Samsung Not Sure Where Its Samsung Apps Will Work

James wanted to buy a new Samsung Blu-ray player that could download and run Samsung Apps, which are widgets that can connect to the Internet or–in the case of the Hulu Plus app–stream video content. He tried to make sure he knew what he was doing before making a purchase, because his whole point for upgrading was to access Hulu, but he still chose the wrong player. Or did he? No, he did. Right?

His email is the length of a David Foster Wallace novel, so I’m going to summarize.

  1. James looks on the Samsung, Samsung Apps, and Hulu websites and determines that all new Samsung Blu-ray models will be able to load Samsung Apps, including the Hulu Plus app.
  2. He buys a BD-C5500 model from Walmart. He goes home, hooks it up, connects to the Samsung Apps market and looks for the Hulu app, but it isn’t there.
  3. In a customer service chat with Samsung, he’s told that only 3D-ready models will support the Hulu Plus app. The CSR points out that one of the 3D-ready models is the BD-C6800, so James buys that from Amazon and returns the first one. It won’t work, either.
  4. A second CSR tells James that model BD-C6900 is the only one that will work. James asks for a number he can call to complain about the mixed messages he’s being given.
  5. He calls that number and a new CSR tells him that CSR #2 was wrong, and that all 3D-ready models will run the Hulu Plus app. James and this CSR go through a reset procedure to see if they can get it to work, but they can’t. The CSR passes him along to a fourth CSR, who tells him that Hulu Plus should work on all Samsung Blu-ray players, even the ones that aren’t 3D-ready.
  6. CSR #4 transfers James to Executive Customer Service, where he’s told they can only listen to complaints, not resolve them, and that he needs to contact the Samsung Apps technical department.
  7. James calls the Samsung Apps technical department, is transferred to a level 2 rep, and discovers the department is closed; his call is disconnected. He calls back and the CSR offers to switch him to the Blu-ray support department. James explains he’s already been there, but she promises this is a different group. It’s not.
  8. Back at square one, the latest CSR tells James that the Hulu Plus app is only available on the BD-C6900 model. You should have listened to CSR #2, James!

James concludes:

This is the first time I’ve chosen to purchase a Samsung product, and based on this experience it is unlikely that I will do so again. No one within the Samsung organization appears to have any idea as to how to make this Hulu Plus app work, which amazes me since apparently Samsung is Hulu’s exclusive partner for starting up the Hulu Plus streaming business. Based on the experience I’ve had thus far, I’d say they’ve been swindled and that they’re not getting the best of their exclusitivity deal, while customers are left in the dark about how to make it work, if at all.

And for the final kicker, a few days later James got this reply via email from a Samsung CSR, who apparently thought he wanted money, not just a clear answer:

This is [redacted] from samsung. I am just writing to advise that we cannot honor your request for compensation on the grounds that the specific apps for the products are not listed. I do apologize that this is not the news you wanted. Have a great day, and good luck in future.

James wrote back, “I will be returning this product to the company I purchased it from and will not purchase another Samsung product again, nor will I recommend it to my friends, collegues, or customers who come into our store.”

I looked around before posting this and found conflicting messages everywhere: this Hulu blog post just says “select” players but this Hulu device info page only lists one model, the BD-C6900. This Samsung product listing page seems to be saying that all new Blu-ray players are app-enabled, and this Samsung Apps compatibility chart lists several models as well. So there are some mixed messages going around, with Hulu saying the app only works on one player, but Samsung giving the impression that it will work on several models.

Comments

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  1. Bativac says:

    I just bought a giant Samsung TV. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come. Maybe I’ll go with a PS3 for my Blu Ray viewing.

    • thompson says:

      You’ll likely be happy with your Sammy LCD… that is one thing they do well.

      • Bativac says:

        Uhoh… Mine is a Plasma. It’s still in the box in my game room.

        • humphrmi says:

          I’ve got a Samsung plasma – it’s great. A lot of heat, don’t position it near flammables. But looks and works great.

          • MonkeyMonk says:

            You’re not kidding about the heat on these things. When I was shopping for TVs this past weekend I talked to a guy who had just returned one of the 3-D Samsung Plasmas because he was worried it was going to burn his child if they touched the thing.

            • Bativac says:

              I had no idea these things got so hot. It didn’t feel that hot in the store (yeah, I put my hand on it)…

              I’m nervous now and you guys are about to convince me that I don’t REALLY need a 63 inch TV.

    • jonroknrol says:

      I own a Samsung HDTV…it’s great! However, I bought a Samsung bluray player at the same time (thinking it would work well with the same brand, I guess). The bluray player was a mess. The HDMI connection would repeatedly get lost once every 3 or 4 minutes. I returned it and got a Sony Bluray player and it works great with the TV. I don’t know if they have some issue with their line of bluray/dvd players, but I would definitely stay clear of them.

      • fatediesel says:

        I too have a Samsung HDTV and bought a Samsung Blu-ray player and had nothing but problems. The player would freeze constantly on me and had problems with the internet. I’ve since returned that player and gotten Sony and Panasonic players and they both work great, as does the PS3. I wouldn’t consider going back to Samsung for Blu-ray players but I really like their TVs, as I have 2 LCD and a DLP that have all worked perfectly.

    • squirrel says:

      I hope they support it better than mine. I bought a B750 model last year and now that the 2010 models are out, all “app” support for my model has simply stopped.

      I’m still waiting for that Neflix app they promised – and now it’s not coming unless I buy a new TV.

      • rocklob says:

        I also have a B750. I love the picture quality on it, but the apps (not to mention the TV’s menu interface) are slow and clunky. I happily use a PS3 for all my TV “app” needs including Netflix.

  2. xnihilx says:

    This is why I just have a computer hooked up to my Samsung TV that we’ve had for over a year. Guess what, it works great.

  3. jvanbrecht says:

    Samsung make good products. Support issues aside, if you want hulu+, get a Ps3… Although you will have to get the plastation network premium subscription to use it.

  4. Endgame says:

    Sya righ ton HULU site that the bd-c6900 is the dupported device

    Samsung Apps Enabled BD-C6900

  5. notMordecai says:

    Shame that his first Samsung purchase was a bad one. My house is very Samsung loving. 3 LCD TVs and 4 phones in the house among other smaller things. I hope he gets this resolved or that Samsung can help the guy out.

  6. HalOfBorg says:

    Sounds a lot like my Frontier DSL experience after we got switched to them from Verizon due to the buy out.

    Their webpage says that each email account has “5Gig of webspace for your website” or such words.
    I had some small files, then I ULd a 172meg file no problem, but my FTP gets cut-off when I reach 200meg total. In chats and email with CS, they all say each account gets 5MEGS of space, but can’t explain why I still have about 180Megs total on my FTP space.

    Or why I did before I switched to comcast.

  7. TheBigWhiteWolf says:

    I’ve had two Samsung Home Theater systems die in as many years. The first one wouldn’t make it through a DVD and it was fixed under warranty. When I received it back, it looked like it had been dropped and dragged on its way to their shipping department. They replaced it with a brand new one.

    Here it is about 2 years later, and my replacement one no longer plays DVDs. A quick search on the Google machine reveals that I’m not the only one. With a problem like this. I’m definitely staying away from Samsung products in the future.

  8. skapig says:

    Pretty awesome lack of information.

    Don’t think the frustration is worth it for Hulu Plus. The content selection is pretty lame.

    • LogNoggin says:

      Don’t shy away from Samsung. They just may be the best brand out there right now. Kinda like Sony in the 80′s. I love every Samsung product I own.

      • myCatCracksMeUp says:

        Samsung may make some products that work, but if you have problems with them Samsung’s customer service is awful, simply awful.

  9. radio1 says:

    Isn’t Hulu Plus a paid-for-play model? Could that be the issue??

  10. jimmyhl says:

    At least he got an (incorrect, unsatsifactory) response. Try Sony if you really want your head to blow up.

  11. ShruggingGalt says:

    That’s funny.

    I have gone through my ups and downs with Samsung. Almost 20 years ago I bought a really nice Samsung VHS player. One of the heads went out, it was repaired under warranty.

    When it came back, it would drop audio in and out. I was told that the operation was “normal”, even though the exact same videotapes would not have a problem with other machines.

    So I stopped buying their products if they wouldn’t do anything about it.

    Fast forward, 4 years ago bought a Samsung DLP. I developed a weird burn-in, like the mirror was trying to aim at random photon torpedoes from a Romulan mining ship. Fortunately it was in the return period. So it was returned.

  12. dush says:

    Yeah, samsung pretty much sucks for quality. They are a little cheaper though.

  13. kriswone says:

    i have had nothing but issues with EVERY SAMSING product i have ever had the mis-furtune of coming across, cell phones being the worst, then TV’s, then BD players, the only product Samsung does right by is customer dissatisfaction.

    • tbax929 says:

      I don’t have a lot of experience with Samsung’s TV products, but I love my Moment cell phone. I love it even more now that I rooted it.

  14. Silent128 says:

    Hey, nice to see my story get posted. I want to clarify for everyone that this issue HAS been resolved. I was contacted by a Samsung CSR who initially informed me that NONE of the Samsung BluRay players supported Hulu Plus app and offered me a full refund. I declined and e-mailed her a link to a CNet review indicating it was supported. The following day I was called and informed that I would be getting a new BD-C6900 to replace my C6800.

    She admitted that just by looking at the site it would be easy to make the mistake I made and apologized for the issue. I am grateful that in the end I was able to get the problem resolved in a satisfactory manner.

    On a side note however, I would like to point out that I DO have a Media Center PC hooked up to my TV as well, I’m doing this to reduce clutter and simplify my current home theatre setup. I currently use Hulu Plus on the computer, but dislike that I cannot easily control it with a remote. Which is the main reason I’m doing this. I’ve had my media center PC since 2004, I’m retiring it in favor of this Samsung Bluray player, more energy efficient, and the quality looks better.

    Playstation 3 is a 300 dollar investment, where as the C5500 was 150 and the C6800 was about 230 after shipping.

    I thank you consumerist for posting the story and just wanted to provide everyone with an update.

    I will however definately be more attentive when buying Samsung again.

    • ahecht says:

      Does Hulu Plus work with Hulu Desktop? I installed Hulu desktop on my Windows Media Center PC and then installed Hulu Desktop Integration from http://huluwmc.teknowebworks.com/ so it shows up on the Media Center menu. It works just fine with my Media Center remote, although the controls are different than for normal TV.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      If the HTPC version of Hulu+ doesn’t work well with a remote, what makes you think that the Samsung BD Player version will? Quality and features in the Netflix players can vary widely by device. For something like this, you should probably do a demo in a store first to make sure that it’s going to meet your expectations.

      Try before you buy…

  15. TasteyCat says:

    Can someone summarize the summary?

  16. daveplot says:

    “6.CSR #4 transfers James to Executive Customer Service, where he’s told they can only listen to complaints, not resolve them,”

    Executive Customer Service can in fact solve complaints.

    About 2 years ago I had a Samsung LCD, under warranty, that had a high pitched squeel. I contacted customer service, they contacted my local repair shop. The repair shop never called to schedule the appt. I called and called the repair shop, they never returned my call. They finally setup an appt, but didn’t show. Samsung customer service put me through to executive customer service. They ended up shipping me a new TV from the newer line, and having my old tv picked up.

  17. dotyoureyes says:

    Very impressive. Samsung’s done an amazing job convincing me to buy a Boxee Box.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      > Very impressive. Samsung’s done an amazing job convincing me to buy a Boxee Box.

      It’s too bad they made it in a shape that doesn’t really play nice with anything else.