Samsung LN55C650 55" LCD HDTV

Audio|Video|Misc
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POWER CONSUMPTION

Samsung has been incorporating good power management in its TVs for some time. The typical measured maximum power consumption of 120W is quite low compared to earlier CFL LCD TVs, any plasma screen TVs or even last year's UN55B7100. The most obvious aspect of power management is reducing the brightness of the screen.

Power measurements shown in the table below were taken at the AC plug with many different types of source material on the screen. The actual readings varied somewhat with the mix of dark and light on the screen at any given time. The brightest sequences caused the great power consumption. When turned off, the AC power dropped too low for it to register on the meter, like last year's

Samsung 55" TV Measured Power
Mode
AC Power
LN55C650
UN55B7100
Power Off
0W
0W
Standby (w/ no active inputs)
No standby mode; TV turns off w/o signal after 15, 30, 45 or 60 mins
32W
Power Save Off
110~135
110~132W
Power Save Low
84~90
90~94W
Power Save Med
66~82
78~84W
Power Save High
56-62
65~68W
Power Save Auto
96~120W
62~132W

The reduction in brightness in Low Power Save mode is perfectly acceptable as the picture is still very nice. The power saving here is a significant 25~50W. Over the long term, this will add up. The Med and High settings are too dim to consider seriously. The Power Save Auto mode is a good compomise between reduced power and ideal video performance. The brightness is varied dynamically with a sensor to measure ambient room light. The overall power savings might be a bit less than with the Low setting, but close, and the drop in image brightness is very difficult to discern, similar to a well-chosen compression mode for MP3 audio.

OTHER FUNCTIONS

Internet TV Content — When the TV is connected to a network with access to the web, this feature places a number of widgets across the bottom of the screen for access to yahoo! news, weather, financial info, flickr, youtube, etc. There are many widgets to choose from, and many of them can be uploaded and ready to go instantly. These functions generally worked more consistently and with better logic in last year's UN55B7100. Access to NetFlix quick and easy, requiring driing down from just one main menu screen, for example.


One button press gets you to this menu. From here just click on the Netflix logo, and there you are.

TV Monitor for HTPC — The LN55C650 works very well in this mode. Even a modest, cheap PC is far more flexible in its digital file management than any TV we know of, and issues such as video or audio codecs are solved easily with quickly downloaded updates. Virtually any movie file can be made playable. The 1080p movies via the reference HTPC provided stunning video and audio indistinguishable from the original Blu-ray disc, especially with some mintor adjustments in the TV picture settings to complement the video output of the PC. The video and audio connection via HDMI worked perfectly.

Noise... What noise? — We wrote about last year's UN55B7100 that, "when the speaker is muted, if you stick your head behind the TV, you'll hear some of the high frequency buzzing that comes from every TV ever made." Samsung has improved on this in the LN55C650: There is virtually no high frequency buzzing audible from this sample, even with an ear pressed right up against the back of the TV. Given the apparent difficulty of suppressing high frequency electronic noise, this is a fantastic result.

CONCLUSIONS

Samsung has achieved a quiet triumph with the LN55C650 LCD TV. Without resorting to expensive, exotic technologies, it has produced a big screen TV that exceeds the performance of last year's much higher priced UN55B7100 LED TV in almost every tangible way. The most notable improvements are:

  • Extremely convincing blacks
  • No change in colors, including blacks, at over 30° off axis angle
  • Exceptional picture quality
  • Better connectivity to LAN networks
  • Virtually no electronic noise
  • Slightly lower power consumption
  • Price reduction of over 40%

The fact that this TV is available for as low as $1,500 in the marketplace makes it a bargain. The rock-bottom current price for any 55" 1080p TV is $1,100, never mind a top performer like this one. It's no wonder that the Smasung LN55C650 is already on so many of the best TV lists in this season's reviews.

Much thanks to Samsung Canada for the product sample.

Samsung LN55C650 55" LCD 1080p TV

SPCR Editor's Choice Award

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