There aren't many technologies that are as fun to watch mature as LCD TVs. It is definitely one of the those technologies that continues to evolve and improves with each iteration. The latest crop of LED edge lit LCD TVs from Samsung fit into that category. The 46-inch 7000 Series is a mere 1.2 inches thick and uses less power than just about any HDTV of its size ever made. To top it off, it offers some of the best picture quality of any LCD HDTV ever made; and it does all of that while being more affordable than its predecessors. It goes without saying that we were excited to get our hands on it, but you'll have to click through to find out how we felt after wards.
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Samsung UN46B7000 LED backlit LCD review
- Plays 1080p h.264 MKV files, but doesn't decode DTS.
- On screen display looks good, shows the frame rate etc.
- Network connectivity via optional WiFi dongle, including DLNA and Yahoo Widgets.
- The menus are great and easy to navigate.
- QAM and ATSC tuners perform well and include simple PSIP guide.
- 1:1 pixel mapping on 1080 content (Screen Fit).
- Accepts 1080p via component.
- Backlit remote.
- Best contrast we've seen on an LCD.
- Super thin and uses very little power. (<1 watt in standby, about 150 uncalibrated).
- Custom 120hz judder settings.
- Yahoo widgets are very slow to load and there aren't many to choose from.
- "Screen Fit" mode doesn't work on 720p material.
- There is only one component input.
- Speakers aren't great, but at least you can't see them.
- Remote is missing some transport buttons like next track etc, which sucks for HDMI-CEC.
- DLNA is slow, but isn't it always?
- Skinny TVs can be difficult to make connections to and this one even warns against thick HDMI cables.
- Closed captions don't turn on automatically with mute.
- No standard RS-232 for home automation control, but at least there is EX Link and an adapter.
- Glossy screen is subject to glare.
- Out of the box settings are horrid, as expected. The 120hz setting makes movies look like amateur camcorder footage.
- Price, with a $2899 MSRP it is about a $1000 more than a top-of-the-line plasma of the same size.
- Optional WiFi dongle is $80.
Around here we don't rate TVs like some other reviewers. We try to look at the overall experience the TV provides and most of all we try to look at the usability of the TV. The annoying thing about most TVs, that is the same with this one, is that it looks terrible out of the box. But while most TVs you can get away with simply switching the mode from vivid to movie, this one isn't so easy. As simple search online gets you some pretty good baselines before popping in the calibration disc, but there really isn't any calibration disc for the 120hz settings that the 7000 series features. We bring this up because we can't remember the last time there was a setting on a TV that had such and impact. We found the default 120hz judder settings down right horrific and could totally see a typical consumer returning a TV because their favorite show looks like it was recorded with a camcorder -- who knows, maybe it is just us and in reality that is how most people want it to look. On the flip side, as videophiles, we did appreciate the new blue mode to help in DIY calibration and was very surprised to see how easily the set handled the pixel phase test pattern on the HD Essentials calibration disc -- not an easy task for any set.
When it comes down right to it, we like the new 7000 series from Samsung. We like the physical appearance of the TV, we like the menus, we like the added features. In fact other than a few annoyances, we really enjoyed using it day in and day out. But then there is the but, which is of course the price. We get to review TVs for free, but if we wanted to keep it we'd have to pay up like anyone else, and we're just not sure how we could justify the expense over the competition. That being said, there are plenty of consumers who could care less about color accuracy and contrast, and are more interested in thin, sexy, and internet streaming. And for them, it might be worth the extra money over a traditional LCD or plasma.