"Everything is awesome, except you can't watch the videos (which defeats the purpose)"0.5 starson by heavymetal2112
Pros: Small, very user friendly, cool looking, clear video (on the LCD screen...I wouldn't know about on a PC)
Cons: Um, the video requires a "special codec" making it viewable only by the software included...which doesn't work
Summary: Well, Samsung, which usually has superior electronics that function as smooth and well as they look, has fallen victim to the software lobby which has screwed the pooch on this camcorder. Here's what I'm talking about...
It is a total snap to set up, learn to use, and use this sleek, cool-looking, and small camcorder. It is equally as easy to transfer videos to your PC, which is a huge downfall of every other camcorder. With the SC-HMX10C (which was featured on Oprah as one of her top 10 favorite things this holiday season), it is literally as easy as hooking up a USB port and "cut and paste" the videos to your desired folder. The videos can be recorded in a range of clarity from HD, all the way down to standard definition economy. The videos are all recorded in .MP4 format. Here's the kicker, and where Samsung screwed up and sold out...
The videos are recorded with a certain codec, which is essentially a formatting code programmed into the video file that allows the video to be viewed only by certain video players. In this case, the only software that can view the Samsung SC-HMX10's videos is the cheap, annoyingly poor quality Cyberlink DVD Suite software that comes with the camcorder. And for $763 that you'll pay for the camcorder (that's what I paid with taxes), they don't even give you the "real" version...you have to upgrade to (read: pay for) that version. And it just so happens that the version that comes with the camcorder will only play the audio...not the video. And it will only even do THAT by right clicking on the video file and choosing "Open With" and the included software. I guess Samsung got lobbied by Cyberlink to codec the videos so you had to use their software to view it and Samsung caved. It even states right in the user's manual, "Use the provided software to play back the movie images in theh PC. The movie images recorded on your HD camcorder may not be played back in other software" (p. 92). It's akin to creating an otherwise SWEET camcorder and coding the video so that only RealPlayer (PC World's #2 worst tech product of all time) could play it. My older Olympus camera records videos in .MP4 format and Quicktime always plays those videos with no problem at all. But with Samsung's specially coded .MP4s both Quicktime and even iTunes lock up and/or crash if I try to view the videos with those. The only way I can watch the videos is by converting them to an .avi using a free program called Super by eRightSoft...an easy, but annoying process. And the videos are then highly pixelated and not even close to HD or even standard definition video quality.
(NOTE: I have not yet tried to play videos directly from my camcorder to my TV, nor have I tried burning the videos I copied to my PC to a DVD and watching them)
So now I have a cool, sleek, $763 camcorder that will cost me over $100 in "repackaging fees" if I return it that is absolutely worthless because I can't watch the videos it takes that are easily transferable to my PC.
It makes you wonder why companies like Samsung that have an otherwise totally superior product would cave in and make its playback versatility so exclusive that it is (at least in my case) unusable.
I did call Samsung customer support and hardly waited at all to talk with a "Level 1" support tech (meaning, they basically have a FAQ that they're familiar with to answer most customer support issues) that spoke pretty good english. Unfortunately, since this camcorder is so new, she had no resources to draw from so I had to be transferred to a "Level 2" support tech (someone with a more detailed, working knowledge of a group of items). Unfortunately, they're only open from 9am-9pm on weekdays (it's Saturday as I write this).
A word to Samsung QA and every other company out there that has anything to do with video files: There are only two media players worth a darn - Windows Media Player and Quicktime. If your videos aren't 100% compatible with either or both, then they're a waste...
...just like the Samsung SC-HMX10C unfortunately. I gave it the worst rating (1) because I can't watch the videos it's supposed to be taking. As I stated in the one-line summary above, having a camcorder in which you cannot view the videos is rather self-defeating.
Any other questions, you can contact me at headbanger51 at yahoo dot com. I hope someone from Samsung does contact me, because the issue of having videos specially coded so that only ONE player (the cheap, poorly programmed, and non-fully capable version) can view said videos is an issue of biblical proportions in its annoyance.
If I were running things at Samsung QA, I'd at least post a downloadable codec on their website to install into Quicktime to make the videos viewable.
I hope this was helpful.Updated
In my review (which should be above or adjacent to this one) I stated that the included software with the SC-HMX10C is only partially functional and that you have pay for the fully functional version if you want it is inaccurate. There are buttons to "upgrade," however, this appears to just be a function of adding software updates.
Nevertheless, I still cannot play any of the videos I have downloaded to my PC with the included software, or any other. So I stand by my original rating of 1 since the camcorder is, essentially, useless.Updated
Well, here is update #2, making this post #3 on the Samsung SC-HMX10. After being frustrated out of my skull at what an absolutely fantastic, easy to use, user-friendly camcorder that won't let you view the videos you take after you've downloaded them to your PC, I've made a breakthrough. The software that comes with the Samsung SC-HMX10 (actually the SC-HMX10C as labeled on the box) is the CyberLink DVD Suite, which is three programs bundled as one: Power Director, Power Producer, and Power DVD. When you download the movies from the camcorder to your computer, which is a snap by the way, you can't watch the movies simply by clicking on their icons. Frustratingly enough, you cannot just open CyberLink DVD Suite and watch it either, because there is no internal media player option to view the file...only options to create, edit, or watch DVDs. However, if you open Power Director (which is very similar to Windows Movie Maker that comes standard with Windows) and import your movies, you can watch them using a "Preview with media player" function. Sound a little annoying or procedurally intensive just to watch a movie? Yes it is. But at least I can watch my movies (and maximize them to full screen). So I will upgrade this camcorder from a 1 to a 3; a 3 because I can actually watch my movies, and so far they're pretty crisp if not requiring a bit more light than I'd prefer, but still only a 3 since I have to go through the aforementioned hassle just to watch my movies.
As a sidenote, the software included does appear to be fully functional, but regarding my previous update, you do have to pay to upgrade to "the real thing." Not good.
It could be that the movies were never meant to be watched "raw" but rather edited first. If that is the case, I still stand by my disappointing 3 because it should NOT be this difficult just to watch the movies I'm recording with an otherwise second-to-none camcorder. This happens to be the big, fatal flaw, Samsung. I hope you're listening.Updated
Probably my last update for awhile, but I spoke at length with a customer support rep regarding my problem. Samsung tech support was very friendly. However, even the best and brightest I could talk to could not figure out why the videos will not play on my computer. They tried sending me codecs via email, and after they were installed, the video would not play. We tried everything and in the end, I requested that Samsung accept a refund. That's where it stands now. I hope to hear back from them soon. But as I told them, I go to Iraq this week, so I doubt it will be resolved before I go. You'd think Samsung would have really worked this issue fully before launching the SC-HMX10, however, I feel that it was released early to make the holiday rush.
If you've read all of this so far, I commend you! I hope this has helped.