Best Samsung TV 2011-2012? The Full Guide
What exactly have been Samsung been up to this year? Which are the best Samsung TV's?
The most eyecatching arrivals have been a 55 inch OLED model, a 75 inch LED and a 4K prototype.
The 4K, if you haven't caught the hype, is a very high definition category which uses 4 times as much information as a 1080p display to create a crystal clear image.
The 55 inch OLED model has a serious price tag of around ten thousand dollars- large OLED screens are still hard to make cheaply.
The much hyped 75 inch LED certainly appeals to anyone with a large room that they use as an entertainment center but it will cost you almost as much as the OLED, at just less than $9000.
At the more affordable end of the scale, there is plenty of innovation in Smart TV technology with gesture control and more and more TV apps.
How to Choose
There are a lot of new features from Samsung this year including gesture control, web browsing, voice navigation face recognition and dual core processors for faster navigation and improved picture quality.
Below are a few of the most important issues.
Internet Ready TV
Most high end HDTV's are now internet ready. This doesn't always mean you can browse the web with one but you can get a lot of web based content. This might be news channels, weather reports, sports reports, online video services or internet radio.
This year, for the first time, Samsung are offering a very usable web browser with TV's that include their Smart Hub. This has a full QWERTY keyboard to let you surf anywhere.
More on Samsung's internet TV: Smart TV.Smart TV.
New in 2012
There are 10 ranges from Samsung this year.
The top range is the ES8000 pictured above with its curvy stand. It has all of the new features and is available in 46, 55, 60, 65 and 75 inch sizes.
- Full 2D & 3D. Can convert 2D to 3D (works well enough for the kids!)
- Micro Dimming to get the best pictures quality without light bleed through
- WiFi. Get you Smart TV and browser without cables
- Smart TVwith all the usual services and the improving supply of Samsung Apps.
- Smart Hubwith QWERTY remote for easy web browsing
- Skype Compatible. The built in camera is great for video calls
- Fast Dual Core Processor
- Voice and face Recognition
- Wireless Keyboard Compatible
The ES650 range has all the features above except for micro dimming, the built in camera (and the features that depend on it) and the dual core processor.
The 40 inch model is a capable Smart TV with web browser and 3D for not much more than a thousand dollars.
UN46EH6000 no frills big screen LED for under $1000
There is no 3D and no Smart TV but the 46-Inch 1080p 120 Hz UN46EH6000 offers good picture quality for a good price.
It is already one of the best sellers on the internet and will appeal to anyone who prefers to get there internet the old way.
Some things to Remember when Choosing
Some issues are common to all HDTV's, some special features that Samsung offer are worth considering.
What Makes a Great Picture?
Apart from the display resolution (1080p or 720p), it is how well a TV can render black that makes the biggest difference. This may sound strange until you look at second rate TV's and notice that what is meant to be dark on screen often has color bleeding through. Nothing destroys the overall dramatic impact of a scene more completely than the eye being drawn to areas that are displaying something that they shouldn't.
Samsung LED TV's have a high reputation for rendering black- although plasma TVs are still the masters of delivering true blacks.
Other things to consider are how well the screen looks viewed from the side and how quick the processor is- slow video processing means blurred action.
If you are prone to getting headaches from watching a TV, refresh rate is important. This determines how much the screen flickers (even if you don't see the flicker, the brain reacts). The lowest acceptable refresh rate is 120 Hz. A very good TV will have 600Hz.
LCD or LED?
LCD screens include a film of tiny crystals that can change color. As the colors are changed by the electronic signals from a TV's image processor a picture appears.
The crystals produce no light themselves. That comes from some kind of back lighting.
Early LCD's used fluorescent tubes as a light source. Then Samsung started offering LED TV's.
LED TVs use a large array of light emitting diodes to provide the light. This means greater control of the whole image rendering process, with better blacks, no hotspots and brighter, cleaner colors. The very best LED TV's rival plasma TVs for picture clarity and richness.
Connectivity and Samsung's 'One Foot' Connection System
Samsung's 'one foot' devices make setting up a home entertainment system much easier. The heart of the system is a wireless router that automatically hooks up with any compatible device that comes within twelve inches of it- no passwords, no cables, no other kind of set up needed. Once hooked up, you can place the router or the device wherever you like and maintain the connection.
This is designed to work with the new line of Smart TVs, network Blu-ray Disc players and Home Theater receivers due for release this year. If you are setting up a completely new entertainment system it could save you hours of frustration as well as making the lay out a lot more flexible.
Not everyone will want to take the complete Samsung package, of course, so it is worth thinking about HDMI ports, analogue inputs, WiFi and so on. The more devices you want to hook up to your TV, the more of these options you will need,
Some TVs offer special docks for iPods, smartphones or tablet PC's like the iPad and this is worth looking out for if you like mobile devices to integrate smoothly.
Samsung LED TV's 2011
These can now be had at bargain prices and are worth some thought.
There were a total of 15 separate product ranges from Samsung in 2011 and most are still available
At the head of the pack is the D8000 range costing up to $3500 at launch but are now selling for around two thirds of list price.
The D6300 range is a good choice for someone wanting a fully featured HDTV at a more affordable price. The D5500 models are bares bones, great picture quality and very affordable.
Best from 2011
D8500 Range from Samsung
TVs in the D85000 range are available as 46", 55", 60", 65" screen sizes.
These are ideal models for a home entertainment center. They play 1080p video with a refresh rate of 240 Hz (this means low blur and they will not be hard on your eyes).
The specification is top of the market:
- The range offers 3D via active shutter glasses.
- 2D entertainment can be converted to 3D.
- The screen is only 1.2 inches thick.
- Microdimming feature means more faithful rendering of black.
- All models are Internet ready for the Smart TV services described above including Skype and Yahoo Widgets.
- Video can be streamed from the net with services like Netflix
- There is USB input via WiFi or 3 separate USB ports so that you can play music, video and photo files from PCs and other DNLA devices.
- There is blur reducing Auto Motion Plus 240Hz
- QWERTY Remote Control
- 4 HDMI ports
- Ultra thin bezal so you see more screen and less frame.
The D6000 Range- no 3D but plenty of Features
Available with 40", 46", 55" and 60 inch screen sizes.
If you are not interested in 3D, the D6000 range has almost everything that the D8000 range has to offer except for a web browser and a qwerty remote control. There is also no micro-dimming.
The 46 inch model is a very affordable $1,200 online (true on March 12 when last checked). You will have to buy your own 3D glasses with these models.
The D5500 Range- great Stand Alone TV's or for Kitchens and Bedrooms
Not everyone wants a TV to integrate into a home entertainment center or 3D. The 32", 37", 40" and 46" screens of this range are good value for anyone who just wants a TV- but would also like to download a movie occasionally and maybe play media from a PC or other USB device.
There is full HD 1080p resolution, the usual ultra slim design plus ConnectShare movie and allshare DLNA networking.
The 32 inch model is not much more than $600 and is a great TV for a bedroom or kitchen.
Older Samsung TV's- Find a Bargain!
Samsung 1080p LED TVs
The 55 inch Samsung LED TV is desgned to be the center piece of a great home entertainment system. When it was first released it in August 2010 it caused a stir as the only TV less than 1 inch thick on the market- it still has the slimmest available profile. It was criticized on price, however, and at $3500 it attracted fewer buyers than Samsung hoped. The present price of around $2500 (if you buy online) makes it a lot more attractive.
The picture is comparable with other LED TVs- a lot better than conventional LCD's but not as good as the very best plasma TVs. The features are outstanding. It has easy to use picture controls offering more options than any other TV, great internet applications like Flicker, You Tube, Facebook and Twitter.
Not everyone will like the rather large stand but for others it is strong design feature.
There are 46 inch, 40 inch and 32 inch models available. These offer more discrete stands that disappear into the background.
Samsung Plasma TVs
Samsung 50-Inch 1080p Models
A top quality high definition 1080p Plasma TV delivers the closest thing to a full cinematic experience in the home. There is just that little bit extra that swirling plasma offers. I can see it, even if I cannot fully explain it- you need a doctorate in physics to do that!
The most popular model- the 50 inch PN50C550 has 4 HDMI inputs with CEC Standard technology to ensure the control system is compatible with A / V devices like a Blu-ray and cable or satellite receivers. There is a USB input and a PC input.
For a similar outlay (if you buy online) there is the 3D PN58C8000 which includes not just 3D rendering but internet ready features.
Both models are super thin and include tuners in the TV so there are no external boxes.