Samsung LN26B360 26-Inch 720P LCD HDTV Review

The Samsung LN 23B360 is a well-made budget HDTV set.

The Samsung LN 23B360 is a well-made budget HDTV set.

Today begins Budget HDTV week here at Digital TVs have taken over, and now can be found at a wide range of prices. You no longer have to pay thousands of dollars to get a crisp, clear picture and digital sound. This week, we’ll be looking at a few HD TVs for $500 or less.

First up is the Samsung LN26B360 26-Inch 720P LCD HDTV. Samsung is one of our favorite HDTV manufacturers. How do they do in the budget price category?

The Samsung LN26B360 offers a ton of features formerly found on more high-end sets:

  • Built-in digital tuner — enjoy HD TV programming for free (all you need is a cheap antenna from Radio Shack)
  • Built-in QAM cable card — enjoy cable programming without an unsightly cable box (requires cable with a compatible carrier)
  • 30,000:1 contrast ratio — make out fine details in any light conditions
  • SRS TruSurround XT HD — enjoy a simulated Surround Sound experience using the TVs two built-in speakers — no need for an expensive home theater audio setup
  • 8ms response time — the screen refreshes super-quickly, so you’ll never miss a moment of action
  • Wide Color Enhancer 2 — enjoy richer colors, particularly blue and green — no more washouts
  • Energy Star Compliant — save on your electricity bill and help save the environment!
  • Game Mode — enjoy brilliant picture and sound when playing next-gen game consoles like the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3

What do you get? The Samsung LN26B360, a remote, a stand, and a bottom cover, along with the usual guides. There are plenty of inputs — two HDMI, one component, and one composite video.

How’s it stack up? We found that the Samsung produced a clear, sharp picture that is just as good as the one put out by their higher-end (and much more expensive sets). The Samsung LN26B360 was able to display video from a variety of sources — Blu-Ray film, 1080i and 720p TV programming, even live HD sports (which are often rendered blurry or jaggy) — without any noticeable blurs, jags, or artifacting.

The Samsung LN26B360 26-Inch 720P LCD HDTV has solid sound out of the built-in speakers. And SRS TruSurround XT HD did produce somewhat of a surround sound experience, although it definitely doesn’t rival what you’d be able to achieve with a separate receiver and multi-speaker surround setup. It may suffice as as the surround setup for a second HD TV set in a smaller room, however. Otherwise, we’d have to recommend purchasing/hooking up a real surround sound setup (which we would for any HDTV).

Because it is an LCD HDTV, viewing angles tend to drop off around the edges of the set. This is true for any LCD you could purchase, so it’s something to be aware of. But most people watch TV from the front of their set and not sitting at the extreme sides; so that shouldn’t be much of an issue.

So what are you left with? Fantastic picture and solid sound. The Samsung LN26B360 26-Inch 720P LCD HDTV is a great, smaller HDTV at a good price. This is an ideal television for certain situations — to hook up to your game consoles, as a second HDTV for a bedroom, office, or kitchen, or for a small- to mid-size living room. Because it’s got a built-in digital tuner, you can enjoy over-the-air broadcasts with the addition of a cheap antenna; something that adds to the set’s value.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Recommendation: As we said, if you want an HDTV and want to stay under $400, you can’t go wrong with the Samsung LN26B360.

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