249 of 263 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pay the extra $ over the 6300 even if you don't want 3D
This is a superb TV with lots of connection options. It is also 3D.
About the 3D. I did not buy this TV for the 3D capability. I think it is a gimmick. After viewing some 3D content off the Samsung app, I still think it is a gimmick. Sure, it is fun to watch for a little bit. But the 3D experience on a TV is not like at IMAX. There are too many other things in...
Published 4 months ago by Georgia
60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Watch out for cloudy images -- and send it back right away!
I am not an expert when it comes to TVs, so when it came to deciding on a new 55 inch HDTV, I simply wanted a great picture from a solid company. I researched quite a bit and decided on Samsung as they have the reputation of a high end company with quality service and reliable products.
When the TV first arrived I was quite pleased. The screen size was ideal...
Published 1 month ago by Christopher J. Grossman
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249 of 263 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pay the extra $ over the 6300 even if you don't want 3D,
About the 3D. I did not buy this TV for the 3D capability. I think it is a gimmick. After viewing some 3D content off the Samsung app, I still think it is a gimmick. Sure, it is fun to watch for a little bit. But the 3D experience on a TV is not like at IMAX. There are too many other things in the room that distract you from the picture.
However, you should still buy this TV. It costs about $100 more than the 6300 (or 6350) but is well worth it? Why? Because for that money you get "micro-dimming". This feature is worth it! The blacks are really black and the picture works well even in a brightly lit room (and my room has lots of windows). Also, the micro-dimming removes glare. Here is how that works. When the TV is off, there is a lot of glare on my screen. Turn on the TV and the glare disappears. Amazing.
You can read other reviews for the optimum settings. I am connected to a Yamaha receiver using a single HDMI cable on the ARC (Audio Return Channel) and I get great 5.1 surround sound.
What if you pay more? You gain little (some more 3D glasses) by going up one step to the 7100 (7050). Go up to the 7500 and you get better micro-dimming. The 8000 gives you even better micro-dimming. The 9000 is a 4K TV. In my mind none are worth the substantial cost increase for the features that are added.
In summary, for me this TV is the best value in the Samsung line. A superb picture and plenty of features for a very reasonable price.
142 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Quality,
This review is from: Samsung UN46F6400 46-Inch 1080p 120Hz 3D Slim Smart LED HDTV (Electronics)Finally decided to upgrade from a 4 year old Samsung LCD 6 Series and thought this would be the perfect replacement. Picture quality is crisp and I've yet to throw something at it that it couldn't handle with a 120hz refresh rate although 240hz seems to be the new hype I have trouble really seeing a difference which makes it hard to justify the premium price for it, although this TV is a little on the pricey side it's great for what you pay. Can't judge 3D capability entirely but gave it a whirl using a PlayStation 3 and I must see for at home 3D it's pretty impressive. The TV has an abundance of apps ranging from Facebook to Amazon on demand with more being added as they go. For its size the TV feels incredibly light and is sleek and very thin. The functionality of the remote is a great idea, touch pad, voice recognition, I figured the voice recognition would have been shoddy but it seems to usually get things correct.I was on the fence about this TV but I'm really glad I took the chance, I couldn't be happier with it!
Although I got the TV for its 2D capability I've gotten a chance to thoroughly view some 3D content and I'm pretty amazed with the 3D quality of this TV. It's no movie theater experience but for something that sits in your home it is very impressive. I would like to also note that trying some other 3D glasses in stores from other manufacturers such as LG and Panasonic the 2 included Samsung 3D glasses seem to be the most comfortable, granted extended period of use may hurt your eyes, they are very lightweight so it's not as bothersome.
107 of 116 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING PICTURE, BUT SMARTHUB'S NETWORK SLOWNESS RUINS THE EXPERIENCE! (UPDATE: IT'S GOTTEN BETTER!),
This review is from: Samsung UN50F6400 50-Inch 1080p 120Hz 3D Slim Smart LED HDTV (Electronics)I bought this TV for the plethora of glowing reviews it received for its picture performance. I also bought it because it had built-in Wi-Fi. The picture quality is simply amazing! Scenes broadcast in HD look as if they're almost 3D, and by that I mean everything is so clear with unbelievable depth that it makes it look like people and things being broadcast are in the room with you! I previously owned a Panasonic Viera plasma TV, and I can honestly say this Samung LED TV has an even better picture. I didn't think any other current TV technology (except 4K) could touch a plasma. I was wrong. I can't say enough about the picture quality.
Now for the bad/sad part. The Samsung SmartHub and its network ruins the total experience of this otherwise fantastic TV. The wifi connected easily and works pretty well for direct Internet surfing. HOWEVER, when you try to use the SmartHub to view streaming content from Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster, etc, it is ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE! I have upgraded broadband service from my cable provider so my network connection is plenty fast. However, when I tried to use Netflix, Blockbuster and Amazon Instant Video through my new Samsung TV/SmartHub, my streaming video would constantly pause/stop. At first I thought it was my network connection, so I tried to play the exact same HD movie on Netflix through my Wi-Fi enabled LG Blu-Ray player and it streamed perfectly. Let me say that again: The same movie on Netflix - - through Samsung SmartHub = SLOW/PAUSE/STOP; through my LG WiFi Blu-Ray player = SMOOTH, NO HICCUPS (remember, both are using the same WiFi signal being transmitted by my router).
PLEASE do your own due diligence before investing in ANY Samsung product that touts its SmartHub if you plan to use it to watch streaming video, whether it's a TV, DVD or Blu-Ray player. There are many web pages, websites and forums which discuss the DISMAL performance of the SmartHub network (should be renamed "SlowHub"!!). There's even one called "OFFICIAL Samsung Smart Hub Fiasco Thread." For as fantastic as 99% of Samsung products are (I currently own/use 9 other Samsung products such as the Galaxy Note and Epic and I love them), I have to think that they have subcontracted their "SlowHub" service to a Third party. If the quality of the network was as good as their hardware/physical products, it would work smoothly and lightning fast.
To be fair, if Samsung actually listens to its users/customers and actually fixes/upgrades its SmartHub network to actually make it perform acceptably, then I will update my review to reflect that fact. Lastly, I was on the verge of returning this TV because of SmartHub's atrocious and revolting performance, but my better half and I loved the picture so much AND we had an alternate means to stream videos to the TV (vice using SlowHub) that it we decided to keep it.
BOTTOM LINE: If you plan to use this or any other Samsung LED TV to simply watch TV for the superb picture, you'll be happy. BUT, if you plan to use the SmartHub and its "features," you will be SORELY DISAPPOINTED. Picture = 5 stars; SmartHub = 1 star (would give it '0' or '1/2' if Amazon had those as selections).
Ok, so I just got home from my business trip. To answer a previous question, the TV does have a LAN port. However, I have not tested it. I don't think I'm going to test it anytime soon as my TV is 50+ feet away from my home computer and router setup (where I have to plug in the LAN cable). If I happen upon a spool of Ethernet cable somewhere for free, I'll connect it. However, I don't really feel like moving either my computer/router setup or my 50" TV just to test the LAN connection.
I did check again to see if Samsung released any software updates to the TV, and they did on 27 NOV 2013. They released Firmware ver.1117.4, T-MST12AKUC. I downloaded it directly through the TV's Wi-Fi connection, then installed it. Everything seems to have installed ok.
The FIRST thing I checked was the performance of the Amazon Prime Video App through the SmartHub. The time was approximately 09:30 a.m., so I assumed it was off-peak hours for cable bandwidth demand. I was actually surprised as it appeared to be working marginally better. At least this time the HD video ("The Avengers") DID NOT pause or stop. That IS forward progress. HOWEVER, the picture was NOT HD i.e. it was grainy and "blocky" (I believe they call it the `screen door effect').
My next test was to compare the Samsung SmartHub streaming video performance against my Roku 3 Streaming Media Player device. I was hoping that my Roku 3 was going to show similar performance to the SmartHub, BUT it again showed the HD Avengers movie with much better quality. Through my Samsung SmartHub = low resolution/grainy/screen door effect; through my Roku 3 = high quality HD like it was supposed to be. Again, at least the movie DID NOT pause or stop using the SmartHub Amazon Prime Movie App.
My second set of tests later in the evening at approximately 08:30 p.m. (which I assumed was a more peak cable bandwidth time on Saturday evening) involved trying the Netflix App through the Samsung SmartHub (using the same movie, The Avengers in HD). When I started the Netflix App through SmartHub, it started a little slow. I started the HD movie and I was again "not surprised" by the low resolution picture. HOWEVER, after about 45 seconds, the picture cleared up SUBSTANTIALLY and it was in HD! No pausing/skipping/stopping. I actually had to stop the movie to double check that I was NOT using my Roku 3, and that I was actually using the Netflix SmartHub App, and I was.
Ok, now I was starting to believe that maybe the software/firmware update actually fixed something, OR they improved their SmartHub network performance between SEP '13 and 11-29-2013. So just for S&Gs, I went BACK to the Amazon Prime Video App through the SmartHub, and resumed playing The Avengers where I left off. Again the App started a slowly, but then `booted up' after about 40 seconds (about 30 seconds slower than my Roku 3). Then the movie resumed and lo and behold if it wasn't in HD! I was standing beside myself! Even my better half couldn't believe it (as she saw how horrible it used to be).
The last litmus test of the evening (at approximately 09:15 p.m.) was to try to stream an HDX movie through VUDU using the Samsung SmartHub. I started the VUDU App through the SmartHub, and it `booted up' faster than Amazon Prime Video App or Netflix App. I really wasn't looking forward to having to rent a movie just to test the VUDU SmartHub App, but to my surprise they had a sale of HDX movies for $4.99 and $7.99 (must be a Black Friday related sale). My better half hadn't seen Wrath of the Titans and I also thought it might give the SmartHub a good test with its healthy offering of CGI and eye-popping colors. Ok, the movie was pretty entertaining, but the thing I was looking for was how it played and how it looked through the SmartHub VUDU App. We were pleasantly surprised that the movie queued up quickly, didn't pause/skip/stop and looked like it played in the max quality "HDX" mode.
BOTTOM LINE: As of today, 11-30-2013, after downloading and installing the Firmware update, the prior issues I was having with the "SlowHub" appear to have been resolved. I haven't drilled down yet on the specifics of what the Firmware update `fixed' and how it did it, but I'm just happy with the outcome at this point. I will continue to test it for several more days to ensure it doesn't revert back to the SlowHub. For now, I have upgraded my rating to 4 Stars from 3. This was a substantial 'fix' in my opinion. However Samsung received its feedback, whether from direct customer complaints, Blogs or product reviews on Amazon, it appears they finally took action to address the 'SlowHub' issues. As I close this reply/update, I am happy to say that I believe the SmartHub is on its way to living up to its name! The only reason I'm not giving a full 5 Stars at this point is I still want to ensure this better performance continues, and it did take several months to fix the issues my TV was having.
60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Watch out for cloudy images -- and send it back right away!,
When the TV first arrived I was quite pleased. The screen size was ideal for my living room and the picture was good -- not great, but good. The best way to view the TV was by sitting in the center, as the colors did seem to fade a bit if you watched from the side. While 3D was not my motivation for buying this model, I did feel it was a nice addition. And, there is no other way to say it, the 3D is exceptionally impressive. Much better than I expected.
My issue arose in the first two weeks as I noticed that, when viewing darker images, there were large cloudy areas that extended from the edges of the TV. Sports and such was fine as they typically consist of continuous bright images, but the problem would continue to be evident with movies and shows that had a darker theme. The cloudy areas never moved -- they were always stable, and they extended about 1/3 from each edge (direct center of screen was fine).
Rather than immediately send the TV back, I contacted Samsung as I figured they would handle the issue and resolve it (plus I really didn't want to have to go through the return process if it was an issue that could be resolved). The customer service individual was very helpful as they assisted me in scheduling a tech to come and check the issue. About a week later, the tech arrived and I shared the problem. He said he was familiar with the issue and, after looking at my TV for about 1 minute, said he would have to call Samsung to see if they would authorize the repair (they promptly declined). He said that previously he ordered new panels with no issue, but that recently he had been instructed to not repair what they were calling "uneven brightness." I was told that Samsung considers the picture normal unless the defect is visible 100% of the time. So, if the issue only occurs when the screen is darker, it's considered normal.
I know another person who had bought the same model and they had not had this issue, so I called Samsung after the tech visited. The first individual I spoke to was very helpful, understood my frustration, and said that a replacement should be OK as I had only had the TV a few weeks. He noted the issue on my account and had me call another number to have the replacement handled. When I called that number, the rep told me that she could find no record of my discussion with the other rep, and that all she saw was that the tech department considered my unit normal. She said that nothing could be done and that whoever I spoke to previously would not have been authorized to offer a replacement in the first place. End of discussion.
Fortunately, I contacted Amazon as it was still within 30 days, and they had no issue processing a return due to this defect. Initially I was going to just do an exchange for the same model as I obviously got a bad one. However, after seeing how Samsung failed to stand by their product, I really could not continue to support their business. I understand that I probably just got a lemon, but it's those instances that I feel truly test a company's commitment to their standards and customer service. In this instance, Samsung failed exceptionally. In the end, I went with a plasma model from a different brand, and the picture has proven to be amazing.
If you do go with this TV, you probably won't have an issue as it does seem that most people are fine. However, it's important to really test your TV out when you get it. If you do notice this issue, you'll want to return it to Amazon right away. Don't bother contacting Samsung -- they won't help you and the process could extend you beyond Amazon's 30 day policy to avoid restocking/shipping charges.
Hope this helps those fellow shoppers who just want a high quality picture! Good Luck.
124 of 148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top of the line 40 inch samsung and the picture shows it,
This review is from: Samsung UN40F6400 40-Inch 1080p 120Hz 3D Slim Smart LED HDTV (Electronics)This tv is hands down in my opinion the best you can buy in a 40 inch model for 2013. I bought the un40f6300 for my bedroom and the un40f6400 for my living room. Both are great tv's however out of curiosity i put them side by side just to compare the difference in picture and the 6400 3d model definately had deeper blacks and a better contrast in colors making for a overall better looking picture.This was done with both tv's on the same settings and both using the same feed wich is dish network and hd receivers. The 3d on the 6400 is amazing ! I own a panasonic 55st30 with active 3d and in my opinion the 3d on this samsung looks even better. I compared the 3d quality watching avatar 3d. There is nothing about the new samsung i dont love and i had to give it a 5 star rating. It has the coolest remote i've seen also and all the tv feautures work terrific. I can even use my wireless keyboard to navigate the web rather then the remote if i want and it works great. Seriously if you are interested in this television but not sure if its the one, i can assure you i am very particular and i looked at every 40 inch led there is and this one had the best picture of any 40 inch led on the market today. Hope i was of help for those that are trying to make a decision..
37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 weeks use and loving it!,
When the TV was turned on the first time, we were instantly impressed!! Our previous Samsung 46 LCD - was 4 years old and had been purchased through Amazon. A nice picture improvement going from LCD to LED. Paper manual is limited.
TV found my wireless router setting easily. I was able to pair my wireless Apple keyboard to this TV. With my Medialink N Router, internet speed on TV is okay - the option of using TV for website use is sufficient and I had fun trying it out.
I did download to my ipad the Samsung App THX tune-up. It was helpful and I did make some adjustments from the factory setting.
The TV settings are fairly easy to navigate. I plugged in to 3 of the 4 HDMI ports: Apple TV, Roku and Samsung Blu-Ray player. Mirroring Apple TV to Samsung is easy and so great to stream TV shows from apps such as ABC, NBC and CBS for example.
I was disappointed as I had used my Bose wave radio (which is approx 8-9 yrs old) on my previous Samsung TV - which amplified the TV sound very nicely, but am unable to use the red/white cables to get a sound through the Bose from this TV. From googling, other Bose radio owners have had similar difficulty - something to do with the difference in technology in hooking it up. I dont quite understand all of it.
So far, this TV is doing everything I expected it to do. Sharp picture with the cinema screen, peripheral hardware works well through the HDMI ports. Internet use with paired keyboard is easy to use and fun to try, no problems noted with internet connection quality.
45 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great TV... if you've never owned a Plasma,
This review is from: Samsung UN60F6400 60-Inch 1080p 120Hz 3D Slim Smart LED HDTV (Electronics)My last 2 TVs have been plasmas, and while I adored the picture quality and natural, cinematic motion, I grew annoyed with having to obsess over the possibility of burn-in or image retention. I know, I know... today's plasmas are practically worry-free in the area of burn-in. Except that my 2011 Samsung got it from some weather delay announcements during the break-in period (when I wasn't around to monitor). It's still on there to this day, though luckily you have to look pretty hard to notice. Plus there was the infamous "buzz" noise that many plasma owners have had to suffer through, seemingly at random (some people hear it, others don't, it depends on elevation or your viewing angle, etc., etc.). Plus the super glossy screen basically turned into a flashlight during the day, reflecting any and all light sources coming from the window. Due to all of these factors, I jumped onto the LED-LCD bandwagon. I was immediately disappointed.
Now I must admit that I am a mid-range home theater level snob/elitist. Many of you will no doubt be completely satisfied by this TV, particularly if you have never owned a plasma. Those of you who would prefer to continue your life looking through LED-lit glasses might want to stop reading. Here goes...
NEGATIVES: Off-angle viewing is incredibly poor. Even if you are practically dead center, you can still rock back and forth in your seat and see the black bars turn lighter. When I stand up to get a snack or something, I can see the screen get lighter, and anybody who visits and is not sitting directly in front of the TV will have washed-out colors to look forward to. Screen uniformity is okay, but there are bluish blobs on the sides of the screen that are glaringly apparent during dark scenes. No matter what picture settings you tweak, they will always be there. Now it's possible that those are unique to my particular screen, but I doubt it. There is also a bit of "flashlighting" in the corners, though you can only see it during dark scenes.
Motion is just awful compared to Plasma. I have tried every setting. The one that works the best is Custom, Blur Reduction at 10 and Judder Reduction to 0 (as suggested by CNET for the previous year's model). Having AutoMotion turned on with anything other than this setting induces the infamous soap opera effect, which apparently many people do not even notice. High def programming looks good with AutoMotion on these custom settings (though there is still occasionally a strange, "simmering" effect on faces and the occasional hitch in wide, panning shots- these problems increase if you turn the AutoMotion setting off completely).
When I switch to DVDs (on the same input, using an Onkyo TX-NR717 receiver), there is so much hitching and frame skipping in the picture that I have to switch AutoMotion from Custom to off. This could be the result of the SD material being upconverted to HD. Also, the PQ looks noticeably worse on standard def programming. The PQ settings that look great for HD suddenly look awful for upconverted DVD. On my plasmas, this was never an issue. But the imperfect motion is the real deal-breaker for me. I find it incredibly distracting. Had I not owned plasmas, I may not have even noticed. Now for my final qualm: the screen still has a pretty fair amount of glare and reflection during the day. Really doesn't seem like much of an improvement over my plasma. Apparently many of the LED-LCD screens are also glossy now in order to achieve deeper blacks.
POSITIVES: In terms of contrast, most HD programming looks almost as good as plasma. It's just too bad that the vibrant colors and fairly deep blacks are overshadowed by the unnatural motion, the poor off-angle viewing, the "flashlighting" in the corners and the bluish blobs I mentioned earlier. There's no buzz and no worrying about image retention or possible burn-in. The smart TV features suite is excellent, especially the inclusion of HBO Go. The remote is interesting, but will take some getting used to for most everyone. These features are the same on the comparable plasma models.
BOTTOM LINE: I'm a huge cinephile. I watch at least four movies a week and I love HD programming. Many of my favorite shows are still only available in SD, however, and those look noticeably worse on LCD compared to plasma. In spite of the plasma flaws I mentioned earlier, the most important aspect in selecting a TV is getting the best picture quality possible, at least as much as a person's budget will allow. I want the colors to be vibrant and the blacks as realistic as possible. I also need realistic, cinematic motion. That's why I'm going back to plasma. I knew it was a risk to switch after four years, but I didn't expect there would be so many compromises. But most people will be fine with this, especially if they've never witnessed the difference. The 60" plasma model is about $500 cheaper, has the same features and better picture quality. Sure, I may have to baby it a little during the "break-in period." But it's totally worth it to have a picture I can marvel at and which will allow me to become totally immersed in the experience again. If you think I'm being an elitist, read 90% of the LED-LCD reviews on CNET. Many of those have the same complaints I have outlined here.
I've spent some more time with the TV this week, and found that these 2 settings were causing the smeary faces effect: Digital Clean View and MPEG Noise Filter. I have turned them off and now have virtually no problems with the motion. I have the PQ looking great for HD, but Standard Def still doesn't look as good as it did on Plasma. But I don't think that's enough of a reason to return it. SD will always look like garbage compared to HD, anyway. I have the black levels looking great... the "flashlighting" is very minor and those bluish blobs I spoke of are pretty much unnoticeable except in very dark scenes, and even then, you have to look for them to find them. I do like that the TV is brighter in the daytime, even if there is still some glare from the window (or the lamp at night). It's a slight improvement for daytime viewing when compared to my last two plasmas. The off-angle viewing is poor, but that really doesn't affect me with the way I have my living room set up. All things considered, I will keep the TV and have upgraded my review to 4 stars.
37 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This TV does so many things and does them well,
This review is from: Samsung UN50F6400 50-Inch 1080p 120Hz 3D Slim Smart LED HDTV (Electronics)I have now owned my Samsung UN50F6400 for almost three months. Rather than analyzing things like picture quality (great, overall imho, although I haven't watched anything in 3D yet), I would like to focus this review on what this HDTV does. I have organized my review around the structure of the UN50F6400 menu system, which Samsung calls its SMART HUB.
The SMART HUB consists of five "screen panels" for the following TV functions:
1. Social--to connect to friends in various ways
2. Apps--to use or download apps
3. OnTV--to watch a television program from coaxial input
4. Movies & TV Shows--to purchase movies or TV shows
5. Photos, Videos & Music--to display media from a computer or phone on your wireless network or from a drive or device plugged into a USB port on the TV.
When you turn on the TV, you are taken initially to the OnTV screen panel. At the very top of the screen you will see five icons representing the five screen panel choices. Ordered from left to right, the icons and their corresponding panels appear as follows:
1. Yellow speech balloon: Social
2. Green squares: Apps
3. Blue TV: OnTV
4. Purple triangle: Movies & TV Shows
5. Red camera: Photos, Videos & Music
The icon for the panel screen you are currently viewing is encircled with a hexagon. So, when you first turn on the TV, the blue TV icon has a hexagon around it, indicating that the OnTV screen panel is active. You can navigate around the SMART HUB with either the left-right arrows on the Samsung keyboard (or remote--but I always use the keyboard) and hitting the Enter key to select the icon for the screen panel you want, or by using the mouse pad on the keyboard to move the pointer to the icon and tapping the pad to select. Or, if you are scrolling across the main screen with the left or right arrows and continue past the edge of the screen, this will take you to the next panel.
Navigating to any of the five screen panels by the above procedure is extremely easy. And, if you happen to get lost in some layer of an application and want to start over at the main SMART HUB screen, you can just press the SMART HUB button on the keyboard or remote and it will return you to the OnTV screen panel. The SMART HUB button is prominent and easy to find because it is the only colored key on the keyboard or remote.
Next, I will discuss the layout and use of each of five screen panels in the SMART HUB. I will begin with the OnTV panel, even though it is the third screen panel, because that is the default panel when you first turn on the TV or hit the SMART HUB button.
The OnTV screen panel provides two pieces of information: what is currently being streamed to your TV, and what TV shows are available for watching. If you imagine the entire screen being divided into quarters, the upper left hand quarter contains a preview of what will be displayed on your TV if you hit Enter on your keyboard. For example, if Masterpiece Theatre from your PBS station is the current audio/video source for your TV, you'll see and hear that show in an inset window that is about 25% of your total screen. The effect is similar to a Picture-in-Picture (PiP) display. If you navigate (with your mouse or arrow keys) to the PiP display and hit the Enter key on your keyboard, the PiP will expand to full-screen size.
What initially appears in the PiP window depends on the A/V source you had last selected when you were previously using the TV. So if you were watching PBS yesterday when you turned off the TV, whatever is on PBS now will appear in the window the next time you turn it on. In my case, I watch very little TV, so the A/V source I was using last is usually my A/V receiver, which I have connected to the TV through the TV's HDMI2 input-output port. (HDMI2 is the TV's HDMI port that must be selected for two-way communication, allowing audio from the TV to be amplified by my receiver as well as video from the receiver being carried to the TV.) In my set-up, I have almost every imaginable device running into my A/V receiver--a DVD player, Blu-Ray player, VHS tape player, CD carousel, cassette tape player, vinyl record turntable, and a PC. (For the record I own other A/V esoterica, including a CED VideoDisc player and a reel-to-reel tape recorder, but they aren't hooked into the system). The A/V receiver itself can be a source of Internet audio, including Pandora, Internet radio, and audio from DLNA devices in my home network. In short, when I turn on my Samsung TV, just about anything except a television signal is likely to be displayed in the PiP window.
Actually, for about two weeks when I still had cable TV, I did sometimes see a TV program in the OnTV screen, because my cable signal was routed through the A/V receiver like everything else. But, as planned, I gave up my cable TV and its hideous costs after I bought the Samsung TV, thinking the money would be better spent on a smart TV. I installed an over-the-air antenna on the roof and can get excellent HD signals from ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS and several others--14 in all--so I am not missing cable TV at all. At least not until football season starts and I do not have ESPN. :-( . I am sharing this information that might seem irrelevant to make an important point about the Samsung TV. Because I have my OTA TV signal coming into the coaxial input of the TV and everything else entering the TV via my A/V receiver connected to the HDMI2 input, if I turn on my TV after having last watched something through the receiver and the receiver has not been powered on first, the Samsung TV become unhappy and gives me the first of two unsavory messages:
"Check the device is connected properly, then try turning on the device or changing the source using the buttons below."
If I fail to heed this warning by either hitting the SOURCE button on my keyboard or remote to choose OTA Broadcast TV or by powering on my A/V receiver, the Samsung TV gives me a second warning:
(1) Check the cable connections and the settings of your source device.
(2) Press SOURCE on your remote to select connected source device."
These warnings obviously do not indicate anything fatal. It is just slightly annoying to be warned about the lack of input to HDMI2 if I don't have my receiver turned on. And there are times when I don't care to use the receiver, such as using the TV's Web browser and perfectly fine TV audio. What happens when I get the first warning is that I have to hit the ENTER key on the keyboard to clear the warning message and then hit the SMART HUB key to clear the second warning message and to be able to switch to the App screen panel to use the Web browser. Again, this is just a slight annoyance.
So much for the long aside about potential warning messages when the TV cannot detect a source.
In addition to the PiP window that displays what is currently being streamed to the TV from whatever source, The other three-quarters of the OnTV screen panel contains a number of tiles, each one containing an image of a TV show. The six tiles to the right of the PiP window display shows that are currently on, while the six tiles below the PiP display shows that are coming up. Navigating to any of these tiles with your mouse or arrows brings up more details on the show, and selecting any of the shows currently on will immediately bring up the show, full screen. I found that even when I was currently using HDMI2 as the source, selecting a show that was on would automatically change the source to OTA Broadcast TV to display the show. The Smart TV is indeed pretty smart.
One thing about the OnTV panel screen that puzzles me is how the system decides which channels to display in the 12 tiles containing the current and coming up shows. For whatever reason, the system decided to display what was currently on Fox, ABC, two PBS channels, and something called the Video on TV channel, which I have yet to figure out--all I know is that it displays video shorts from the Internet on a variety of different subjects. And the system left one of the six "currently on" tiles blank instead of displaying one of the many other available channels I get. Furthermore, on the "coming up" tiles, four different upcoming ABC shows and two upcoming CBS shows were displayed. If there is a way of controlling what appears on the "currently on" and "coming up" tiles, I haven't been able to figure out how to do this from the TV's manual. My guess is that there is a way to do this, but the method is not obvious.
If you prefer a visual format for the OnTV panel that is different from the default display I have just described, you can select one of two on-screen menu items labeled "Guide" and "Timeline View." Or, if you want to the tiles altogether to display the current source on full screen as the default, you can select that as an option by hitting the Menu key on the keyboard and choosing "Smart Features" and then "On TV Settings."
Not being a terribly social person, I have not used the first panel screen on the far left, Social. But I can describe what is there. Essentially, this panel allows you to link to your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Skype accounts to connect to your friends through these services. Note that in order to Skype, you need to install a Samsung camera model VG-STC3000/ZA, which is sold separately. Because I do have all four of these accounts, I imagine that someday I will see how well the Social panel supports them. When I get the camera I will also be able to see how well the "motion gesture" feature of this smart TV works. But at the present, I can only provide this brief description of what is available on the Social panel, not how well it works.
Oh yes, there is one other choice for the Social panel to expand your world view beyond your network of personal friends. There is a "What's Hot" option that will take you to the currently most popular videos on YouTube.
Because I discontinued our cable service, the Apps panel is the most important feature of my Samsung TV. My hope underlying the purchase of a smart TV is that I would be able to watch TV shows and movies, mostly through services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, but also from other Internet sites through a Web browser. Results so far have been mixed. The Netflix and Hulu Plus apps work just fine for the most part (note that you will have to sign up for or register your paid account with these services in order to use the TV apps). However, for reasons difficult to decipher, some of the content from these services cannot be accessed through the apps, resulting in a message indicating that you must go to the website to access the content. This kind of defeats the purpose of having a dedicated Netflix or Hulu app, in my opinion. Not to mention the inconvenience of needing to exit the app to fire up the Web browser app to navigate to Netflix or Hulu.
The other problem with looking to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. as a substitute for cable TV is that you cannot always get what you want. In particular, sporting events and individual, current episodes of TV programs are almost impossible to find on the Internet on a pay-per-view basis. The same is true for many movies. Because I am no longer a cable subscriber, I would be more than willing to purchase/rent movies, sports events, and individual episodes (or whole series) of TV shows over the Internet. I look forward to the day when all content can be purchased on a per-piece basis and I will gladly pay for it. Heck, I might even renew my cable subscription if my provider began to offer reasonable smorgasbord packages.
The unavailability of certain content (or the unwillingness of some people to pay for it) has led many people to websites such as PrimeWire.ag (formerly 1channel.ch, aka vodly.to and letmewatchthis.ch) to stream this material. If you are hoping to do this on a Samsung smart TV, you will be disappointed, because streaming such material with Samsung's provided Web browser app simply does not work well at all. Even with popup blockers, the popups and redirects from these sites make streaming impractical, if not impossible. Which is perhaps just as well, as the legality of streaming copyrighted material from such sites is highly dubious. Some say that it is legal to receive streams from these sites as long as you do not download copyrighted material, but streaming does download material into temporary files. So it is hard for me to believe that streaming videos from these sites is not in violation of copyright law. Like I said, I am frustrated by the unavailability of certain media and I look forward to the day when I can purchase anything on a per-piece basis.
To return to the App panel in general, Samsung has organized it by tiles, with the top row of tiles labeled as recommended apps. These include Netflix, Pandora, Hulu Plus, Shop TV, Explore 3D, Amazon Instant Video, CNBC Real Time, and Samsung Apps. Samsung Apps is a meta-app, designed to let you download more apps (some free, some for a dollar or two or three) from the Samsung App website. Below this top row of recommend apps are three rows of tiles labeled "My Apps." Actually, when you first browse to this panel screen, some of the tile spaces are blank--open spots for additional apps you want to download. And you can continue to another screen if you want more than three rows of apps.
The very first app in row one, column one under My Apps is the all-important Web browser, which I will say more about in a moment. Not that it is all that important, but I found it odd that this is merely one of many "My Apps" instead of one of the top row "Recommended Apps." I mean, each of the other apps does one little thing, but the browser gives you full access to the Web! Examples of other apps already loaded under My Apps are VUDU, HBO Go, Amazon Cloud Player, and some fitness apps. I was greatly disappointed to discover, during the two weeks that I was still subscribed to Comcast, that the HBO Go app could not be used because Comcast was not one of the dozen or so cable providers that allowed the app to function. This gave me another reason to unsubscribe from Comcast.
Also included in the My Apps section are Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. If you remember, these services are also available on the Social panel screen. I guess there is nothing inherently wrong with some redundancy, but this makes me wonder what the point of having the separate Social panel.
I haven't tried all of the available apps, but the ones that I have tried work as well as the apps on my Samsung Galaxy smartphone, for the most part. Logically, they should work as well. In fact, shouldn't they work a little better, given that the TV has a more powerful processor, larger screen, and external, full keyboard and mouse? You would think so, but in some cases I found the TV apps to be surprisingly primitive--as primitive as the software that I happily no longer run on the Comcast set top box that I have returned. Specifically, in cases where you think you should be able to type words into a search box with the external keyboard, instead you have to navigate with the arrow keys through a matrix of letters and numbers on the screen to spell out the words, one letter at a time. On my phone, I can always type in search terms with a virtual keyboard. In fact, I can connect a USB keyboard and mouse to my phone if I like.
This odd, primitive way of spelling words is not found in every application. Fortunately, for the Web browser app, you can use your mouse to click on the search box, which will bring up a virtual keyboard on screen, but you won't need it if you have the external keyboard. You can simply type words into the search box effortlessly with your external keyboard. (If you are using just the remote, you would have to navigate to each key on the virtual keyboard to enter letters one at a time. This is why you should definitely invest in the external keyboard, which is very nice.)
For Netflix and Hulu, however, searching for movies and shows will feel like you are using 1980s VCR technology. The Netflix app presents you with a matrix of letters with a-f in the first row, g-l in the second, m-r in the third, etc. You cannot use the mouse to select letters--you must use the arrow keys to navigate to a letter and then hit enter to select it. So, when I searched for Napoleon Dynamite, I first selected n, and then a, etc. As you select each letter, the app will immediately list all of the titles with the letters you have entered so far. So, you might not have to enter 17 characters (including the space) before Napoleon Dynamite appears in the list of movies. Still, this is a terribly awkward way of searching for movie titles.
Hulu searching is similar to Netflix's, except that the letters a-z are all laid out horizontally on the same line of the screen instead of as a matrix. I found this neither better nor worse than the Netflix layout. Both are equally insane. In contrast, if you launch the Web browser app and go to Hulu Plus, you can click in the search box with the mouse and use your external keyboard to type in the name of the title you want to search for. Why can't the dedicated Netflix and Hulu apps work the same way?
In summary, I think that Samsung provides a nice set of apps that generally function just fine. Furthermore, most of them are free. I was surprised, though, that some apps required me to point and click on on-screen letters to spell out words instead of allowing me to type the words with my Samsung keyboard. This method works but is clunky, and hopefully the apps will be updated some day to support the normal use of the keyboard.
Movies & TV Shows
The Movies & TV Shows panel screen is the location dedicated to the renting and purchasing of movies and TV shows (surprise, surprise). This panel displays within a fairly large window on the left half if the screen a "Featured Movie." I have no idea what criteria are used to select the featured movie, but it changes regularly. To the right of the featured movie are a set of tiles that contain "Recommended" movies and TV shows. Again, who knows how these are chosen? Perhaps the featured and recommended listings are initially based on what is popular in the overall population of Samsung users and eventually becomes tailored based upon what you watch. That's my best guess, anyway.
The menu at the very bottom of the panel screen displays the following choices, from left to right: Favorites, Featured, Movies, TV Shows, and Purchased. Clicking on any of these menu items will present you with a display of tiles, each containing a still picture of a movie or TV show. You also have an option of sorting by genre. Nothing surprising here; I'm not sure what else a menu should contain or how else it might function.
What is stunningly surprising, however, is that the main screen panel does not contain a search box to search for movies or TV shows by title. Huh? You mean if I want to search specifically for Napoleon Dynamite, I have to click the Movies link and then browse through pages of tiles in the comedy genre to find this movie? The setup of the Movies & TV panel screen seems to be optimized for people who do not know what they want to watch and are happy to browse through dozens of suggestions until they find one that looks good to them. Very, very odd.
But, it turns out that there is a way to search for specific movies or TV shows, and you do not have to be on the Movies & TV shows panel screen to conduct such a search. You can do a search from any screen by pressing the SEARCH button on the Samsung keyboard. If you do not have the Samsung keyboard, I'm not sure if there is another way to do this.
However, when you want to search for a movie this way, the Samsung software will give you far more information than you want. In addition to listing movies with titles similar to the one you are looking for, the software will also display what it thinks are relevant results from photos, videos, and music on your home network. Very curious. Furthermore, the software has an unfathomable algorithm for deciding what content is relevant to your search. When I typed in "Oz" (expecting to see Wizard of Oz-related movies), among the results were a picture on one of my networked computers labeled Colors of Love (it is a graphic of John Lee's love styles), a BBC program on consumers, and Joni Mitchell's song, A Case of You. Somebody needs to tune up that search engine.
By the way, I was able to locate a DVD of Napoleon Dynamite for sale with this method. It turned out that this would be my only option for viewing the movie, because Netflix and Hulu do not provide it. This underscores a problem with depending on those services--they have a lot of movies and TV shows, but not all of them. Vote for Pedro--maybe he can do something about this.
Photos, Videos, & Music
The Photos, Videos, & Music panel screen is, obviously, dedicated to displaying photos and playing videos and music. The source of these media can be a device plugged into one of the USB slots in the back of the TV or any DLNA device in your home networked. The main menu provides you (again, obviously) with three choices: Photos, Videos, or Music. Once you begin using this panel, it will display through a set of tiles what it calls "Enjoyed Content" (translation: media that you have accessed previously--whether you enjoyed it or not). If you want to access media that you have not previously accessed, you can browse through the relevant folders of the source of your media in the usual fashion. I suppose you could search for material by name with the SEARCH key on the keyboard, although I would not recommend this (see comments on searching in the previous section). Overall, this panel screen works fine. I had no problem displaying/playing media from either a USB drive or a computer on my home network.
Additional Thoughts and Final Comments
There are scads of features on the smart TV that I have not tried yet or decided not to include in this already lengthy review of the SMART HUB panel screens. One area I want to explore more thoroughly in the near future is the interconnectivity of the TV with other Samsung devices, especially my Galaxy 4 phone. There's a feature called Screen Mirroring that will project whatever my phone is doing onto the Samsung TV. When Screen Mirroring is activated, if I check my email, browse the Web, display a picture, play music, play a movie, or play a game on my phone, what I normally see and hear on the phone will also be seen and heard on the TV. (The phone will continue to display images but not duplicate the audio that is now output from the TV.) I found this feature to work well with still images, but I had inconsistent success with displaying movies this way. Connecting the phone with an HDMI cable is probably a better choice for projecting movies.
Another connectivity feature, called Samsung Link (aka Samsung Allshare Play), allows file sharing and playing among all of your registered devices. This might seem somewhat redundant with Screen Mirroring (both allow you to project pictures and play movies and music from your phone onto the TV) and also redundant with the Photos, Videos, & Music panel screen on the TV (which pulls files from networked devices as opposed to projecting files from your phone to the TV). There are two differences. First, with Samsung Link, in addition to your phone you can also register a tablet, laptop, and/or desktop PC (regardless of brand) as well as cloud storage such as Google Drive and Dropbox, allowing sharing among all of these devices. Second, in contrast to Screen Mirroring, which projects the current activity of your phone onto the TV, Samsung Link is specifically for sharing files and playing media files across devices. You get to designate folders that can be accessed on each device through Samsung Link. This feature seems to work well, although the program seems to be forever asking me whether it is okay to give access to a detected, registered device on the network that I had previously approved.
One last topic I want to address is the interaction between my Samsung smart TV and my Pioneer SC-1222-K A/V Receiver, which I purchased about two and a half months before I bought the TV. This dual purchase resurrected an old issue I experienced when I bought my first Samsung HDTV (model HLN5065wx-xaa) and Pioneer VSX-55txi "A/V" receiver back in 2004. (I put the "A/V" in quotes because the only video this receiver could input and output was through Firewire. And that was in theory--I never got it to work with any of the Firewire devices in my system.) The issue I had back then was, "Which device should serve as the main hub of my home entertainment system?" The sound produced by the receiver was obviously of much higher quality, suggesting that all of my audio components should feed into it. But my HDTV had both video and audio inputs, so it wasn't clear whether I should feed both video and audio from my cable box, DVD player, VCR, and HTPC into the TV, or to feed only the video into the TV while running the audio through my receiver. I eventually opted for the latter, as the accompanying hassles seemed to be slightly less. This choice did require purchasing a separate DVI switchbox to choose with a mini-remote which video device would be projecting to the TV, and using the receiver remote to choose the audio source. But at least I could leave the TV set on DVI input, which was the highest quality video input available. The alternative would have been to use the TV remote to choose among the DVI and various component and analog input channels while leaving the receiver set on monitoring the audio from the TV set. I had the system wired to work either way, but almost always made the receiver the hub, the center for choosing audio input.
I thought I could better resolve the battle between my TV and receiver as the hub of the home entertainment system by eventually buying an A/V receiver with multiple HDMI inputs and an HDMI output to the TV. When newegg put the Pioneer on sale for less than half-price, I bought it immediately and thought I would be satisfied with converting the HDMI output to DVI for my old Samsung HDTV. But after a month or so I began to crave the smarter technology of the new smart TVs as well as the sensibility of a two-way HDMI connection between the receiver and TV. So, I finally broke down and got the Samsung smart TV. And I have zero regrets about this. Even though my old Samsung still functioned perfectly as a monitor, the picture on the newer Samsung is so much clearer, and the overall set is much less bulky than Samsung's first HDTV. And the two-way HDMI connection works well, even though sometimes when I want the audio from the TV to run through the receiver I have to turn the receiver off and on again. And even though the TV sometimes sends me warning messages about seeing no HDMI input from the receiver.
And even though there are still slight issues about which component is the hub of the system. Both are connected via Ethernet cables to the Internet and can access some of the same services. So, do I select Pandora on my receiver and display its menu on the TV, or do I choose the Pandora app on my TV and stream its audio to my receiver? In the end, it really does not matter, because the components do play very well together, even though they are made by different companies. The same playing nicely phenomenon exists with all of my other components, including the new Sony Blu-Ray player that I purchased at the same time as the TV, giving me yet a third option for accessing Pandora. ;-) One of these days I am going to watch Avatar on the Blu-Ray player and will find out how well the Samsung displays 3D. I have been very happy so far with what I have experienced in the first three months with my Samsung smart TV, and I look forward to exploring new features in the future. I would definitely recommend this particular model to any person who is considering it.
31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING TV,
After having this TV for a while we noticed on a few tv shows the presence of judder... which is one of the most annoying video experiences we have ever seen. We thought it was our old DVR so we spring for a new 2 tuner TiVo as our current DVR is older and we figured that might be the issue. BUT - we then noticed the judder when watching OTA tv DIRECT from the antenna input. Turns out there's an advanced visdo setting in the TV that controls the AutoMotion stuff... Changed it from "Standard" to "Clear" based on a post in the Samsung forum. It appears all judder is gone now. So - I guess it wasn't judder, just looked like judder. THIS is a setting I'd change for sure! It has inspired me to read the manual as there's so many configurable things inside this tv.
This TV is terrific in a lot of ways. The picture is really amazing - which is obviously at the top of the list. No discernible pixelation on fast moving objects, action movies and sports. Blacks are BLACK and images are crisp (almost too crisp at time). The small touch pad remote is different than the typical monster with 100's of buttons. Once you get the hang of it it's pretty cool! The HDMI-CEC (the part where it talks to other components like a receiver, BD player, etc over HDMI) works really well and the tv is good at knowing what's going on and changing the inputs for you.
The "Smart Hub" features also rock too. Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, etc... all setup and stream without any issue.
In the Smart Hub, aside from the Apps there is also a "Social Center" where I guess you can Tweet, Facebook and other networks the status of "I'm watching my tv" - very exciting stuff I haven't explored yet. If you are a social network person - I suppose it's pretty cool. There's a "spend money on video content center" that is all through Samsung's media store. Haven't used it but kinda cool if you can't get what you want off your other streaming services - nice to have options. It does take an entire page of the 4 pages of the Smart Hub... but I can't blame Samsung on that one. The last page is a media sharing page - you can pull images, music and videos off a USB stick (which is stupid because the friggin USB port is in the middle of the back of the TV) or off your home network/pc or out of the cloud. A great way to show a slide show of your last vacation to friends and family that really just came over for the 3D movie you promised.
Comes with 2 - 3D glasses.
Mounted on the wall with Mount-it! MI-701 Super Slim Wall Mount for 32-60 Inch LED TVs - don't follow the instructions, make your own measurements :) But it looks great on the wall and stick out less than 2 ".
If you are looking for a large 55" thin TV - this one is certainly a winner!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great modern TV. Considered the F6300 series but glad I chose this one.,
Was going to go with a 60" F6300 here
but I found the 55" to be more manageable and cheaper. It came down to the F6300 and the F6400, and the remote on the F6400 had a trackpad and voice commands, which makes web browsing much easier. It also uses the Samsung keyboard, though I don't own one yet. 3D is nice, but not critical, and the microdimming part doesn't sway me one way or the other.
I've had the TV in my house for about a month now. What do I like best? THe image quality and web browsing. Followed by how easily it pairs your accounts, such as Youtube.
What cons have I noticed? I don't like the slightly dark corners that plague edge-lit LEDs. Maybe the same sharing of content with other smartphones aside from Samsung. Better app functionality - the Youtube and other apps could definitely benefit from a virtual keyboard rather than scrolling through letters.
TV's have advanced so much in the last few years on the app and web browsing front. This TV is a great example of that progression when compared to where they were just a few years ago.
Overall, I'm very happy with my purchase and would definitely recommend this to a friend (or fellow amazon shopper).
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