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Nov 18, 2010 by Mike Chin
SPCR's first look at a HDTV was of the Samsung UN55B7100 55" LED/LCD TV nearly a year ago. That was a near-top model from one of the giants in big flat panel TVs. This time around, a more affordable model is examined: The LN55C650L1F, with a Manufacturer's Suggested Price of $2,099 in the US, found on the market today for as low as <$1,500. The target market is a buyer who wants solid performance, viewability and versatility but not the multi-thousand dollar price tag associated with high end models.
Some basic differences between this high value midrange model and the top models in Samsung's lineup:
- It is not a 1" wafer-thin TV but still pretty thin at 3.4" depth for the main screen. As we mentioned in last year's review, the true benefit
is questionable. The stand or wall mount still takes up room, as do the
cables and connectors. Whether it's 3.4" or 1" thick is probably
moot for the average user; the stand will take up a foot.
- It is not designed to play 3D movies. Last year's big technology development was an LCD that uses LED backlights rather than the usual fluorescent
bulbs for backlights.
This year, the big news is 3D-capable TVs, with 3D-films and 3D glasses. After the Christmas 2009 launch of the blockbuster movie Avatar, the quick tranfer of 3D technology to the big screen TV was virtually inevitable. Samsung offers nine 46" to 65" 3D-enabled TVs LED, LCD and plasma types but the one under review here is not one of them.
- Its LCD screen uses CFL backlighting, not LEDs, neither edge lighting and local dimming, the two types of LED backlight LCD TVs in current use. The latter allows dimming to occur locally, creating specific
areas of darkness on the screen, which show truer blacks and higher dynamic
contrast, but less detail in small bright objects on a dark background. Edge-lit
LED LCD panels, in comparison, can be made extremely thin; the light is diffused by
a special panel which produces a uniform color range across the screen, but
they tend not to show black as convincingly as the local dimming LED screens. Samsung was a big winner with both LED backlit and edge-lit LCD TVs, being the first to bring them to market in volume. The usual disadvantage of a standard CFL lit LCD is blacks that aren't as dark as they can be with plasma or local dimming LED screens, and color accuracy that is usually not up to that of the best colored backlight LED TVs (which of course have much higher price tags). Viewing angles should be as good as the others, except perhaps the best local dimming LED models.
Samsung LN55C650 LCD TV: Minimalist bezel, high-gloss black, virtually invisible controls like so many Samsung TVs. Note touch of color in the frame, just above the center post/base.
Here is a quick run through the specifications and feature highlights, from
Samsung's web page about this product. It's notable that the marketing hype on the various features seems somewhat more subdued than it was a year ago. Perhaps some of the technology is so commonplace now that it's just a checklist for most consumers.
Samsung LN55C650 Specifications (with our comments)
|| Screen Size: 54.6''
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 150,000:1
Picture Engine: 1 tuner PIP
Auto Motion Plus 120 Hz
Wide Colour Enhancer: Wide Color Enhancer Pro
|| Speaker Type: Down Firing
Sound Effect System: SRS TruSurround HD & Dolby Digital
Sound Output (RMS) 15 W x 2 Audio channels
|| * Samsung Apps Platform
* AllShare DLNA Networking
Feature that wirelessly syncs a PC and other digital devices to a TV for full screen playability.
* Wide Color Enhancer Plus
Technology that optimizes hues on a TV and expands the color range for a more vivid viewing experience.
(Sounds like wide color gamut.)
* Ultra Clear Panel Screen technology that brightens colors, enhances contrast, and reduces reflection for optimal TV viewing.
(Refers to the glass itself. )
ConnectShare Movie Technology that enables a user to access camcorder videos and music libraries directly on a TV screen.
* BD Wise Automates the best resolution setting possible for viewing Blu-Ray DVD products.
* Game Mode Mode in which a user can play video games on an LCD television.
Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) Allows one remote to control all digital devices in a home theater/entertainment system.
Allows two or more programs to be viewed on one TV screen via inset windows.
Wireless LAN Adaptor Support (Adapter not suppied. )
* Auto Channel Search
seeks out available channels and automatically programs them for easy cycling.
* Auto Power Off automatically powers down television to save energy if no signal is present.
* Auto Volume Leveler
caps volume on loud advertisements so that they're more consistent with programming.
* Clock & On/Off Timer
* Closed Captioning
* HDTV Tuner Built-in
enables a TV to utilize Digital Television technology.
V-Chip allows parents to block inappropriate movies and programs based upon their FCC rating
|| Set Size (WxDxH) with Stand: 51.2" x 33.3" x 12.0"
Set Size (WxHxD) without Stand: 51.2" x 31.5" x 3.4"
Package Size (WxHxD): 62.8" x 35.7" x 8.7"
||Package weight: 79.1 lbs
Set weight with stand: 72.1 lbs
Set weight without stand: 61.9 lbs
|| ANT- Cable - No
Power Cable - Yes
Batteries - Yes
Vesa Wall Mount - Option
Ultra Slim Wall Mount - Option
Remote Controller - Model TM1060
Instruction Book - Yes
||Exceeds ENERGY STAR Standards
|Input & Output
|| HDMI: 4 (side)
Component (Y/Pb/Pr): 2
Composite (AV): 1
PC input (D-sub): 1
Digital Audio (Optical): 1
PC Audio Input (Mini Jack): 1
Ethernet (LAN): 1
USB 2.0: 2
RF Input: 1
DVI Audio input (mini jack): 1
Some notes about the specs:
- The large number and variety of inputs is great.
- Standby power is supposedly 0W.
- Not that heavy for such a big screen TV; remember
what a 27" CRT was like to heft around? The shipping package is smaller and thinner than last year's 55" LED Samsung, but still very well protected.
Thin is in but...
Compared to some of Samsung's incredibly svelt 0.9" thick TVs, the LN55C650 is downright overweight at 3.4". Thin profile
is often promoted in Samsung (and other TV makers') advertising. But as mentioned earlier, the
benefit is almost entirely visual.
The promotional photo on the left shows the reality: The depth of the stand is the real "thickness" of the TV, and this is true whether the TV is 1" or 6" thick. This stand is typical at 12" deep. It is only when the TV is wall mounted that the benefit of extremely thiness really shows up; no one stands to the side of the Tv to watch it.
A more tangible benefit is obtained when the TV is wall mounted.
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