Samsung Optical Smart Hub, one to connect to all: Review & Specs

Currently a TV does more than to just watch TV. Many users opt for a digital ecosystem where high definition flat screen is only one element and connectivity has become essential to achieve a satisfactory experience. The Samsung Optical Smart Hub to analyze is presented as the key to bring content from one device to another in the simplest way possible.

Samsung Optical Smart Hub

At first glance, the Samsung Optical Smart Hub seems more an external optical drive. In fact, just plug it to any USB-compatible device to use it as such, but that is only a tiny part of their duties. Samsung’s proposal makes sense connected to a wireless network, becoming the gateway to our digital content.

A product designed as a center of the digital home

Samsung Optical Smart Hub

Samsung has opted for a functional, elegant aesthetics and without fanfare. In the back of Samsung Optical Smart Hub we see a patch panel already anticipate the potential of this little device: mini USB port, USB 2.0, making Ethernet and power port. Four small lights on the front at all times informed of their status and a physical button is used to unlock the optical drive tray.

Does it make sense to stream from a DVD if you have to get up to load the disc, like fifteen years ago?

Installing the Samsung Optical Smart Hub is very simple in Windows environment, thanks to the included disc. The software automatically creates a network ad hoc for the device and registers it, without asking the user for any data and in less than 5 minutes. Unfortunately, it is far more complicated work with Mac OS X, though that mark would indicate full compatibility. After the process, the Samsung Optical Smart Hub devices appear on a physical drive.

Samsung Optical Smart Hub

Once connected, you can access its functions through any device based on iOS or Android (thanks to a specific app) or using a Samsung TV (the best option). The interface is very simple and direct access to the content playback options (via USB or DVD) and the file manager, but we have had problems with certain formats and small crashes the application, we expect to be solved in future updates.

Samsung Optical Smart Hub

In the test, the Samsung Optical Smart Hub has shown acceptable performance. The streaming content is fluid and seamless, including direct playback from DVD. You can also do remote backups of your mobile devices, thanks to a simple utility called Smart Backup. It should be remembered that, as with any device of this type, we need a broadband wireless network (minimum 6 Mbps) for everything to work with the necessary fluidity.
The Samsung Optical Smart Hub offers mixed feelings. The idea of providing a device for distributing digital content easily seems great but, in practice, some failures hinder the user experience. A priori, we miss a more elaborate software (including mobile app), a desktop client, HDMI output and, by request, support for Blu-ray, physical standard for true HD content.

Technical Specs of Samsung Optical Smart Hub:

Manufacturer: Samsung
Model: Samsung Optical Smart Hub
www.samsung.com
USB ports, Ethernet
WiFi connectivity, DLNA
DVD Rewriter
150 x 198 x 25 mm, 430 grams of weight.
Price: 129 euros

In order to automate the installation process, Samsung has made this device in a very complicated to install when the scenario is not ideal. The software attempts to take IP addresses that already have other devices and tries to disable the DHCP network, actions that can cause a small catastrophe for users accustomed to dealing with network settings.

On the other hand, we think that the focus on the hardware increasingly less sense. Most users will already have a DVD player in your living room (or any device capable of doing) and it seems difficult to reach using the ability to record to CD or DVD with the data on your phone or tablet. Yes, it works flawlessly as external DVD drive for a laptop but this feature alone justifies a third of its price. On the other hand … is the point of doing streaming from the DVD if you have to get up to insert the disc as fifteen years ago?

Conclusions

The proposal made by Samsung with this product is risky and appreciated the commitment to innovate. However, the limitations mentioned it a product without competition and recommended only for a very small niche market. It’s a DVD player, a streamer, an access point and a system for performing remote backups but the whole is never run because of an immature software and connectivity constraints that should be improved in future revisions of the product.
In summary, we believe the Samsung Optical Smart Hub as an interesting idea and perhaps the first in a series of devices that will aim to liaise between different devices. Hopefully the Korean Company to bet on improving the software and see soon a second review of this idea.