Samsung PN58C6400 Plasma HDTV

Audio|Video|Misc
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SETUP

The PN58C6400 was connected to several video signal sources, and to the local area gigabit network via hard wire ethernet. A list of all associated components used for the review follows:

  • Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray Disc Player (1080p) — via HDMI
  • Shaw Cable HD PVR/ Receiver (1080i Motorola) — via HDMI
  • 1080p Home Theater PC (Running Windows 7 Ultimate on AMD 890G chipset, w/ Phenom II 555 CPU, 4 cores unlocked. 4GB RAM with high capacity WD Green hard drives and Bluray drive) — via HDMI
  • Seasonic Power Angel AC power meter
  • Home LAN network — via gigabit ethernet cable
  • USB flash drives, cameras, and external USB hard drives with various video, music and photo content

The sparsely furnished viewing room is a modest size, 12' x 10' with a standard 8' ceiling. Viewing distance was 8~9'. The room is kept deliberately dimmed for optimal TV viewing. There were no hiccups during initial setup, and cable TV viewing proceeded within minutes.

Setting up the TV after the stand installtion was mostly a matter of hooking up all the cables and connections, placing it where you want it, and turning it on. The Samsung fits elegantly into most decors. Its high reflective glossy finish can be very annoying without any image on the screen, but this is not likely to happen often. When the TV is turned on, the vividness of the picture overcomes the reflectivity. In a bright room, especially with lots of daylight, the glossy finish requires turning up the backlighting or brightness of the TV. The high reflectivity is a real annoyance in such conditions. In our TV room, this is rarely an issue. In general, the best big screen TV viewing is experienced in a room that is not bright.

Computer-like chiming sound effects announce turn-on or turn-off but this feature can be quickly turn off.


As with previously reviewed Samsung TVs, the onscreen menu overlays most programming, with logic that's easy for most people to follow. The degree of menu transparency can be adjusted.


This is just a series of logos on the left bottom corner of the bezel... not that you will ever see them in normal lighting conditions.

These touch controls on the bottom right of the bezel are visible only with a lot of ambient light. Far better to use the remote control.


The web interface screen is identical to the one encountered in the LN55C650. Umpteen Samsung TV apps on the Internet screen provide many web services. It stops short of being a PC by not having real browser.

MENUS & CONTROLS

The on-TV controls are very subtly marked, but no one wants to fiddle with controls right at the TV; these big screen TVs are too big. Everything is done with the remote control.

It is almost impossible to cover every aspect of the menu system and the way you access them via the remote. More than 70% of the 60 page English language manual covers nothing but menus, and there no point duplicating that here. Our main points regarding the remote control and menu interface:

  • All the main TV functions such as input source switching, picture control, volume and channel selection, etc, are reasonably logical and transparent. If you're just watching TV via cable, satellite or antenna and watching video from a Bluray player or some other media device on the network, the control system is nice and simple. Access to Netflix and other web app is mostly straightforward as well.

  • As you drill down into the menus, both the menu system itself and the way the remote works with these menus become increasingly complex. This is probably typical of most modern TVs. The more esoteric controls are not expected to be used by many people, so they get the least amount of beta testing. The very worst experience was encountered at the user name + password screen for Picasa web album account access: The alphanumeric data entry logic switched back and forth from one to another several times in the course of just two input screens. We gave up on this one after a few tries. In contrast, trial signup and access to Netflix was easy.


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