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XG1v4 + samsung 7100 = very good upgrade

New Poster

XG1v4 + samsung 7100 = very good upgrade

l just took the leap to 4k TV (Samsung 7100 58" LED) and also upgraded to the latest xfinity box with the friendly name "XG1v4."  The new box is tiny compared to the old dinosaur cable boxes back in the day. 

 

It was interesting to be able to upgrade the TV first (from mid-range Samsung 50" 1080p purchased 2012). Then a couple of days later I received the new cable box for self-install. This gave me an opportunity to see the picture difference across a range of different content types. Now that I have everything upgraded the difference is really amazing. The TV accounted for  maybe 75% of the quality improvement, but xfinity's latest 4k cable box really put it over the top. Some of the content I watched:

- Cable TV like CNN looked great with old x1, outstanding with the new x1

- Live sports looked so-so with the old x1, outstanding with the new x1

- Movies on demand looked good with the old x1, outstanding with the new x1

- Old pre-HD content looked so-so with the old x1, outstanding with the new x1

 

The new x1 box resolved issues with the picture quality like too much contrast, faces washed out, not enough saturation, too much motion smoothing, poor upscaling for older content sources.  All of that is resolved with the new box.

 

Other positives with the new x1 are much better responsiveness for pause/fast forward/play/rewind and higher quality for slo-mo replay. This is particularly nice when watching sports.  Programming the x1 remote to control my Samsung and Vizio soundbar is very easy.  Voice control of the x1 seems to be faster now and more accurate. 

 

Downsides for the new x1: they removed the "quick 30 second rewind" button from the remote (I used that A LOT), and they removed the clock from the front of the cable box (I use that A LOT). Xfinity: please restore those features! 

 

Video setup was painless. Use the cables they provide unless you have better quality already. They shipped the box with decent quality HDMI and coax, although the coax is much longer than most people will need.  The new x1 recognized the Samsung, the Samsung recognized the cable box and they played nice with default settings.  This was noticeably different from my old x1 where I sat around adjusting the samsung's video settings trying to improve the picture. The samsung wasn't the problem - it was the old x1 box. Once I set the samsung to default picture settings, it was perfect. Quality of picture will often be determined by where/how the upscaling is performed. The Samsung 7100 comes with their improved upscaling engine and it's excellent when paired with the new x1 - they can combine to give you excellent results with new, older, or ancient source material.  One of the most noticable improvements in picture is when watching football/soccer/basketball during a wide angle shot. The new x1 + Samsung together do a very good job of optimizing the output. No blurry players with fuzzy outlines. Colors are crisp and bright, although I will still have OLED envy until I get an OLED.

 

Audio setup is still more complicated than it needs to be. My setup is:

cable-box HDMI -> Samsung,  then Samsung digital  optical -> vizio 5.1 soundbar

I had to go through trial-and-error using both the xfinity and samsung remotes in order to try all of the options. It's frustrating that the quality of surround sound really will depend on the source material.  If you're watching the latest Star Wars movie which already has awesome surround sound engineering, then you may benefit from going dolby->dolby->dolby.  But for other content that doesn't have good surround then I might want to go stereo->stereo->vizio and let the vizio generate the surround effect (which it's really good at doing...).  There's just no single optimal setting for all content. You may find better results if you go with a single brand like samsung for TV and soundbar, or go with a higher end 5.1 system.  That's probably my next purchase as I want better front-stage sound than a lower end soundbar can provide.

 

For me, the audio auto-detect feature on the new x1 is great _IF_ your Samsung has the optimal sound input already configured.  On the Samsung, you have two options for the input: bitstream or pcm.  If you have bitstream configured on the Samsung, then the x1 will auto-detect this and set your cable box to output Dolby Digital 5.1.  If you have PCM configured on the Samsung, auto-detect will just give you stereo PCM output.  If you have a setup similar to mine, you probably want Dolby 5.1 configured.

 

Then on the Samsung you have two choices for your output to the soundbar: PCM or Dolby Digital.  If you really want to get confused, just go down the rabbit hole which is HDMI ARC and Dolby Digital +.  I dare you.   I keep it simple and use digital optical from the Samsung to the Vizio, and then use the Vizio remote to fine-tune the audio for my environment. The Vizio is very good at optimizing the input source but the surprise for me was that from the Samsung -> Vizio the best quality comes from using the PCM setting for the output, not Dolby Digital.  When I try the Dolby Digital output I get good surround effect only when it's provided by the source.  When I use PMC output the Vizio seems to do a very good job of taking a stereo input and then forcing the surround effect.  The Dolby output from the Samsung also seems too "clean" to me with less background noise and detail than I get with PCM.  Dolby is good if you want to listen to the broadcasters talk during a football game, but PCM gives you the feeling of being inside the stadium. 

 

Overall, this is the best A/V upgrade I've experienced since the migration to HD and flat screens.  xfinity is doing a very good job at keeping me from cutting the cord.  I get to take advantage of Samsung apps to get youtube and other HD content via the internet, xfinity gives me good value for the cable content I want, and then xfinity gives me a decent streaming app for phone/iPad.  When I compare the customer service, price, and technolgy of comcast in 2000 vs 2018 it's incredible - they've really responded to the challenge of satlelite and internet, and the customer is benfitting big time.

 

Couple of other footnotes: 

- Be careful not to get a screen that's too large for your space.  There's an optimal size based on seating distance, and it's really noticable with high-def screens.  If you're only sitting 8' from your screen, you don't want a 65" TV.  

- Hardwire your Samsung using ethernet cable if you plan to use Samsung's apps to watch content.  Don't try and push that content over wifi if you can avoid it. 

- consider OLED if you have wide-angle seating positions.  The picture quality on LED falls off  quickly as you leave the "sweet spot" directly in front of the TV.  OLED fixes this, but has downsides if the TV will take direct sunlight like mine does during the day. In that situation LED will be better.  

 

Cheers,

Rich

 

 

 

 

 

Official Employee

Re: XG1v4 + samsung 7100 = very good upgrade

Assuming you have an XR15 use the pg up for 30 second skip. If it’s not set for 30 seconds, press exit 3 times and 0030

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New Poster

Re: XG1v4 + samsung 7100 = very good upgrade

Thanks for that tip.  Looks like the default was 5min and now it's 30 sec.  Pg down goes back, pg up goes forward. Nice!   

 

My only other nitpick about the remote is the fwd button is still right under the channel down button.  If I'm watching a show on buffer, I sometimes mistakenly hit the channel change and then the buffer is gone.  This is particularly problematic with sports where I'll miss an entire chunk of the game.  Just a nitpick...  Overall it's a decent remote.

 

Silver Problem Solver

Re: XG1v4 + samsung 7100 = very good upgrade


@vegas_raiders wrote:

Thanks for that tip.  Looks like the default was 5min and now it's 30 sec.  Pg down goes back, pg up goes forward. Nice!   

 

My only other nitpick about the remote is the fwd button is still right under the channel down button.  If I'm watching a show on buffer, I sometimes mistakenly hit the channel change and then the buffer is gone.  This is particularly problematic with sports where I'll miss an entire chunk of the game.  Just a nitpick...  Overall it's a decent remote.

 


I chose to use my XR11 instead of the XR15 because I have been using it for years.  If you don't have one, they are free at your nearest Xfinity Store.

https://www.xfinity.com/support/articles/get-to-know-xr11-remote

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