Thanks for the review.
I've been on a HDTV search for a few months as my 14 year old 35" CRT gasped it's last few breaths. I was amused when I saw this:
"4. STANDARD TV — No one buys a HD TV capable of 1080p resolution video to watch 480i programming but it still happens from time to time."
Yeah, that would be me (pointing to the stack of DVDs, video tapes and analog cable connection). As Comcast charges a hefty premium for HD content, I expect I'll continue to watch a mix of SD cable content as well as BD and HD streaming content. Eventually, I hope for more available HD content online... It's been a rather frustrating task trying to find a TV that performs all of these functions well:
- decent SD picture quality
- great HD picture quality (in all it's various modes)
- low lag for gaming (implies an IPS LCD or plasma)
- reasonable power consumption (LCD)
- reasonable price
It seems like I could find a model that met 3 or 4 criteria but never all 5. Something had to give....or I had to cross my fingers and hope the CRT would keep working until the next CES show/model year of TVs arrived. I was hoping for the latter and then the CRT gave up the ghost last week. Just in time for holiday season pricing. So, I opted to not worry about gaming on the TV, and that made the Samsung model a contender. I just placed an order at Amazon for the LN46C650 for $880 and expect it's arrival next week.
The C630/650 is highly rated by a number of sources/sites: Consumer Reports, CNET, televisioninfo.com
as well as having great customer reviews at amazon and newegg.
If you ever wanted to lose your will to live, read 140+ pages of posts at avsforum
. There is some great and useful information in there, but OMG, 140 pages to sift through.
Here's my short summary of (hopefully) useful stuff:
- Samsung uses a variety of LCD panels from 2-3 sources and this also varies by model size. So, the panel in Mike's 55" could very well be from a different manufacturer/line/type than the one in a 46" or 40". Two people could have the same model number and have different panels. AVSforum members refer to this as the panel lottery. For the general consumer, this probably doesn't matter. Over at AVSforum, it's either a big deal or not a big deal (140 pages of posts!) depending on your eyes.
- Samsung does a LOT of video processing on the HD signal. That plus the type of panel used means lots of gaming lag. You can reduce this by putting the TV in "game mode", which then bypasses most of the video processing. The result is said to be ok for RPG and either ok or crappy for FPS games. The downside is that you've removed most of the processing that makes the picture look awesome. YMMV.
- Calibration thread
at AVSforum. Out of the box, the TV will be set for showroom levels of brightness and saturation.
- What's the difference between the C650 and C670? Samsung slaps a different bezel on the C650, calls it a C670 and then only sells it to Best Buy. Then, Best Buy can play the "we match any retailer's price for this model" game.
- What's the difference between the C610 and C630? The C610 is sold in warehouse stores like Costco. Typically, the bezel might be different and there might be less connectivity on the back panel.
- What the heck is this 46C600 and why is it bargain priced at $799? Samsung brings out a model variant during the holiday season to compete against the other brands and to keep the other model pricing a bit more stable. There is no hard evidence, but conjecture at AVSforum is: the feature set is similar to the C630/C610. Samsung cuts some corners in panel/component quality/costs in order to meet the price point. YMMV.
- Matte finish or glossy Ultra Clear Panel? Depends on model and size. The 55" is all UCP. 46" 650/670 is UCP. 46" 630 and below is matte. Not sure about 40".
Hope that helps. I'm looking forward to next week's delivery. Time to shop for cables at monoprice