Samsung’s Optical Smart Hub SE-208BW, Something Old is New Again…

Samsung may have been disappointed by the reaction to their release of the Smart Media Hub DVD drive last year. No matter the reason they have released an updated drive with a slight name change and better software, producing the Optical Smart Hub SE-208BW – OSH -. Samsung may have realised that many people missed the point of the device when first released this time last year.

The Optical Smart Hub is a mini convergence device that tries to be many things to many people. By adding a Network chipset and USB functions to what is a seemingly ordinary external Optical Disk Drive – ODD – Samsung have created a new type of utility device, the Swiss Army Knife of external DVD’s. With the addition of a few chips Samsung have created a compact device that can perform network storage, backup, Wi-Fi hub, and media streaming functions with the press of a button.

As an external USB DVD – no Blu-Ray options here – it can do all of the standard duties, play back, record and generally spinning disks when connected to a PC via the USB. In this configuration the OSH acts just as any external DVD would. The twist comes when the Wi-Fi and Network functions are enabled.

The network chipset allows any DLNA compliant smart TV’s to see the device and it’s media, allowing quick access to your files. No HDMI is present so this is a streaming device only.

The connection possibilities.

Android and iOS applications are available that allow easy one button back-ups of your phone as well as simplified access to the content ,files, audio, movies or whole DVD’s. The smartphone app even allows a very controlled back-up of all data on your phone, allowing it to even be burned to a disk. The OSH loves Smartphones and Tablets, if you are a household dominated by these devices the OSH works very well in these situations.

Any USB storage connected to the OSH is made available over the network providing basic NAS – Network Attached Storage – functions.

The major downside for the Smart Hub are mainly limited to its software. Setting it up to work on your current network can be a trial, but generally these issues are limited to convincing PC’s that the OSH exist. Samsung is working hard to simplify the software so even these issues should be sorted out soon.

Still even with its flaws and with very few upgrades from the previous version, which makes this product release seem like Samsung is repeating itself, the Optical Smart Hub is an extremely useful device that could be a life saver on the road, it is the perfect device for people who aren’t interested in building a full blown home network .

The biggest problem facing the OSH though isn’t anything technical, instead it is the fact that the DVD is about to go the way of the floppy disk, extinction. Trying to sell a DVD drive in these days of Flash and Cloud storage is a little like selling beta video recorders, people tend to give you a strange confused look as you launch into the hard sell. The Optical Smart Hub SE-208BW is undoubtedly a handy little utility device, able to perform many tasks while maintaining a very compact size.

Reference: Highpants Samsung Smart Media Hub 2011 Article

Reference: Samsung Optical Smart Hub SE-208BW