Print 24 comment(s) - last by Gemini201.. on Mar 26 at 9:44 PM

Device acts as Wi-Fi bubble, network storage hub, and portable streaming media player

Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) is perhaps best known these days for its smartphones and tablets, but the company is seeking growth in other electronics sectors as well.  At the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the company spoke to us about their push to esablish dominance in the DVD-burner market.

While most of Samsung's lineup is built upon sleek, cheap, portable models like the SE-S084D Super-WriteMaster ($44 USD), at the top of the lineup is an odd $130 USD device called the SE-208BW "SmartHub".  

Acting something like an Apple TV (from Apple, Inc. (AAPL)), the device is capable of streaming video and audio content over the air to your iPad or iPhone (yes, Samsung supports the iPhone).  But the Samsung device is much broader in its support, offering Android, iOS, Kindle, and Windows support.  It connects to "smart TVs" via the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) connectivity standard.  And most important of all, it packs a DVD writer for content backup and storage.

Samung SmartHub
[Image Source: Samsung Electronics]

In that regard the device is a little bit like the Seagate Tech Plc (STX) GoFlex Satellite -- in fact Samsung mentioned that device as it chief competitor.  But Samsung considers its device superior, as it can maintain both internet and streaming video at the same time, where as Seagate's product can only do one.  Also, the device's DVD burner allows it effectively unlimited storage, where as the Seagate device has a static hard-drive based capacity.

The device supports connections to up to four simultaneous devices, connected by Wi-Fi within 100 feet.  USB storage devices can be connected, creating a rich pool of storage and network accessible storage (NAS) possibilities.

Samsung SmartHub
[Image Source: Samsung Electronics]

The software from Samsung supports pull files like pictures off your smartphone and tossing them either on connected USB storage, or burning them to a DVD.  Alternatively, you can use the file browser to burn content from connect USB storage to DVD.  When accessing a particular DVD for either storage or entertainment, the hub is able to simultaneously access two positions, allowing two tablets (or a tablet and a TV) to be watching two different parts of the same movie at once.

The SmartHub will be available in black and white.  It lands on and, Inc. (AMZN) on Mar. 23, with a preorder kicking off March 16.  The device is already on MicroCenter's webpage. 

Samsung SmartHub MicroCenter

Overall the device seemed pretty impressive, but there's also some concerns to consider.  Engadget and The Verge both were in unanimous agreement that the early software they tested [1][2] made installation a daunting exercise in networking, precluding less tech-savvy users.  Also, the lack of Blu-ray is disappointing.  Samsung reassures that the second generation model will have built-in Blu-ray writing capabilties.

That said, for now, if you think you can tackle the technical challenges, and want to wirelessly stream/backup content, there's really no device on the market that we know of that's quite as flexible as the SmartHub.

Source: Samsung

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Burner vs. HDD
By adiposity on 3/11/2012 1:49:22 AM , Rating: 5
Saying a device has unlimited storage capacity because it has a burner instead of a HDD is a bit much. I mean, who really backs up to optical discs these days?

Not a bad feature to have, but hardly a big deal.

RE: Burner vs. HDD
By messele on 3/11/2012 4:33:07 AM , Rating: 5
Who on earth wants to actually go backwards and mess around with all this DVD burning crap in their living space? So if you want to run a gallery of photos from last yeah you have to go locate a piece of plastic and actually shove this thing in a box? Terrible idea.

The box by the TV only needs to act as a hub to take all the inputs from your media storage (hard drive, not clumsy DVDs) mobile devices and simply direct the sound to your AV and and the pictures to the screen. That is all.

To complete the effect the hard drive storage should not be making noise and flashing lights but belongs in another room in the house.

RE: Burner vs. HDD
By woody1 on 3/11/2012 1:16:20 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with the comments about the DVD burner. That seems useless to me. A DVD player has some value because it's still sometimes necessary to play DVDs (e.g., Netflix DVDs etc.). But, overall, DVD will soon be obsolete.

What would really be useful in a device like this is a decent SSD. That would be quiet, run cool, not eat much electricity, etc. The only issue with that is that SSDs are still pretty expensive.

My setup uses an Xbox 360 (with just a few Gb of onboard storage) linked over a LAN to my Windows Media Center running on a desktop. With that setup, I don't need any local storage on the Xbox, and the desktop machine is in another part of the house where it can't get in the way of watching movies, etc.

If I wanted to create a setup that didn't use a Windows OS, this box sounds ok. Otherwise, the Xbox is about $200 and does most everything this box does, but also works as Windows Media Externder.

RE: Burner vs. HDD
By acer905 on 3/13/2012 12:28:47 PM , Rating: 2
The thing I love about streaming to the 360 is how easy it is to stream from a computer, even without WMC. Using Win 7 (or 8), anything I share across my homegroup in the videos folder shows up in the Video Player on the 360, with the same folder layout as the computer. Give me a $100 "streaming-only" version of the 360, and I'd buy one for every TV I have.

RE: Burner vs. HDD
By JasonMick on 3/12/2012 8:46:37 AM , Rating: 1
Saying a device has unlimited storage capacity because it has a burner instead of a HDD is a bit much. I mean, who really backs up to optical discs these days?

Not a bad feature to have, but hardly a big deal.

Interesting argument, but note that I wrote:
effectively unlimited storage

It's really a similar argument to whether you need microSD on a smartphone.

The long answer short is that some users need it, for others it's a non-feature, as you argue.

I have some friends both with iPhones and with Android phones that don't ever use more than 32 GB on their smartphone, so they're able to effectively just use internal storage or a single microSD card. In this case the storage expansion essentially becomes a non-feature.

On the other hand, I've used up almost 3 different 32 GB cards for my EVO... lots of apps, pics, some music, etc.

The microSD v. internal storage is a similar debate to DVD backup v. HDD storage. Is 750 GB enough for a lot of people? Sure. But some users will appreciate the ability to use rewritable DVDs (and to attach external USB HDDs) to add an endless storage pool.

RE: Burner vs. HDD
By Flunk on 3/12/2012 9:53:45 AM , Rating: 3
DVDs can only store 8GB, and the single layer ones that are more common are only 4GB. That kind of storage doesn't hold much HD content.

It's not really analogous to the microSD vs internal storage issue. For one thing most of these devices support USB drives so they are upgradable anyway. Adding DVD is similar to building a stereo and advertising that it has a tape deck. It's just not that useful anymore.

RE: Burner vs. HDD
By messele on 3/13/2012 3:37:12 AM , Rating: 2
Absolute nonsense. Nobody is going to buy this thing then shove DVDs in it for "effectively unlimited storage" when we've been able to do exactly the same thing with DVD players for years, yet nobody does.

Ah, but this thing writes discs! Yeah great, so you now have to faff about plugging in your phone or camera, moving the photos across and burning a disc that sits on a shelf and you have to find it every time you want to take a look?

This thing isn't "Apple TV on steroids" it's Samsung stealing the industries' 1999 journal then copying it while smoking crack.

What's this 750Gb crap. All we need is a cheap box that will take a bunch of stuff from a farm of expandable external hard drives and chuck it up on the screen. The box does not need any internal HDD storage at all.

You are completely out of touch Jason.

RE: Burner vs. HDD
By Gemini201 on 3/26/2012 9:44:17 PM , Rating: 2
It allows you to backup to a connected USB storage device *AND* blank CD/DVDs. Not just CD/DVD.

Cheaper solution for iPad
By kmmatney on 3/11/2012 3:15:39 AM , Rating: 2
I don't get why you'd want to use this for streaming to the iPad, when you can get the Air Video app for $3.

RE: Cheaper solution for iPad
By Urbanmech on 3/11/2012 10:25:34 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. for $4-5 dollars, i installed the Buzz HD player for my iPad, i can stream any video file from my windows PC's to my iPad. Works great, and handles just about any format.

RE: Cheaper solution for iPad
By BrgMx5 on 3/11/2012 12:16:37 PM , Rating: 4
Jailbreak it and use XBMC.

Better than all the paid apps out there.

By zerocks on 3/11/2012 4:16:10 AM , Rating: 2
Why would you want to stream from something other than your contents source to portable media devices?
In my case I have a computer setup with Plex media server and run Plex on my ATV2, iPod touch and PS3 Media server to my HTC desire Z..
What gains are there? Are there any..?

What've I missed here..

RE: Whutt
By Gemini201 on 3/26/2012 9:37:26 PM , Rating: 2
Some people might not want to leave their PC on all the time just so it can act as a media server.

Plus, you would be saving electricity if you compare the wattage use for any laptop/desktop to this smarthub device.

By ShaolinSoccer on 3/11/2012 4:18:32 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't it insecure? If it doesn't have a password, anyone close to your house can see/listen to everything you broadcast. Please tell me I am wrong.

By Gemini201 on 3/26/2012 9:39:07 PM , Rating: 2
It is protected by WPA/WPA2 encryption when using Wi-Fi.

A wild Snorlax appears
By Nortel on 3/10/12, Rating: -1
RE: A wild Snorlax appears
By mapmkr73 on 3/11/2012 12:08:50 AM , Rating: 2
where can i find a PS3 for $130?

RE: A wild Snorlax appears
By RaV3NNN on 3/11/2012 12:26:37 AM , Rating: 3
Craigslist or ebay

RE: A wild Snorlax appears
By B3an on 3/11/12, Rating: -1
RE: A wild Snorlax appears
By testerguy on 3/11/2012 7:08:42 AM , Rating: 2
No Android phone lets you wirelessly mirror your screen onto a TV.

RE: A wild Snorlax appears
By messele on 3/11/12, Rating: -1
RE: A wild Snorlax appears
By philpoe on 3/12/2012 10:11:47 AM , Rating: 2
Aren't there many Android phones with DLNA?

I agree
By DetectApple on 3/11/12, Rating: -1
RE: I agree
By Cheesew1z69 on 3/11/2012 2:04:44 PM , Rating: 2
Quit promoting your lame site, thanks.

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