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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.