build the library based on your file storage location and connect to the library with Plex app.

So, the problem is somehow solved. How about the content itself? Yeah, at the end of 2018, there are two TV shows (Grand Tour and Star Trek: Discovery) really made in 4K HDR format and can benefit from the 4K HDR TVs, with movies it is even worse, but this is a story for some other day.

Let’s hope for better future soon.


KUTlime se představuje:

Jsem snílek, chorobný workoholik, detailista, flákač, publicista, hráč, buřič, závislák na produktivismu, technologiích a návratu zpět na strom. Extrovertní samotář, cholerik, kterému pořád v testech vychází sangvinik. Bývalý fotograf, budoucí cestovatel, současný amatérský terapeut. Věčný geek a kritik, nerozpoznatelný bodybuilder a mnoho dalšího. Kontroverze a renesance sama Mám mozek a nebojím se ho používat. Mám mnoho vlastností, které mne činí na první i druhý pohled nesnesitelným člověkem, za to ceněným spolupracovníkem. Seznámení se mnou pouze na vlastní nebezpečí. 8-)
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14 reakcí na The-state-of-the-art reflection about HDR: Samsung = Great hardware, poor software and how PLEX saves the day for latest Samsung TVs when DTS comes to play

  1. Hi! Thank you very much for your article, thoughts and solutions. I was thinking about „workaround“, if I understand correctly how it could work. I have Q9FN, the 2018th model.
    My setup: I have set up Plex Media server which is served from Synology NAS (DS713, which is high-end for home/office). MKV works, AC3 works, DTS transcoding on 1080p movies is working fine, however on 2160p movies is buffering every few seconds. Same goes with „avi“ which is DivX or xVid (not supported) – its just buffering every 5-10 seconds. Thats just unwatchable.

    Theoretical case: I could connect SoundBar, for example, Samsung HW-K850 or Sony HT-ZF9 (both support DTS:X, Dolby Atmos) to HDMI arc (or Optical), would it be possible to pass DTS sound directly to SoundBar, so movies are playable?
    I don’t have any of those devices, so can’t test, but would appreciate your thoughts on this approach.

    • KUTlime napsal:

      @zarra Me neither. What actually decodes your DTS tracks right know? My Plex app pass through the DTS tracks to my Logitech Z906 with DTS decoder.

      • What actually decodes your DTS tracks right know? Its Plex. I have Plex server on NAS and Plex’s native app on Samsung TV.

        I am playing „MKV“ video with Plex app on TV, which includes „DTS“ audio track, however, as I understand it is converted to some other format by Plex server. I believe its „converting“ because fast-forward and scrolling through movie always gets lots of „Buffer“.

        How do you now that Plex is passing through actual DTS, but not converted DTS to something else and then passing to your Sound System?

      • KUTlime napsal:

        Yes, I am pretty much sure that Plex is just sending data, not actually touching them. I have a light indication for decoding at my Logitech Z906 and also a resource monitor at Plex media server. Your are stuck on low performance of your NAS. You need pass through the content to some dedicated device.

      • Well, NAS is too low performance for converting DTS to something else, thats why I am here 🙂 If it would not convert it and pass DTS as is to SoundBar (theoretically), there wouldn’t be any need for higher performance NAS. Thats what I am all talking about.

        How do you have connected Logitech Z906? Via HDMI Arc or Optical cable?

        As if DTS would be passed directly to your sound system, then any DLNA service would play DTS sound. Not talking about how bad DLNA is, but it would just work.
        Did you test any video with DTS via DLNA with sound system connected? As if it is not, then Plex is just converting it on-fly, which means DTS is not actually going as is to sound system.

      • KUTlime napsal:

        Optical cable. DLNA and Plex app is two different things. Like I said – the Plex app is passing through (or converting to Dolby Digital, it doesn’t really matters) where it gets decoded. DLNA could behave totally differently.

  2. Ali Vajahat napsal:

    Hi KuTlim, Thanks for writing on an issue that can cause loss to Samsung.
    One question in my mind, what if we use Samsung Soundbar with DTS 5.1 support. Will my QLED Q9F 2018 play the audio since soundbar has DTS? is there any way that we can test it without buying Samsung Bar Shit?

  3. vmtexas napsal:

    What option do you select on the TV audio out setting? when you using Plex for DTS?

  4. vlad napsal:

    I tried that, it converts dts to dolby digital 😦 any solution to passthrough the audio codecs untouched? there’s also dolby true hd, dts-hd ma which are not supported…..

  5. Edu napsal:

    Hi. I have a Yamaha sound bar that supports DTS. What happens if I connect it to a Samsung TV, can I get surround sound?

    • KUTlime napsal:

      Exactly same thing like I have described in my article. No DTS with media process by Tizen OS but it will work with media played through Plex. I would buy some other TV if I would be at your place.

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