Samsung SIR-TS360 Review - A Look at the Economical DirecTV High Definition Receiver

Very Inexpensive Compared to Other Models

The Samsung SIR-TS360 is a DirecTV high definition receiver/HDTV tuner, which receives over-air digital broadcasts, analog broadcasts, and digital satellite programing provided by DirecTV.  This is one of the best pieces of electronic equipment for those who like to switch between different television formats.  It also supports a number of different outputs, so it will match the current capabilities of your television.  If you're looking to purchase a low priced HD receiver, the Samsung SIR-TS360 is definitely worth your consideration.

Samsung SIR-TS360 Output Formats
As I previously mentioned, the Samsung SIR-TS360 supports multiple output formats, including 1080i, 720p, 480p, and 480i.  The great thing about this is the receiver will work with almost any television.  You don't have to mix and match the high definition receiver with your TV to make sure that it will work.  It already supports all of the major formats.  This is also beneficial because even if you have HD, not all DirecTV channels are broadcast in HD.  There are some that are only available in standard definition.  The Samsung SIR-TS360 makes it possible for you to switch between these different types of formats without any problems.  You can have a LCD, Plasma, DLP or CRT television and this receiver will support it.

The Samsung SIR-TS360 also has a 7-day Advanced program guide that integrates analog and digital signals.  This makes for a seamless transition when switching between formats.  In my opinion, it can be annoying when you're switching between a HD and standard definition channel, where it takes about 5 seconds to successfully change the channel.  It just looks like the TV is working really hard to go from high definition to standard definition, or the other way around.  This receiver eliminates that inconvenience, the transition between formats is unnoticeable.

Functions and Features
The Samsung SIR-TS360 has a number of different functions that really benefit the consumer.  First of all, it has a search function within the guide, so you can easily search for specific shows, actors, actresses, or movies.  This is one feature that I really get a lot of use out of with my DirecTV package.  If you have specific shows you want to watch, but you don't know what time they're on, you can simply use the search function to find the shows you're looking for.  Once you've type in the name of the show (or movie, actor, etc.), you'll see when the show is set to air, along with what channel it's on.  You don't have to manually go through the guide searching for a specific program; the search function makes it easy to find whatever you're looking for.

Another cool feature is the picture-in-guide window, which allows you to continue watching a program while you are using the guide.  What happens is the guide menu appears, but there's a smaller window in one of the corners of the screen, which shows the program you're currently watching.  The audio also continues to play, so you don't have to miss anything while you're using the guide.  This really comes in handy when watching sporting events, especially the NFL.  Since most of the games are played on Sunday, you can have a number of games being played at the same time.  With this feature, you can still see and hear one game, while you're using the guide to see what other games are on.  This way, you don't miss any of the action.

One other feature that really helps out the consumer is the ability to schedule programs to watch.  Once you have scheduled a program, the receiver will power on and switch to the appropriate channel at the appropriate time.  That's one of the things I really disliked about watching television in the past, having to sit there and watch the clock until the show I was waiting for came on.  You won't have to do that anymore with the Samsung SIR-TS360.  Simply schedule the program you want to watch, and it'll come on when it's time.  You don't even need to have your receiver turned on, it will automatically turn on once the program is about to start.  

Product Features via

# Tunes and Decodes All 18 Approved ATSC Digital TV Broadcasts
# Audio Outputs: 1 Optical Digital Audio Output, 1 Coaxial Digital Audio Output
# Video Inputs: 1 Component, 1 Composite, 1 S-Video
# Video Outputs: 1 Component, 1 RGB, 1 DVI, 1 S-Video, 2 RCA
# RS232 Compatible
# Bilingual User Interface (English and Spanish)
# 1 VCR Control Output
# 7 Day Advanced Program Guide
# 5 Device Universal Remote
# Selectable Output Format: 1080i, 720p, 480p/i
# Quick Guide
# Logo Guide
# Picture in Guide
# Search Programming by Keyword
# Built-In Games
# Schedule to Watch
# 1 Access Card Slot
# RJ 11 Connector
# Approx. 7.74 lbs.
# Approx. 16.93" x 2.64" x 1

One other positive of this bargain priced HD receiver is that it's pretty compact (16.9 x 2.6 x 12.3 inches), so it will fit in nice alongside your TV.  It won't look clunky or out of place.  Obviously, all of the technical features are what's most important to many potential customers.  However, how a product looks is also very important to some people.  All in all, the Samsung SIR-TS360 has a number of great features, which makes it one of the best television receivers available, and is really worth a look if you're interested in buying a high definition receiver.