* Prices may differ from that shown
Choosing a TV can be confusing and whilst many suppliers offer what seems to be a fantastic price tag on a state of the art flat panel LCD or Plasma television, the picture and sound quality can differ greatly between models. Although your supposed bargain may look fantastic on the wall, once turned on consumers can feel let down by the picture and sound quality that somehow seems inferior to their old bulky box that previously took up half of the living room.
The Samsung LE 32R73BD is a 32 flat panel LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) TV, incorporating a digital freeview receiver and is reasonably priced but certainly not the cheapest at around £650.00. The same TV can be bought without the inclusion of a digital freeview receiver for around £70.00 less. We purchased ours from Currys using their website and saved £70.00 on the listed store price.
*** Why this Particular Make and Model ***
I had seen this TV in my local Currys store and was initially impressed with the overall appearance of the TV itself and quality of the picture. The connections on the rear seemed ample for my needs and when researching on the net, although there were not many reviews or opinions to be found, those I did find were not negative ones. This coupled with the fact I had purchased Samsung equipment before and their customer service in my opinion had been first class, persuaded me to part with my money.
*** Whats in the Box ***
The TV comes with a remote control (2x AAA batteries included), a stand if you are not going to be wall mounting the screen, a cleaning cloth and various paperwork including a user manual and warranty cards. Everything is very neatly packaged and an important point to note is even with all the packaging the total weight is around 40lbs, which is very light for the size of the TV and I was able to lift the box with ease. Out of the packaging, the TV and stand together weigh in at a fraction over 34 lbs, if you are going to be wall mounting the TV this is a major plus. Whether wall mounting or using the stand, one person will be able to site the TV in its location without the need for help.
*** The Look ***
As I mentioned earlier the appearance of the Samsung was a contributing factor when deciding to buy. The TV measures 800mm wide, has a height of 548.5mm and is only 80mm in depth. The casing around the screen is not invasive measuring less than 2 around the top and sides of the screen and is silk satin black in colour that looks simply stunning. I wall mounted the screen and at night with the lights out, the casing blends into the darkness of the room leaving just the screen visible, giving the illusion that the screen is floating in mid air.
*** Installation ***
The stand is packaged separately and if used will need to be attached to the screen using the 4 screws supplied. I purchased a wall mounting kit that had swivel brackets allowing the TV tilt up and down if required. By sheer luck paying the extra money for the brackets that tilt as opposed to a rigid fixed installation meant I could tilt the screen upwards allowing more room to get my hand behind the TV when mounted on the wall to plug in the component and aerial cables. If there had been no movement on the bracket, plugging in the cables would have been very difficult indeed .
When turned on for the first time the TV immediately searches for digital and analogue channels and not much more than 5 minutes later, all channels were stored and I was up and running.
*** Connections ***
On the back of the panel there are an array of connections which should suit the majority of consumers. There are 2 scart sockets (only the bottom one carried the superior RGB signal), one HDMI (High Definition Media Interface), S-Video and standard A/V input sockets, PC in via a 15 pin D-Sub connection and audio, Optical digital audio out and a headphone socket. On the side (left hand side) of the panel for easy access when wall mounted is a further S-Video and standard video inputs as well as audio left and right and another headphone socket. These are ideal for connecting your camcorder or digital camera.
*** Picture and Sound Quality ***
We also have a 42 Samsung Plasma which we purchased about 2 years ago and I was anxious to see how the 32 LCD Samsung squared up against its big brother. In a nut shell the picture quality is just superb but its worth baring in mind I purchased high quality audio and video cables to connect to the TV as standard cables are inferior and have an adverse effect on the picture and sound quality, something Id learnt when we purchased the 42 plasma TV 2 years previously.
The quality of the picture is very clear indeed, bright and vibrant which seems to be down to Samsung opting to use a panel with a contrast ratio of 5000:1. The contrast ratio is the difference in light intensity between the brightest white and the darkest black. As a general rule of thumb the higher the contrast ratio the better the picture quality.
On my 42 Samsung plasma I was slightly disappointed with the way in which it deals with darker colours. When watching night time or very dimly lit scenes, dark colours seem to blend together making it difficult to see whats going on but with the 32 Samsung no such problem, the picture remains crystal clear with no colour blend. The bright colours are equally impressive, sharp and vibrant with skin tones looking very realistic. Using the high definition connection obviously produces the best quality picture and when linked up to an Xbox 360, which also outputs a high definition signal, you see your previously played games in a new light, absolutely stunning.
The sound is not quite as impressive as the picture quality. In fact if I had purchased this for the main TV in the house I would be far from satisfied as it can be described as standard at best. The sound is loud enough but the inbuilt speakers lack bass and tones can at times sound muffled. We purchased this TV for our bedroom so I was not too concerned as we are unlikely to ever want the sound blasting out. The TV does support optical out and just to test, I lined the TV up to our hi-fi system and it was superb, that said slightly over kill for a bedroom TV.
*** Remote Control ***
The remote control is very easy to use, with all buttons clearly marked, so much so, you could learn 90% of the functions without referring to the manual. As well as controlling the TV and the inbuilt digital freeview, you can also program the remote to control other devices such as DVD players, VCRs, Sky and Cable boxes which is a bonus as theres nothing worse in my opinion than than having an army of remote controls.
*** Other Features ***
There are several buttons hidden on the right hand side of the TV, which can be used if you loose your remote (happens all the time in my house) or the batteries simply run out. The TV can handle PiP (Picture in Picture), which means you can overlay a second picture from your connected equipment whilst still watching your analogue or digital channel. The on screen menus allow for customising of both the sound and picture quality, there is also an inbuilt mini equalizer for the sound, when tweaked this does improve the sound a little. The TV has a built in clock and timer and this can be set as an alarm function if you wish or set the TV to automatically turn on or off. Although I mentioned at the start the TV auto tunes itself, you can access the menu to retune one channel or set the auto scan off again if desired.
*** Overall ***
This is an excellent TV, however if you are purchasing it as your main living room TV, I would seriously consider investing in a home cinema kit to greatly enhance the sound quality. The picture quality is superb and the array of connections wont leave you wanting. Whilst not the cheapest 32 LCD its not the most expensive but you are getting exceptional picture quality, that for me represents good value for money. The Samsung looks fantastic wall mounted but be aware when choosing the wall mounting kit as I mentioned earlier.
I would have to give this 8 out of 10 and would recommend this to others.