on October 20, 2012
***UPDATE 2014 - July 17th ***
-Added updated panel identification information in the review and at the bottom. Credit to review comment from Dawn B. Roy.
-Added brief subjective experience.
-Listing of which panels to expect depending on the model/series (still, check your box, or the back of your TV as described below) - also credit to D.B.R.
Short version: A "TV" is a container for its panel, with some additional features (such as speakers). Buying a TV with a different panel, even if it's the "same TV," is buying a different TV. Samsung seems to think we don't care - and many consumers may not. Most buyers may compare their new TV to an old one that isn't even full HD or to a typical* computer monitor, so any panel will look great, even if it costs more than it should due to (arguably) deceptive practices. In my experience, my TV seems to have the deficits listed for its panel - subpar viewing angles, especially with dark colors.
*TN panel or a CRT, as opposed to IPS or anything with better viewing angles, color, etc.
Many of these TVs don't have a Samsung panel (the screen/the part that has/makes the image!)! I cannot believe this has not been mentioned. It makes a SUBSTANTIAL difference, because some panels they use should be in TV's that cost $100 less.
Can you imagine buying a car because you know its manufacturer uses great, reliable engines, only to find out that they use completely different engines without telling you, all of which are of lower quality? Samsung does this with their TVs, and some of them don't EVER have Samsung panels (e.g., the 37" model will NEVER have a Samsung panel because they don't make 37" panels). Samsung uses 4 different panel types from four different manufacturers - each with a substantially different technology.
You can tell which panel YOUR TV has by the "Version" on the sticker outside of the box. There's also a sticker on the back of the TV; the "Version" code is below the Model number and above the S/N. BTW, reviews can't be interpreted without the four-digit Version code because they are quite simply different TV's. Here's how to interpret them:
("x" means a number, probably from 1-4, that represents the version of that panel - higher means newer but not always better).
TH0x or TS0x: Samsung S-PVA panel (possibly just a PVA, if you're less lucky): This is what you thought you were buying. Best color, best black, best viewing angles.
HS0x: Sharp ASV panel: Lower contrast ratio, more narrow viewing angle. I read HS02 in particular has terrible ghosting.
A_0X: AOU A-MVA panel: Even lower contrast ratio.
CH0x or CM0x or CS0x: Chimea S-MVA panel: You lost the lottery. Markedly worse in every way - way worse viewing angle, color reproduction, etc. Just a terrible rip-off.
UPDATED 2014 July 17th: Quoting Dawn B. Roy, "Just remember A or M = AU Optronics, T, U, or W = Samsung, and H = Sharp. " I have not followed the comment thread (my apologies), and do not know if the stopped using Chimea panels.
Mine, from Amazon, is an HS03, so a Sharp panel. I will be testing it tomorrow (DVD and watching football - no Blu-ray). There is a decent chance I return it, because it is not a Samsung. Also? Sony and Panasonic do much less "panel lottery" and are vowing to stop entirely. LG does not do a panel lottery. Samsung has absolutely no plans to stop, and they only use "standards" that won't reveal a difference between the different panels.
I will update after doing more testing. I just simply could not believe that this was not mentioned. Nothing like finding out you paid $500 (40" model) for a $400 TV when that extra $100 could have been used for sound, Blu-Ray, etc.
**Other reviewers, please, update your reviews to give your version code!**
UPDATED 10/24/12: Added info on how to find version number without the box.
UPDATED 7/17/14: A listing of which TV models carry which panels, again quoting the very-helpful Dawn B. Roy:
"Here are the panel codes per Samsung own part site: H7150: 46=TS01, 55= TS01, 60= HH01, 65=TH01, 75=TS01. H6400: 40=unknown, 48=TS01, 50=AS01, 55=TS01,US02, 60=HD01, 65=MD01. H6350: 32=TS01, 40=TS01, 48=TS01, 50AH01, 55=TH01,UH02, 60=HS01, 65=AH01, 75=TH01. H5500: 32=TS01, 40=TS01, 48=TS01, 50=WH01.
Hopes this helps prospective buyers. One change from last year is that other then the 60" Sharp, only Samsung panels are being placed in the H7150 line. Also curios is the 5500 series that has all Samsung panels. It makes sense that I heard David K say that the 5 and 8 series were very solid but the middle lines were a mixed bag. "
on February 26, 2012
If you're anything like me you see that this TV is labeled as LED; then you look at the picture and see a lot of fat for the usual Samsung LED depth. Make no mistake this is an LED TV. I got this for my bedroom to replace my 23 inch Samsung Syncmaster. I use this TV mostly for 1080 mp4 movies and blurays (I download what I want to watch instead of waiting for it on cable), and my Xbox and PS3.
I learned 2 things about the TV right off the bat. If you have Comcast, you cannot fully customize the TV's picture. An essential feature called HDMI black levels actually looks much better when its set to low. I have 2 different Comcast HD boxes and since neither of them broadcast at 1080, this feature is locked out. Long story short, Comcast had me thinking I purchased my first dud from Samsung. Seriously, the colors look washed out and none of the channels really had that crisp clear picture I was hoping for. If you plan to use this solely for Comcast, I can't really recommend it. In fact, I've always found blu ray quality to be so much better than cable that I've stopped using cable for anything but football and cartoons. Movies MUST be in my PS3's blu ray player or my own 1080p files.
The second thing I learned about is what the depth is for. Samsung didn't advertise this (or maybe its just my TV), but I have absolutely NO BACKLIGHT BLEED. When Black Ops goes to the loading screen on my Xbox, it gets so dark that I think the TV is off! The only indication that it is on is the Black Ops logo in the corner spinning. There isn't even the SLIGHTEST inkling of white anywhere! I'm not exaggerating. The obvious second reason why this TV is fat for an LED is that Samsung made an effort to improve the sound. When I turn on the HD surround coupled with the movie option, there is much more bass than I thought it would be. THe explosions in my games and the soundtracks in movies sound vastly better than I thought they would. Granted, I am not the type to go out and spend 600 on some Bose speakers, but the sound is NOT a con for me this time around.
NOW ON TO THE PICTURE
As I said, I was not exactly thrilled with the picture RIGHT off the bat. It looked like my old 23 inch Syncmaster, just a lot bigger. Let me tell you, this is not one of those TV's that look great right out of the box. You have to toy around with the settings a bit to get the optimal picture. I wanted sharpness coupled with colors that pop like crazy.....and I got it. Dynamic is the brightest setting, but I coupled this with the HDMI black levels set to low (option not available for Comcast cable box) and voila, moving photographs! I'm not a pro but this is my setup:
TInt: G/R 50/50
Standard color tone with screen fit in the additional options, with HDMI black level set to low.
My games and blurays look AMAZING. The picture is easily better than my mom's 46 inch Samsung up front. REMEMBER that some of the good options are cut off from Comcast and the use of component cables. In games, I do have to up the brightness or gamma a little, but it ends up looking BRILLIANT. I am going through my entire library of games and they feel like entirely new experiences! There is a 32 inch 720p option as well, but I just was not comfortable with 720p max. The new game consoles are gojng to have native 1080 so that's what I wanted. BTW did I mention I'm a big gamer?
Well I saw this TV up on Amazon before it was on Samsung's website. Yeah, WOW. Sometimes I wanted to see the TVs specs from Samsung directly before I made my buy. Make no mistake this is NOT a 120 HZ tv although it is labeled as one. I have no idea what clearmotion 120 is, but it makes my TV much darker. The feature is entirely useless and does nothing to the picture or add the "soap opera" effect like I had hoped (it looks great for games).
WITH A COMCAST CABLE BOX I could see no difference between HDMI and component. I kept switching back and fourth, but since the max output is 1080i, there were no differences in picture.
The last iteration of this TV had 4 HDMIs. What happened?
With a lot of tweaking, I got the picture to look beautiful. I will use my Comcast box sparingly, but I might move to FIOS if the support full 1080. Watching movies on my PS3 and playing games on my Xbox stopped me from returning the TV. I will not be surprised if this set gets bad reviews from Comcast users (even though Its not Samsung's fault). I'm a "videophile" and this passed my personal test with vibrant colors.
FEEL FREE TO ASK ME ANYTHING!
on August 2, 2012
If you are looking for the best picture quality for the buck, you have found it. Samsung put the money where it matters most and if you don't care about 3D or a bunch of inputs this is a great buy. This is the hands down winner for a Back Lit LED TV at this price point.
Great Picture quality (with a few adjustments, see below)
Really good Sound Quality. Better than most.
Matte Screen (not Glossy), so low reflections in bright rooms
Full Array LED backlighting (versus "Edge lit" Fluorescent as most LCD's have)
Great styling. The angled corners on the bottom, the large base and thin bezel all come together to give it a sophisticated look.
Stock picture settings. Picture is a bit soft and washed out with the stock configuration. You need to adjust the settings to get it to really shine to it's full potential.
I used the Display Mate DVD to professionally calibrate the screen and I used those settings as a starting point. My personal preference is for a bit more "pop" and a sharper picture and I think I've come up with the ideal settings for this particular TV. I listed all the "Default" settings, the "Display Mate Calibration DVD" Settings, and my Personal Settings below. Hope that helps you find the settings that work best for you.
Tint: G/R 50/50
Calibrated with "Display Mate" DVD:
Tint: G/R 50/50
Tint: G/R 50/50
* Color Tone "Standard" and "Screen Fit" in Picture Options. LED "Motion Plus" option: OFF
on November 1, 2014
This Television's screen died at 8 months old. Purchased end of November 2013 by July 2014 the screen went black. I called Samsung customer service they gave me a repair ticket # and a authorized repair center's #. I called " Michael" and he said he has to wait till they send him the order. Don't bring it in i have too many of this same model in my shop already. Waited 1 month didn't hear from anyone. I called the repair center end of August, said he hasn't received the work order yet. Called Samsung back and they give me another service # and we repeat the process. End of September, I call again and Mike tells me my repair # has expired. Call Samsung again. they give me another #. Oct 13th I bring Television to Repair shop. I called Samsung right before I bring it in and make sure I have the right #. I get an e-mail 2 days later that parts have been ordered and TV is being fixed. Great. I don't hear anything. I call the repair man Mike and he said he did order parts but what he received from Samsung was wrong. He said Samsung told him he would have to wait the right parts are in the warehouse. I call Samsung back and get to "executive" Customer service who basically told me she couldn't do anything, she called the service center but Mike was at a customers house and couldn't talk. Jennifer then told me that she couldn't follow through at this point. That once we hung up the phone, that's where her involvement stops. There would be no follow through unless I kept calling. NOVEMBER 1st 2014 TV is still not fixed and my warranty will expire on November 28th 2014. Think my TV Will be fixed before that date? I'm not very hopeful. I have a full time job and can't spend everyday calling Samsung to follow up on my defective TV. I asked for a new one and they told me that I would have to get this one fixed. Another words NO. Don't buy this model # it's defective. Samsung's customer service is also defective if there is no follow through !!!!!!
on February 11, 2012
I received this TV yesterday to add a TV for our bedroom. I own another Samsung LCD so I knew I would be happy with this one.
Since it was going into the bedroom, it didn't need to be fancy or have all the bells and whistles. I figure I'll add a Roku or Apple TV to it and be all set.
While this TV is LED, it's not as thin as you're used to seeing. I believe it's just over three inches thick in the rear, but it has a very thin bezel up front. It has minimal connections in back, but all I'll ever use is HDMI, so that doesn't concern me. Picture quality out-of-the-box is great and became even nicer with a little tweaking. That's usually the first thing I do is try to eyeball calibrate it at first. It's too new to have any good calibration settings posted on the net; I figure I'll use last year's 'D' model as a guideline and wait until settings are posted. I did not notice any flash-lighting with this model -- something that plagued last year's 'D' lineup. I have yet to play any 1080p material on this to really test it (only watched a few minutes of HDTV ((720p)) broadcasts), so I'll update this post when I do.
Note this year's 'EH' line is Samsung's basic model lineup, with the 'ES' being the more expensive, feature-laden models. This is a great set if you want a basic, quality LED with a nice pricepoint.
EDIT 3/5/2012: Update 1080p content. I've set up my streaming process to this TV with some 1080p material and it is gorgeous. We recently watched Toy Story on this set, and I was blown away by the color depth and detail this TV displayed. A small caveat: with all TVs, the speakers could use some improvement. Set on the 'standard' audio output, the sound is fine. If you set it to 'music' or 'movie', the audio sounds much better, but can rattle the TV's enclosure if the volume is set high.
on June 1, 2013
I wanted a the largest possible screen that would fit into the opening in my traditional style entertainment center. The opening is just "39 3/4 wide, so my choices were limited. With the very narrow frame around the screen on this TV, it was an exact match for the width. Any other brand of TV that I saw had much wider frame, so the screen size to fit into this opening was 37inches at the largest. Not a big difference, but to find one that fits and have the bonus be that it's a Samsung is great. I posted a photo of how it fits perfectly into the entertainment center.
It was very simple to hook up. Just wish HDMI cables came with these things!
on February 18, 2012
As a grandmother who is not as technologically advanced as the younger generation, I did have concerns about buying a television that had to be programmed and the stand installed before using. However, my fears were unwarranted. As soon as I turned it on, I was stepped through the programming and the stand or base was very simple to install. With the weight only being less than 15 pounds, I was also easily able to manuever it by myself. I was watching programs within an hour although younger people would have managed all of this in fifteen minutes.
My initial reason for wanting a newer television was due to my waning vision so had been looking into the 1080p with a 32" screen for some time. I can't believe how much I can read on that screen now that wasn't clear to me before. I had been advised that Samsung was one of most trustworthy brands, but found them locally to be out of my price range. This one was reasonably priced and with my Amazon Prime membership was shipped to me free and quickly I might add.
I am very pleased with the color and the sound plus the ease of use with the remote in case I do have to change the color or sound in the future. I'm not thrilled with having to adjust the size of the picture when going from watching a news program with written information at the bottom of the screen to watching a movie, but it is easy to do so will just have to adjust to that feature.
on June 28, 2012
UPDATE: 8/3/2012 *massive* changes and deletions made to reflect the Eco settings and how to get the best picture possible with no regards to power consumption. Equally massive changes made for picture optimization with new discoveries.
UPDATE: 6/28/2012 (various changes)
Let's just start off with what really matters: The only thing wrong with this TV is the unique "LED Motion Sensing" technology. In theory, this allegedly causes the backlight to have a "strobe" effect so as to enhance motion in a way similar to higher refresh rates, and, in theory, help with the problem of HDTV blurring. This is simply misleading marketing, as it does not, in fact, do that at any point, no matter how much I test with it on whatever scene. If it is indeed happening, I don't notice it.
Now, if you've ever seen a high-end, larger TV, you can't help but notice the so-called "soap opera effect" (I'm not sure why it's called that--it just means the fluidity of the picture is far superior to a standard 60Hz rate, and is certainly impressive to look at). I, personally, was under the impression that I was practically stealing for this "LED Motion Sensing" with its variable 120Hz rate. Obviously, this isn't anywhere near the case, and it still operates as a smaller, more budget-friendly TV with a lot of good things about it.
So what does LED Motion Sensing do? Well, it darkens the picture. That's as far as I notice any difference at all. However, on the bright side, it reduces power consumption very significantly. More on that in a bit.
But, hey, it's cheap for a reason, right? A 1080p TV with a lot of other bells and whistles, often very easy to get at $400, which is the same price as the widely hailed king of mid-range TVs, Panasonic. I actually had returned a Panasonic Viera in favor of this, due to an obviously defective unit that had serious issues of constantly turning itself off and then only a specific hard reset for turning back on.
One thing you can't knock this TV for is every other thing it houses. The picture quality, if tweaked correctly, is simply gorgeous. Blacks are so purely dark with no hint whatsoever of a washed-out picture. The option that allows the TV to detect flesh and boost its color works surprisingly well without looking ridiculous, even at the highest setting. I enjoy using this setting.
You get a wealth of options at your fingertips, from tweaking the picture to obscene levels and changing various levels of whites, darks, colors, and dynamic contrast, as well as a variety of eco-friendly settings for those who care about energy consumption, like me. Let's run down the important settings, the first being an "optimal" picture with no concern for energy consumption, the second being for everyday use with energy consumption in mind, and also to prevent overheating.
Okay! When it comes to generalized settings that work for pretty much any signal, but are best for 1080p HDMI 1.4 pictures, such as in Blu-rays, this is what I've come up with (if something is missing, consider it totally unchanged from default settings)
Brightness: 45 (this is *just* when the picture is about to become noticeably too bright, and darks no longer look dark enough.)
Sharpness: 100 (incredibly, this TV can handle it without that horrible ultra-static and deformed picture effects--the native 1080p versus 720p can probably be given a hat tip for that)
Color: 100 (This is actually important. See, the more a TV can give you color before it clearly becomes over-saturated is key in how vibrant the picture is and the TV's ability to process the colors. To my blessed surprise, a setting of a maxed-out 100 does not over-saturate, and things seem to look exactly as they should. However, your results may vary, and personal preference is part of this setting.)
Dynamic Contrast: Maxed out
Black Tone: Dark (the first setting below normal, not Darker or Darkest, which will make dark scenes far too difficult to see)
-> All Eco settings turned off, including LED Motion Sensing.
Color Space: Native
Dynamic Contrast: High
Flesh Tone: +15 (has no apparently deleterious effect on emphasizing picture, but it does make it more vibrant)
Color Tone: Mostly preference, but Warm1 seems to be best for me. Warm2 is too much red and Normal doesn't seem to be enough, although sometimes it does look better, depending on what's on the screen.
Digital Noise Filter: High (DO NOT keep this at Auto. The TV AI does not do a good job of determining when this feature should be on and to what level. I see no problem at all with keeping this on High at all times, which drastically reduces noise, which is present on even 1080p sources.)
LED Motion Plus: Off. As much as I want to say to keep this on, as it was a strong factor in my purchasing decision, I just can't find a real reason to. It sounds so good on paper, sure, but it just doesn't deliver what it promises at all. The drop in picture quality from keeping it on just isn't worth it, and I see absolutely no noticeable difference in fluidity due to the alleged "strobe" backlighting.
FOR ECO-CONSCIOUS USERS: This is how you configure the most eco-friendly setting, "Standard", as opposed to "Movie". Be sure to switch these modes for practical reasons, and also because "Movie" does not allow for certain settings.
Some of us just can't have our cake and eat it too. With the TV running at absolute max settings through and through, it's going to burn energy really, really fast. With regular use, your electric bills will reflect it.
Now, the Eco features present here seem a lot more complicated than they really are. But ultimately, you can turn everything off except a couple of things.
Note: There is the "Auto Eco" setting that does absolutely nothing but darken the picture, but even one notch below off is a strong difference. It's better to simply lower the backlight manually.
To be conscious of your energy usage, keep the backlight at ten or lower instead of a constant 20. Turn LED Motion Sensing on (you might as well, since the picture's going to have less backlight, anyway), and, depending on how it works for you, choose whether or not to use motion sensing. Sometimes this setting can make the picture weird, like it's fading in and out way too fast to adjust to lighting. Sometimes it's not even noticeable. I, personally, keep it off. Really, the backlight is where all the energy consumption comes from, and simply lowering it, either manually or through the Auto Eco system (set to either Low or Medium is the farthest you can go while still seeing the picture--I can't imagine anyone tolerating lower than the Low setting, which I just can't stand)
1. Do not use auto leveling of audio between inputs. The TV's way of handling this is very poor, and will give you distorted sounds all over the place if you use this. Just keep volume leveling options off.
2. Game Mode doesn't really do anything except make the picture darker and less detailed. It also makes the screen have a strange but deliberate shaking motion, I guess to...I dunno, make explosions more realistic for your screen? I'm not sure. Either way, even if you're gaming, keep it off. The vast difference in picture quality definitely is not worth the sacrifice for the occasional screen shaking, its only apparent use.
3. Don't forget to disable the inputs you don't use and to label the inputs you do use to prevent any confusion. Only 2 HDMI inputs is downright cruel, but thankfully, that's all I need. Anyone who needs more, though, shouldn't be looking at a 32" in the first place. What else do you plan to hook up to it besides maybe an HDTV box and a Playstation 3?
4. While I can't confirm this myself, I've heard rumors that updating the firmware via a USB stick--including official firmware straight from samsung.com--voids your warranty, as it's considered tampering. Yeah, that sounds a little weird. I had already updated it before I read that, but someone else could probably clarify that much better than I could, if it's true.
5. As of right now, the official firmware for the TV has not changed since I first purchased this. No need for any updating unless you haven't done it since June.
Alright, that's that. Considering how much I got it for (about $400), this is truly an outstanding television with a spectacular picture quality, not to mention full 1080p support. For a display this small, the jump from 720p to 1080p is not all that significant, and unnoticeable unless you're specifically looking for it. Don't be fooled into thinking that, by default, 1080p means a much better picture than 720p. It doesn't, unless your television is at least 40 inches in size. However, what it *does* mean is that you can max out sharpness, color, contrast, and pretty much anything that benefits from a native 1080p resolution, which is unlike a 720p needing a downgrade, and subsequently requiring far different settings.
I'll say it again: Good luck, fellow TV shoppers and consumerists.
on December 4, 2014
This television was delivered with a hole in the box. There was not any visible damage to the TV, however, so we went ahead and set it up. As soon as we turned it on the screen was completely destroyed. Now, Amazon will not let us exchange it for the same television for the same price since it was on a Cyber Monday discount. DO NOT PURCHASE ELECTRONICS FROM AMAZON.COM
on March 27, 2014
When we received the TV, there was no TV stand in the box. We contacted Amazon and they told us to try and resolve the issue with Samsung. We contacted Samsung and they said they'd send it (after they requested serial numbers, order numbers, receipts and several other proofs of purchase). The TV stand never came. I contacted them again, went through the same conversation, they said they'd send it, it never came, and so on... repeated several times over the next few weeks. Finally, the last time I called them, they said they wouldn't send it because too much time had passed and we were past our warranty. (?!?!?!)
I contacted Amazon and they handled the situation in a matter of minutes to my satisfaction.
Moral of story... Samsung customer service sucks. But Amazon has your back.