I have to admit that I've been completely blown away by how fast flat screen technology has evolved in the last few years.
Just 5 years ago, the smallest bezel TV I could find was a 52" Mitsubishi LCD; and, now I was able to purchase this 55" Samsung LED that looks small when hanging in the same cabinet - even with the 3" larger screen!
When I first set this TV up, I was initially impressed with the bright colors; but, there were 3 obvious problems:
- There was an almost unnoticeable 'glitch' that would occur fairly frequently. I tried to tell myself I was just being picky; but, it happened often enough to be irritating.
- The picture was absolutely crystal clear (like looking out a window) - but the colors made everything look like a soap opera. (At least, that's what I thought of.)
- The picture looked great when the room was bright; but, it got a hazy/grey look when the room was dark.
I started playing with the settings and lucked into a fix for the glitch pretty quickly. There's a setting called 'Auto Motion Plus' under 'Picture Options'. I played around with it for a bit and realized the glitch completely disappeared when this is set to 'Off'.
The problem with the 'soap opera' look was resolved by messing with the color settings; and, the most important change ended up being to reduce the brightness & LED backlight settings.
The haziness took a few days - and I almost reached a point where I was going to return the TV. Fortunately, that was also resolved by turning off the 'Eco Sensor'. The reason it took longer to find is because it isn't located under picture settings - instead, it's hidden in the 'System/Eco Solution' menu...
Anyway, I have to say that I'm 100% satisfied now - and absolutely blown away by the amazing picture quality! I was tempted to reduce this to a 4 star review because I think the settings I mentioned should probably be defaults for most people; but, I'm sure Samsung has their own reasons.
Overall, I would highly recommend this TV if you're looking for a great LED TV!
[*** UPDATE 8/10/2013 ***]
I've continued messing with the settings on this TV and have found that the Eco-Sensor actually can be a nice feature. Instead of turning it off, I started using the 'Minimum Brightness' sub-setting that forces the TV to stay above a specific brightness level.
When the room was at it's darkest level (which is how it normally is when watching movies), I set the minimum brightness level on the Eco-Sensor so it looks good. The great thing about that is the picture is now bright enough during the day and doesn't get the 'hazy' look at night.
Anyway, I figured I would throw that one additional tip in here from my experimentation.
on May 24, 2013
Just picked this up a few days ago. Since this is a new 2013 model, there is conflicting information on websites as to whether this tv supports 3D or not. It does. Visit Samsung's website for full details. This FH6030 is pretty much the same as last years EH6030, but does not have the 3D glasses included and is at a lower retail price.
Wanted a 3D TV but had no use for Smart features (streaming Netflix, Amazon, etc) as my TV is hooked up to my HTPC. This is one of the very few TV's with 3D and no Smart features. And it's priced accordingly. Easy to set up and fairly light if you are doing a wall mounting. Picture is good as expected with any Samsung product and has multiple setup options. Connects to the internet but the connection is used only for software updates. Like so many others, I really don't care for the Auto Motion or LED Motion Plus features that smooth the picture. Others call this the "Soap Opera" effect, but what it really does, to my eyes, is reduce sharpness and blur out/soften/dim the picture. I just turn them off.
No 3D glasses are included, but they are less than 20 dollars a pair. The correct glasses to get are the Samsung SSG-5100GB 3D Active Glasses. Pair them with the set (they are bluetooth) and you're good to go. The 2D to 3D conversion is surprisingly good. The 3D is outstanding.
If you want a nice 55 inch TV with 3D and don't need to stream from the TV, this is the one to get.
on May 26, 2013
(Note: to skip my long-winded story and read only about the FH6030, go to "TV #3" below)
***Background: I had a 42" Panasonic PX600u plasma for seven years and loved it. But the set started to lose its luster, and I was tired of lowering the blinds during the day to watch TV. Most plasmas sold seven years ago did not have the best anti-glare coatings. So, I decided to go with an LED, knowing I would have to make some sacrifices in picture quality, but would in turn gain a set that was much brighter and performed significantly better in daylight.
***The Goal: 50-55" with a great picture for around $1000. I didn't care about 3D or Smart features. I have an AppleTV and PlayStation that handle the Smart features. Unless your TV will be mounted somewhere that can't accommodate any additional devices, there's no need to ever use a TV's built in Netflix, Hulu, etc. They are horrible at it compared to AppleTV, Roku, Xbox/PS3, etc.
I did not want to have to go through three TVs to get one I liked. But if I was spending $1000 for something I would hope to have for ten years, I was going to be picky.
***TV #1: What sucks about buying a TV is that you can't judge the picture in stores because the settings are all jacked up and you're viewing under florescent lighting. Your best bet is to do a ton of research online. But what I discovered is that many TV manufacturers have different panel makers for the same model, and those panels can perform very differently. CNET may rave about one model, and you can get the same model with a different panel and have poor result. With that said, I found a great deal for a 50" 2012 Samsung ES6500. Reviews online were mixed, ranging from stellar (Consumer Reports) to just OK (PC Mag). Given Amazon's fantastic return policy, I ordered it. The picture wasn't bad. However, the details in dark scenes were horrible. In addition, this TV just wasn't that bright -- the main reason I switched from plasma to LED. The TV also exhibited some pretty bad "clouding" and "flashlighting" (terms I learned on AVS Forum when I found a thread full of people who hate this TV). Apparently, this is common for many edge-lit LEDs, but this model is much worse than most. I gave it about a week and returned the set.
***TV #2: Even though it had no reviews, everyone loves Sony. I took a risk on a 50" 2013 Sony R550a. The problems I had with this Sony made me miss the previous Samsung:
- It was even dimmer than the Samsung (and I had the Eco settings off)
- No matter what I did, I couldn't get the picture to "pop" and give me any sort of wow factor
- Not as important, but the Sony was pretty ugly in person and the chrome stand and bottom bezel created annoying reflections
- It did not handle fast motion in a hockey game well
- It's a semi-matte screen, but still not very good in a bright room
- And most of all, when the camera panned during hockey, soccer or golf, it had this annoying cloudy effect. After doing some research, I found out this is called a dirty scree effect (DSE).
I gave the Sony more than a week, but just couldn't get past the picture issues so I returned it. Also, I don't know if this means anything, but apparently the new Sony models are made with LG Panels.
***TV #3: I read great early reviews on Samsung's 2013 TVs, so I took another risk and ordered the 55" FH6030. I've had it now for five days and LOVE it. Here is how it compares to the previous two TVs:
- Very mild dirty screen effect. I have to look for it to see it. With the Sony R550a, I could not escape it. I don't recall if the ES6500 had DSE as I didn't even know what it was then, and it didn't stand out like the Sony
- Much more uniform and has less flash-lighting and clouding compared to the ES6500. It's also better than the R550a in this department, but the Sony wasn't that bad to begin with. It's important to note that the FH6030 is direct-lit unlike the previous two TVs that were edge-lit. This makes the cabinet slightly thicker, but typically allows for a more uniform picture.
- Much better shadow detail and performance in dark scenes than the ES6500, but not quite as good as the Sony R550a
- Much brighter than both the ES6500 and R550a
- Handles glare much better than the R550a and slightly better than the ES6500
- The picture "pops" far more than the R550a
- Off-angle viewing is not the greatest and worse than both the R550a and ES6500
- No issues in handling fast motion. It's better than the R550a and pretty much the same as the ES6500
I'm giving it five stars because I'm factoring price in. But if I'm rating the TV without factoring in cost, then the poor off-angle viewing and less than impressive detail in very dark scenes would make me drop it to four.
Still, I'm happy enough with this TV to write my first Amazon review. After being very frustrated from having to return two prior TVs, I feel somewhat victorious for finally landing a set I love.
on July 14, 2014
This is a great TV for the most part. The design is beautiful, the 3D is a great feature and the menus are easy to navigate. The 40" version I bought did not have built-in wifi and this is NOT a smart TV (I knew those things already). However, Samsung seems to be suffering from some quality control issues on its TV's.
I returned one of these TV's to Amazon a few weeks ago after I found that it would keep turning off and back on again (sometimes repeatedly) without any chance to stop it from this boot loop. I got this new television as a replacement and everything went well for a week until it suddenly started doing the same thing periodically although not as frequently as the returned item. This issue is apparently linked to faulty Samsung capacitors used on the power-board on the inside of the television.
I now have to get in touch with Samsung to have them resolve (hopefully) the issue. Apparently they send a licensed technician to your home to do the fix (I will update when I find out).
I suggest Amazon pull their entire stock and have these capacitors replaced before selling them to a customer - we shouldn't have to deal with this well documented issue.
on February 8, 2014
Where to begin? Well, I got this TV during the black Friday sale. Price was $699 and with my Prime Membership, shipping was fast and free. The TV weighs about 25 lbs so shipping, set up and moving have all been easy with this TV. Samsung really did a great job with this one in terms of weight vs picture quality. But let's get down to the good stuff.
The picture quality is superb. It's like night and day over my aged LG LCD TV. To clarify, this Samsung is an LED HDTV which helps account for why it's so lightweight but has stunning images. 55 inches is more than enough for the average living room and this sits wonderfully in mine. I'm a heavy tech enthusiasts so I did my research before buying so let me tell you why I chose this one.
120hz - This TV rocks 120hz which is what everyone should all want (at least 120hz) but don't automatically assume that means you are forced into the "soap opera" effect. That effect is handled by a different setting, in fact 2, called Judder Reduction and Blur Reduction/Removal. Both have custom sliders for you to set the effects to however strong or light you want which is a great design choice. Personally, I like the "soap opera" effect because, to me, it makes the picture more life-like. And honestly, isn't that what everyone is going for in a TV? How beautiful and life like the images are? Well then crank Judder Reduction and Blur Removal up to 5 and try it out. It's a nice middle ground.
Stunning display - This TV is beautiful to look at. Pacfic Rim, The Hobbit, Star Wars, How to Train Your Dragon, all looked dazzling on this TV. You will find tweaking the settings makes things look better, but I found that, right out of the box, this TV delivered... even though, yes, I eventually tweaked everything.
3D - This TV is great for 3D. Prometheus, The Hobbit, Avatar, and even The Little Mermaid all look great. However, be careful, as many factors attribute to the quality of the 3D you're viewing. The player, the TV, the movie and your cables. Remember, to view in 3D with this TV, you will need: ACTIVE 3D Glasses (Best Buy, Amazon, etc) a 3D BluRay player, a 3D BluRay movie, and compatible 3D BluRay HDMI cables. They're called High Speed and can be found on Amazon for like 5 bucks. Also, the angle in which your viewing and the lighting conditions have played roles in my 3D viewing experience. Get your living room dark, and sit far enough away from the TV for great 3D viewing pleasure.
SPECIAL NOTES: For proper 3D viewing, "Warming" up the display is recommended, according to the e-manual built into the TV's software. I've noticed this first hand. What happens is that launching a 3D movie right after intial boot up, the picture can and will likely display ghosting: the effect in 3D pictures where the 2 images are not properly aligned, creating a double image which outlines the primary picture. It's rather annoying and happens a lot on this TV. Unless, of course, you let the display warm up. What's a warm up? Just watch something. Anything. For about 5 minutes and everything should be fine.
But what sucks about this TV? Right, because lets face it, nothing is perfect.
Sound - With low weight comes crap speakers in the TV world and this thing is terrible with sound. It has enough audio to get you going until you buy a sound-bar or a 5.1/7.1 system but overall the speakers are crap. But it's a con that is acceptable as I was also purchasing a sound-bar.
Judder Reduction: For some reason, on this set, high amounts of judder reduction (setting the slider to 10 instead of say, 4) introduces pixelation around fast moving objects. It's disgusting and terrible to see and once you notice it (because not everyone will) you will never be able to not notice it again. Its unfortunate because for me, it severely dampens one primary feature of this products, thus my 4 star review. Why even have the slider go so far up if it distorts the picture so much? Not good.
Audio Sync - While a minor and almost completely eradicated problem, it was a problem none the less. For some unknown reasons, this set has the tenancy to lose sync with the video when outputting the audio. What you get is the actors finishing conversations but the dialogue is still going on. It's a little unnerving but since hooking my sound-bar up to my BluRay player, it's all but gone away. I haven't noticed it in months. When I did notice it, changing the sound settings and rebooting the TV seemed to help.
Anyway, that's my 2 cents, as they say. Any questions feel free to ask. This TV is so wonderful that my brother bought the same exact model and he loves his as well. It's a wonderful TV but above $700, I'd say stay away.
on July 28, 2013
We use this TV for 3 different content sources:
1. SD A/V from a Comcast cable box.
2. HD QAM-in-the-clear for local channels. Update 9/20/13 NOT CURRENTLY RECEIVING THESE!
3. PS3 via HDMI for games, Netflix, DVD and Blu Ray
I was really worried when we first fired this set up. The SD A/V looked terrible, and the HD local channels didn't look a whole lot better. People's faces were washed out, flat and blurry.
I discovered I need to TURN OFF DYNAMIC CONTRAST, and crank the contrast DOWN. In general, turn OFF all the settings that pretend to be smart in how they trade off one thing for another. Things with 'Filtering', 'Auto', or 'Reduction' in the name are all enabled from the factory, but you probably don't need all of them, or you may be able to adjust most of them to a lower level.
With Dynamic Contrast off, an adjustment procedure that worked well for us:
1. Do this in the evening or in a dimly lit room.
2. Set backlight to a mid to low value like 9.
3. Set contrast to 50.
4. Set sharpness to a low value like 40.
5. Adjust brightness so that absolute black in the picture is really black, with no hint of gray. You may need to switch channels to find a movie with dark scenes, or put up a news channel that has black in the crawl, like Bloomberg. You can switch the picture size to bring up black bars to compare with. Set it just to the point where the hint of gray is gone.
6. Now adjust the backlight to get the picture brightness right for your lighting conditions. From here on, leave 'brightness' alone, and use backlight to adjust for different room lighting.
I believe 50 is 'unity' for contrast, i.e. a transfer function slope of 1. Adjust according to your tastes, but be aware that 100 is the extreme high setting, not 'normal' or unity. Don't expect 'sharpness' to do much, unless you're watching 20th century soap operas or an old episode of 'fawlty towers'. Also, the MPEG filtering looks better on 'low' for us.
For the A/V input, you may find that 'game mode' gives you a better picture, simply because it bypasses some of the 'smart' processing that doesn't work so well for SD (480i). Game mode is selected elsewhere in the menus, under System Settings.
Fortunately there is a separate memory store of all these settings for each input.
My recommendation is to go through all the inputs you'll be using, start with all the extra features turned off, then add in just enough of the feature that's most important to you and go from there.
Most people don't like the 'Soap Opera Effect' that Auto Motion Plus gives you on fictional content like movies and dramas. Since it removes the 'judder' and 'motion blur' that you ordinarily get with 24fps material, it tends to make the content look less like a movie and more like a soap opera shot at 29.97fps (59.94i). In HD it actually makes things look more real, so it makes a movie look like a bunch of people walking around a movie set. It takes away quite a bit of the drama or fiction 'feel' of the 24fps we're used to, and reveals details that the director didn't necessarily intend.
No problems with 3D from the PS3. Clear, accurate and lifelike. Two thumbs up on that.
Bought mine on sale at Best Buy for the same price I see here.
on May 29, 2013
If you've got a receiver, this is the TV for you. It doesn't have a lot of HDMI inputs (Who cares? you've got a receiver for that!), the speakers suck (So don't all TV speakers!), there are no smart apps (My PS3's got plenty...)
It DOES have an amazing picture and a great price. You can't beat this screen at this price.
on December 1, 2013
At the $700 sale price tag, it was probably the best value for a 3D LCD TV at the time, with a fantastic picture sitting at front center although lackluster off-viewing angles.
The 3D is very good. Many people bash 3D and call it a gimmick--which it often is--but done right it really adds to the experience.
There are no Smart features on this TV, and it is not wifi-capable. HOWEVER, you CAN connect it via ethernet to update it if one ever becomes available (I doubt it--this seems more like a yearly value model) and--this surprised me--you CAN stream content over your network, and it apparently even can see my plex server without any special configuration (!). And as another reviewer helpfully pointed out, it does play MKVs.
NOTE, if you are using this to connect to a PC, I could not force a 120hz input. It is no replacement for a 120hz monitor as most TVs, like this one, cannot accept a 120hz signal. It is also VERY important that you tell the TV that this is a PC by pressing SOURCE on the remote, selecting the input, then pressings TOOLS and naming it as "PC." This does more than just name your input--it is actually a specific PC mode that disables all the unnecessary crap and displays a proper image to the PC. You will also need to change your picture size by pressing "P. Size" on your remote and selecting "screen fit." Your image will likely appear either too large for the screen or not take up the entire TV screen, in which case you actually have to go to your video card's settings and changing the overscan/underscan until it is just right.
It should also be mentioned that the input delay is a bit noticeable even after game mode and PC mode are selected, when compared to monitors. This should have the greatest effect on online twitch-shooter games. It will likely not be a factor in most games.
on October 15, 2013
I'll keep this one short and sweet. This is an excellent TV. I've had it just a few months, but its clarity has already impressed me. I have it wall mounted which was pretty easy. Follow other reviewers on settings and you'll have a great looking TV. I use it as a monitor for my home theater/ gaming machine, as well as for my 360, Roku, and Blu-Ray. All of it looks beautiful.
I did get the extended warranty plan just for piece of mind, knowing a few people who have had to use them. So far I've found one stuck pixel, but it doesn't bother me. I only notice it while internet browsing, and I understand that it is something that happens with most panels and a 100% stuck pixel free panel is rare.
I've spent a few weeks now with the Samsung 40" 3D tv and I have never been more satisfied with a purchase in my life. I'm a movie nut job. I know, many people are, but you don't understand; I'm crazy nuts and ever since the 3D craze started, I've been giddy like a child that Hollywood was bringing it back and doing it well. For that same amount of time I've been salivating over 3D-tv's that I couldn't afford and it was leaving knots in my stomach. I was literally obsessed with owning a 3D tv. Financially, it wasn't an option and it made it almost impossible to bear. I'm a single father and caring for my son was taking all of my discretionary income. That ended with the Samsung 40" 3D tv.
Samsung is the #1 tv brand on the market for a reason; or at least one of the tops. They are smart enough to realize that people aren't buying 3D tvs because their too pricey. Right after the market told everybody to buy HD-tv's, and people did, they said, "Now buy 3D tvs". Well.... we just bought HD-TV's.... now we have to buy something else in order to get 3D!? People wanted 3D-tv's but the government was busy destroying the economy and giving tax dollars to terrorist countries to fund Al-queda and Bin Laden. I'm rambling, but this is all relevant. Bottom line... HERE IT IS. Finally, Samsung has delivered a remarkable 3D-tv with a jaw-dropping price.
You may think, "it must suck." You'd be wrong. The trick is that it isn't a 'smart-tv'. Well, in this day and age of PS3, PS4 and Xbox, you don't have to have a 'smart' tv to have a smart-tv. Playstation and Xbox do all that, so buying a 3D-tv with smart capability and owning a PS or Xbox is an oxymoron and a waste of money. This TV has a brilliant picture and a brilliant 3D that after watching for weeks now, I believe is even better than what you would experience at the movie theater and I've had 4 other people say the same thing to me.
Samsung has made a brilliant move here. In a world of hundreds of millions of people who already have smart capability with gaming systems, they delivered a brilliant 3D-tv at a jaw-dropping low price. This is it. Grab it. I assure you. It is well worth it. Be smart. Just because your hair-dresser is cheap doesn't mean she's bad. Just because your neighbor kid wants $30 to shovel your driveway, doesn't mean he's gonna do a $30 job. The Samsung 40" 3D is a steal. No, the glasses don't come with it, but LOOK AT THAT PRICE... you can buy Samsung SSG-5100GB 3D active glasses for $15 each. It does have a little bit of a glare in sunny room and it does take some tweaking to suit your liking, but that is nothing compared to the benefits. Most notably, it took me a while to find a setting called L/R image & R/L image. The 3D didn't look good; like the background was more prominent, but when I switched this to R/L.... all look like it was supposed to and the party began.
Have fun!! And make sure you tell all your jealous friends when they watch it for a bit that you paid a little more than $400 for it. Then take pictures of their jaws dropping.