Posts Tagged ‘HDTV review’

Budget HDTV Shootout

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
A great budget-range HDTV, Samsungs LN23B360 720P LCD HDTV

A great budget-range HDTV, Samsung's LN23B360 720P LCD HDTV

Last week, we looked at three “budget” priced (under $500) LCD TVs — the Samsung LN26B360 26-Inch 720P LCD HDTV, the Sony Bravia L Series KDL-26L5000 26-Inch 720P LCD HDTV, and the Toshiba 26AB502R 26-Inch 720P LCD HDTV. All of these models are priced under $500, all of them are made by major manufacturers, and all of them are 26-Inch, 720P LCD sets, making comparison truly fair.

How did they stack up? Well, the short of it is that all three produced a solid picture and great sound. The Sony had the most features, but some of those features — like the ability to “upgrade” the TV with more inputs or wireless ability — are potentially costly and probably wasted on a sub-$500 TV set We thought the best picture, sound, and feature set for the money went to the Samsung LN26B360 hands-down. You can get the TV for under $400 at Amazon (with free SuperSaver shipping) and you’ll be quite happy with it. And that’s all that matters. Click on the links above to read our more in-depth reviews of each model.

Samsung LN26B360 26-Inch 720P LCD HDTV Review

Monday, August 31st, 2009
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.

Samsung LN32B650 32-Inch 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV with Red Touch of Color Review

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
We love the Samsung LN32B650 LCD HDTV

We love the Samsung LN32B650 LCD HDTV

Picture Quality: Picture quality on the Samsung LN32B650 HDTV is pretty darn solid. Both black level and color performance rival that of much more expensive TVs. The 32-inch screen delivers a nice sized picture for most apartments and small- to medium-sized living rooms. The only quibbles we have is with the image uniformity – sometimes the screen is slightly darker or brighter in spots than elsewhere. However, this a flaw common amongst practically all HDTVs (unless you’re spending thousands of dollars).

An additional nice feature is that the screen isn’t super-glossy, so you don’t lose the picture in reflections from bright lights (like sunlight).

Audio Quality: Audio quality is what you’d expect from an HDTV. The LN32B650 32-inch 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV puts out acceptable sound from its included 10-watt, bottom-mounted speakers. Although if you’re upgrading to a TV like this, odds are, you’re going to want to output the sound through your surround sound home theater system for true movie-theater quality try this. And hooked up that way, the sound quality is amazing.

Product Features: The Samsung LN32B650 HDTV features full HD 1080p resolution (the highest level resolution you can get), red “Touch of Color” design (basically a red accent around the frame, which is a nice visual touch and complements any home décor), Auto Motion Plus (for fluid motion), 100,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, a super-fast 4ms response time, and Wide Color Enhancer 3 for more vivid colors. It also includes InfoLink, which lets you add RSS feeds for weather, sports and news using an Ethernet connection and your Internet connection; and a USB port to display JPEG and MPEG files and listen to MP3s. Plus a removable stand. And plenty of inputs – 4 HDMI, 2 component, 2 composite, 1 PC, 2 USB, the aforementioned Ethernet hookup, and an optical digital audio output, allowing you to connect to a home theater, computer, and pretty much anything else you want, including multiple next generation game consoles. And the features roll on, including a built-in digital tuner for receiving over-the-air/broadcast HD stations, Picture-In-Picture (for viewing multiple programs at once),SRS TruSurround HD, which simulates a full surround sound multi-speaker setp with just the two TV speakers, a variable sleep timer, trilingual on-screen displays. And a nicely functional remote.

Recommendation: This is a great TV at a great price (currently a bargain at $899.99 – you’ll have to add the item to your Amazon shopping cart to see the price). It’s decent size, has great performance, and plenty of inputs and outputs. And 32 inches is plenty of screen for most homes. If you don’t need a bigger TV, we highly recommend it.