Top positive review
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Samsung... the clear winner.
on 20 November 2011
Let me start by saying I was obsessive in my search for a new TV and compared a great many brands and models in various stores and gave several assistants headaches, I'm sure. Well after all, spending a fair old wedge on a TV is a considered decision at the best of times, but even more so in these times of austerity. Who knows when I'll be able to upgrade again.
The Samsung UE40D6100 stood out from all the TV's we saw in its class and price bracket. For a while we were looking at an equivalent Sony model, and as a 2D performer it was fine. However, it fell flat on its backside when it came to 3D, with noticeable crosstalk and ghosting artefacts that were quite off-putting. You don't need to be an expert market analyst to notice that Sony has been haemorrhaging money from its Playstation arm of the business for a while now, and to me it is clearly cutting costs elsewhere to patch up the leak. All my previous TV's for many years have been Sony, and this is the first time I've had to jump ship. No such issues with the 3D performance of the Samsung, at least no more than is to be expected from Active 3D technology as a whole, but I have yet to see any annoyingly obvious crosstalk or ghosting on this set when the 3D source itself is decent. One or two of the videos on the Samsung Explore 3D app were no great shakes, but that was the source material and not the set. On my Alice in Wonderland 3D Blu-ray, when 3D is allowed to get down and show you its funky stuff, the set performed more than admirably. Of course the set's 200hz refresh rate helps in this department. We also found the 2D performance to be better than the Sony (and other brands) in this price bracket. I should add there seems to be some ongoing debate in the AV community about whether or not the Samsung series 6 is offering full HD when in 3D mode, with some claiming the resolution is lowered in 3D mode, and these people have been having a tit-for-tat with Samsung over the issue, but all I can say is it looks good and does not ghost and crosstalk like many other sets we saw, including the Sony in the same price bracket. Just do yourself a favour and go in store and let your eyes be the judge. It is a big purchase, so be your own judge. My words are just a guide.
This is a series 6 Samsung, so it is definitely not low end. I'd say it was on the first rung of the ladder on the high end side of Samsung, and the features prove that out. Feature wise, it is very close to the series 7 sets... only series 8 breaks away from it by any significant length. The only major and noticeable difference on series 7 is the in-built Wifi - this set requires a proprietary Samsung Wifi dongle, but if like me you're connecting via Ethernet then that is no great loss. The other feature lacking from series 7 is there is no 2D to 3D converter here, meaning this set will only play native 3D source material and will not convert 2D to 3D. But as there is a qualitative difference between native 3D and converted 2D to 3D, this is not something I was concerned about. Besides, there is plenty of real 3D stuff around...including games, Sky channels and 3D Blu-ray to make the converter a non-issue for me. This set is also a Smart TV, so there's a great many online features and applications, such as the really helpful 'Explore 3D' app, which is a selection of free 3D videos... ranging from 3 minute movie trailers to entire 45 minute documentaries. This gave us a chance to use the glasses we bought while I waited for my first 3D Blu-ray titles to arrive. There is also a host of social networking apps, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as Youtube, Google maps, the obligatory BBC iPlayer... amongst a growing list of other things.
The picture is brilliant for an LED. The people that speak the 'What Home Cinema' gobbledygook tech language would no doubt pick holes, but then they'll do that for ALL LCD/LED panels... those guys only entertain plasma technology it seems. The rest of us mere mortals can only go off our eyes, and mine are extremely pleased with what they see here. My last telly was a plain Sony Bravia LCD and I couldn't believe the advances that have been made by implementing LED lighting into LCD technology (there's no such thing as an LED panel by the way, they're plain old LCD panels with LED lights behind them instead of the old style bulb lighting). This has led to vastly superior colours and contrast performance, and while blacks and contrast can never rival a plasma, LED/LCD's of this generation have certainly narrowed the gap. I'm well impressed.
Sound was a lot better than I imagined it would be. Panels are forever getting thinner, and that means smaller and shallower speaker diaphragms, but I was impressed with the sound after I tinkered with the settings. Of course the true cinema buff will want external speakers of some kind.
As regards connections, there are four HDMI ports, two USB ports, one RGB enabled SCART adapter socket (for use with the supplied adapter... as the panels are so thin these days, they have to use an intermediary adapter to accommodate bulky old SCART), one component adapter socket (for use with the included component adapter), one PC/DVI input, a SPDIF digital optical audio output and an Ethernet network socket and a headphone socket. As regards the two USB ports, one of them apparently supports a feature than allows you to record from the TV's tuner on to a USB storage device, in the manner of a PVR. I have yet to try this feature, but it is certainly intriguing and something I will definitely look into.
We've had the set for two weeks now and the only surprises we've had as we have dug further into its rich list of features have been good ones. Therefore I am awarding this TV five shiny and well deserved stars. Thanks for reading.