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Great for entry level: a technical review
, July 31, 2006
This review is from: Samsung LNS2641D 26-Inch LCD HDTV (Electronics)
This review is intended to be a little technical, so if you want an easy description of this TV, this would be it: it's a great TV with features most entry level LCD buyers are looking for: great contrast, decent response time, good color reproduction and an extensive jack panel including a FANTASTIC VGA PC connection.
Here's the technical break-down of what I think makes this TV great:
1.) It's an PVA (Patterned Vertical Alignment) LCD panel. PVAs and S-PVAs (not usually available in this size) are my favorite over the other two common LCD panels: TFT (Thin Film Transitors) and IPS (In-Plane Switching). TFTs (used most commonly by Sharp) boast excellent response/lag time (usually around 6ms); however, they suffer from the worst color reproduction and artifacting problems. IPS panels (most commonly used by Panasonic) can be thought of as the older predecessor to PVA panels. While they boast excellent color reproduction and moderate contrast, they generally have the longest response/lag times (usually in the range of 12ms). PVA panels (used by Samsung and Sony) offer the best of both worlds with excellent color reproduction (keep in mind, color reproduction also depends on the set's lamp), the best in contrast, decent response times (usually around 8ms) and excellent viewing angles (up to 178* on S-PVA panels).
2.) It's made by Samsung. Samsung and Sharp have long been the leaders in LCD panel technology, investing large amounts of money into LCD R&D. Samsung can take a lot of the credit for the dip in prices of larger LCD screens with the construction of their generation seven LCD plant (the generation number of a plant refers to the size of the glass panels they are able to cut to use in TVs). Samsung built the plant and Sony rents/shares part of it. SAMSUNG DOES NOT MANUFACTURE SONY'S LCDs. This is a common misconception. Samsung owns the plant in which Sony does its glass cutting, but the panels are independently manufactured by each company.
3.) The PC connection is great. Many LCDs come with a VGA connector to attach a PC and use the TV as a monitor (recently, Sharp has been removing this feature from a lot of its TVs). What makes this PC connection great is that it will accept a full screen signal from a compatible video card, up to 1330 by 768 if my memory serves me correct. Many LCD TVs will only accept a 640 x 480 or 600 x 800 PC input.
4.) The matte black bezel. You might think this is purely a cosmetic perk, but it has serious implications! The whole reason that TV cabinets were originally black after the console era was because black draws the eye out, to make the screen appear larger and more vibrant. The 51 series that Samsung offers does boast higher qualitative statistics such as a wider color gamut and higher contrast ratio; however, I still like the 41 series better because the high gloss finish on the bezel of the 51 series is extremely distracting. Sharp started this trend last model year by offering glamourous "piano black" on their TVs, but think of this: a piano is beautiful because it has a high-gloss, COMPLETELY FLAT finish. The high-gloss finish on these TVs accentuates all the bumps and fluctuations in the plastic of the TV. It merely looks like high gloss plastic (that is far from completely smooth) instead of the glamoursly intended piano finish. LCDs are great for brightly lit areas because they absorb, not reflect, light like plasma TVs do. This high gloss finish makes a bigger difference than you might think.
5.) The remote is ergonomically comfortable. Anyone who has a Sony TV will tell you they're remote is confortable and easy to operate and anyone that owns anything JVC will tell you there are more words on the remote than in the manual. Samsung has developed a remote control layout this year that the company has used across the board on almost all their TVs. It's a perfect balance of functionality and ergonomics. And it looks great too...
6.) It's light. And it's lighter than most LCDs in this size, especially over Panasonic. Sony had issues with weight last year which that have since mildly addressed, but just compare the weight of this item to that of Panasonic's models as well as the depth. The Samsung is slim and light, making it easy to mount on the wall without fear of it pulling the wall in.
And in closing, I wanted to address a previous review posted here: YOU DO NOT NEED AN AV SWITCH TO OPERATE THIS TV. Your connection set depends completely on what you are hooking the TV up to. In the case of Time Warner Cable, they use a box to descramble some channels, so a box is necessary. In most markets, a box is necessary from your cable or satellite provider to provide HDTV (this TV is an integrated HDTV, meaning it will receive high def broadcasts over the air if they are available in your market, but just like an old antenna, you have to be able to receive those signals; things, such as buildings, will interfere). Usually you will hook your box up to the TV via component cables or a single HDMI cable, depending on your cable or satellite provider. Hooking any TV up to standard cable with an RF cable IS ONLY GOING TO GIVE YOU STANDARD TV, unless your cable company provides un-encrypted digital cable. This is EXTREMELY rare because a box allows the cable company to encrypt pay stations. Unencrypted digital cable systems are usually only available in mass-purchase markets, such as on college campuses. Be sure you understand your connect scheme and HD availability before you purchase a TV or explain your setup to a store salesperson. Any QUALIFIED salesperson should be able to tell you what is right for you.
(BTW, I often get people asking me if I work for any specific company--I do not work for an electronics company; I'm still in college. I sell electronics at my summer/part-time job, but I sell lots of different brands and items, not just Samsung or any other brand.)
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