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In an age where XBox and PlayStation 3 are both offering high definition pictures, HD ready TV's are increasing in popularity and I can definitely see why the Samsung LE-26R74BDX has. The LCD TV has a sleek look and is compact enough so as to not take up too much space wherever you choose to place it. I personally have mine in my bedroom and it sits subtly atop my check of drawers level with my bed, giving me excellent viewing and not taking up huge amounts of space.
You may not expect this from a 26inch display, at a time where more and more of us are being accustom to huge flat screen Tvs everywhere, but the screen is the perfect size for casual TV viewing in your bedroom and can be seen from right across the room with the same level of quality as up close. Samsung have made the TV's design excellent, with in a super-sleek glossy black frame with a back angled triangle along the bottom. The speakers are hidden underneath the screen, which gives the set a compact appearance and continues the modern appearance all over. As well as this, the LCD TVs ingenious swivel stand gives you lots of flexibility in positioning the TV in any room of the house.
The TV comes along with a Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe), which boosts contrast, detail and colour whilst also smoothing motion. There is also dynamic contrast present, which ups the contrast ratio to 3,000:1.
As for performance, the Samsung LE-26R74BDX delivers some first class pictures. Hi-def games look absolutely great with "Game mode" activated - boasting clear, vibrant and clean images with quick movement and minute levels of motion blur. "Game mode" offers a quicker response time to combat image lag - which is simply an annoying effect of liquid crystal technology - while also sharpening the image and improving the imagery in dark areas. Providing that most console games are based on speed, this is a godsend for gamers everywhere, like myself.
Set up was easy enough and simply a case of plugging in all the cables (and in my case attaching my DVD player via the back) and setting up the stand. After plugging it in and turning it on for the first time, it automatically searched for channels. This process only took a few moments, but required no real effort and was a handy addition. In just a few minutes the channels were easily found and arranged in a logical order. Then I was given the option to reorder the channels if I so chose, but it was absolutely fine so I left it.
The Samsung LE26R74BDX - 26 inch looks good and the slim build is no doubt an excellent space saver but I didn't buy this tv to look at when it was switched off.
26in Widescreen LCD Television
High Definition Ready
Integrated Freeview receiver (IDTV)
1366 x 768 resolution
3000:1 contrast ratio
To cut a long story short...
The tv is said to be multi-purpose TV compatible for your PC and Gaming use. Once you plug in your PC to the tv it will be conveniently auto-scanned to the correct resolution and size. I didn't test it personally but as a PC monitor the brightness and clarity of text and pictures is supposed to be sharper and clearer than a conventional tv. I did briefly have a look at a PS2 Game and the image did appear to be sharper than on a normal CRT tv. You can also connect up the Xbox 360.
This is a bit of an irrelevance to me. HD programming is not going to be around for ages - don't forget that 2 years is a life time for tv sets these days. The technology is still developing and people buying the latest LSD and Plasma sets today will be buying something better in two or three years time. Rumour has it that a new breed of tv technology - SED - is on the way and it will outdo both plasma and LCD in terms of performance, picture quality and energy use. Make no mistake - all the rant about the need to have an HD ready set is one of the biggest consumer cons currently doing the rounds... and I don't care if you do have a Sky box - you're still in the minority.
I wasn't too impressed with the sound. This seems to be a common complaint with a lot of Samsung tv models. However, this is not something that would bother me too much because you can always attach your own speakers or surround sound system.
This was the major problem for me. Call me a perfectionist but... although the picture produced by this set was one of the better ones that I saw in the Comet store where I bought it, once you get it home you realise that you will have to put up with all the image problems associated with such technology.
According to Samsung pictures should be 'exceptionally quick and sharp, with a speed of up to 8 ms (millisecond), users will be able to see the remarkable difference in the response time of Samsung LCD TVs. The LCD TV ensures that each image is just as good as the real thing'. Let me tell you 8ms does not impress me and the tv image produced is nowhere near the real thing. Furthermore, Samsung sell pc monitors for less than £200 with response times of 2ms so why not a tv that costs over £500?
On this tv close up to the screen you will still notice the slight blur that occurs during rapid motion and the picture has that irritating grainy texture usually associated with LCDs and Plasma screens. You might be able to improve things a bit by reducing the sharpness and contrast or if you sit four or five feet from then you might find the image acceptable but why should you have to keep your distance from the screen so as not to notice the bad quality of the image?
In truth the picture produced by this tv possesses nowhere near the quality of my previous wide screen 28 inch CRT Panasonic. This factor alone was enough for me to take the tv back to the shop for a refund. Just think about it... what do most people want a tv for? Forget all the gimmicks of style, technology and connectivity. I want to be able to watch the odd movie, I want access to Freeview, to watch the odd footy match and keep up with what's happening in Corry. Why should we pay over £500 for a tv with a degraded image where a football match looks blurred and where dark scenes in movies are so dark you can't see anything at all? It is on the poor quality of the image that I cannot recommend this tv or any LSD/Plasma tv for that matter.
You can stick your LCDs and Plasma Screens I'm sticking with my good old CRT until the technology advances enough to provide consumers with a tv that provides a truly improved image.
I paid nearly £700 at Comet but I have recently seen it being sold on line for nearer £500 - not surprising.
The TV itself comes in a high-gloss black which simply oozes style. There are no visible moulding lines, creating a seamless finish that looks contemporary and smart; even the speakers are cleverly hidden under slight bevels at the front of the set, keeping things looking minimal and clean. The set is extremely thin compared to your average CRT, not to mention about half the weight; this makes the TV ideal for wall mounting or sliding into tight spaces.
A nominal level of physical set-up is required upon opening the box, and you will need a screwdriver handy in order to attach the TV to the stand, but this shouldnt take you more than a minute to do at most. On the other hand, if you wish to wall mount the TV, youll find that the process is far more involved, and extra investment will be required to buy the appropriate fixtures and fittings.
When plugged in for the first time, the TV will automatically search for channels. This process will take several moments, but requires minimal effort or interaction on your part. In a matter of minutes all my channels were found and pre-sorted into a logical order. You are then free to adjust and fine tune the results until you are happy with the way everything looks.
Theres a whole feast of A/V connectors on this television; there are two SCART connectors for your standard definition DVD players and set-top boxes, and an HDMI/DVI port for your high definition needs; theres also a VGA input for PCs, and various component connectors (Pr/Pb/Y) and S-Video links too. Thankfully, they are all laid out in a logical order, so you wont have to struggle too hard to hook up everything correctly. Whilst it is slightly disappointing to only see one HDMI port, it can no doubt be forgiven as a cost saving measure.
Unfortunately theres one rather large problem with the 26 models connectors which cant be forgiven, and thats the headphone socket. Unlike the 32, 37 and 40 models that all have the port conveniently situated on the side panel, Samsung have thoughtlessly relegated the socket to the rear of the 26 inch display. This means having to awkwardly reach around the back to put in your phones, whilst trying not to plug them into either the PC audio input or service engineer ports! This is made especially annoying when you consider the situations when headphones will be used the most; the last thing your sleeping cohabiters will appreciate is you waking them with the sound of raucous connection shuffling whilst attempting to find the correct jack in the middle of the night!
The remote is a rather standard affair, although its fairly long and thin making it more ergonomic than most bulky TV remotes. Needless to say the remote will control virtually all your TVs functions without too many hassles; Im glad to report that only a few buttons double-up on functions, leaving the layout clear and easy to use. The buttons may be slightly small for some people, but generally they are well spaced, with frequently used keys such as the power button made slightly larger than the rarely employed menu inputs.
The menu interface is simple, clear and subdivided into small, logically placed sections; you should be able to find whatever you need without too much difficulty, or getting lost in a quagmire of options and endless button pressing. The on-screen menus are a pleasant mix of blue, white and yellow with large, crisp lettering making them an uncomplicated pleasure to use.
Another interface feature demonstrated by the Samsung is PIP (Picture In Picture), whereby you can display the picture from one source inside of another. Unfortunately, this option is only available in a limited number of modes, which means that not all viewing combinations are possible; this somewhat undermines its usage, but still, its a nice element to have available to you should you need it.
As mentioned earlier, it is possible to connect this TV to your personal computer via a standard VGA connector. Surprisingly, despite not being able to utilize a digital connection, the image quality is strong and sharp. My only real complaint in this department would be the slightly fiddly setup that is required by my laptops graphics card in order to get the best resolution. Nonetheless, the TV itself adapts well to its new input, treating it almost like any other A/V device once it has undergone a resolution adjustment.
The Samsung 26 model provides a 3000:1 dynamic contrast ratio meaning great graduation levels between black and white. I have to say that I found the levels to be very good, and exceeded those of other sets that I have seen of a similar size and price.
12.8 Billion colours are available in the televisions palette, and when the source material is good you can really tell! Vivid, bold colours strike out at you creating lively images that jump off the screen. Subtle shades are given life, and look clean and crisp. In fact, all these colours are so deep and rich that sometimes it can become a hindrance. Whilst all this colour is great for glossy action pictures, it sometimes becomes a little overwhelming for regular viewing; when it comes to delicate shades (such as skin tone) the colour can become a little *too* oversaturated and may require a fair amount of fine tuning in order to look more soft and natural.
Importantly, Samsung promises a lightning fast response time from the R7 range, with figures of up to 8 milliseconds advertised in the promotional blurb. Generally speaking, the set does put on a sterling show and moving images are pretty crisp and clean. However, on long panning shots and fast moving credit sequences, it is still possible to notice slight amounts of tearing and juddering. Thankfully, this rarely becomes a major problem and the Samsung still comes out above par. A Game Mode is offered with the latest R7 models to help with response times and eliminate the tearing effect in videogames, and it does a reasonable job at almost eradicating these troublesome effects on my PS2 console at least.
Also included with this television is a dynamic lighting mode that automatically adjusts the brightness levels to respond to the ambient illumination of your room. This feature is annoying at best whilst potentially diagnosable as a set fault at worst! Fortunately you can turn the picture setting to Movie mode to turn the feature off and stop this iridescent nightmare.
By contrast, a rather welcomed picture feature is Samsungs DNIe mode. This attempts to enhance the picture quality without overemphasising images too severely. Included is a demo option in the menu for a side-by-side comparison of before and after; whilst this is a novelty of sorts, it certainly shows that the DNIe has the potential to improve the general look of the image. Of course, whether you want this artificial enhancement on your picture is another matter entirely
As far as audio goes, the set is rather underwhelming and perhaps the Samsungs only major weak point. The internal speakers, whilst masterfully designed and carefully concealed on the front of the set, are lacking oomph and have problems keeping their clarity at louder volume levels. SRS TruSurround XT is offered to create a pseudo-3D effect, but I felt it did little to lift the sound coming from the set, other than to slightly over-warm vocal tones.
Combining this with the headphone sockets poor placement on the 26 model, it soon becomes apparent that audiophiles will be requiring an external speaker package if they are to achieve full satisfaction with this set; however, for those who arent sonic-obsessed, the sound should prove just about adequate, if a little lacklustre, for everyday use.
Watching the Samsung is a mix of extreme highs and occasional lows. Being in a poor reception area, the standard analogue broadcast signals were grainy, oversaturated and fairly flat. However, it is wrong to blame the Samsung for this uninviting picture; I find this to be a common problem across the board with LCD displays, and my poor signal strength does little to ease the situation.
Free-To-Air digital from a Freeview box (or the internal digital tuner, if present) provides a better result. Here it was only really colour that proved to be a headache, requiring relentless fine tuning to get skin tones looking more like real flesh. Naturally, being standard digital definition there were a number of signs of digital distortions (such as edge artefacting) that whilst commonly detected on standard definition TVs, are slightly more exaggerated by the Samsung.
However, this is not a surprise, and once again is not really the fault of the Samsung. Put simply, the television merely highlights the technical limits of a standard definition image, and I doubt an HD ready screen out there could do a better job! Dont fall into the trap of thinking this set cant display an outstanding picture, because
DVD looks fantastic! Hollywood epics and fast action blockbusters were awash with vivid colours and looked pin-prick sharp; having sat and watched several computer generated features I was blown away by how much better they looked than on my old 23 CRT. Thats not to say that everything was a glowing success - obviously shoddy transfers looked just as shoddy as they always have done, but then I was never promised a miracle!
However, all this talk of Freeview and DVD is all slightly beside the point. What you really need to know is how it copes with high definition content, as why else would you buy an HDTV? Put simply, its awesome! So far I have been limited to seeing highly compressed clips, however even these looked out-of-this-world!
It would be unfair to comment on clip specifics, but needless to say it takes HD content for the Samsung to really shine to its full potential. The extra resolution afforded by HD creates a far more detailed image; most noticeably improved are large gradient areas of similar colour, such as skylines and seascapes, which instantly gain depth and look strikingly lifelike; similarly, individual grains of sand could be made out on sandy shorelines, and detailed leaves could be made out on trees. Needless to say, youll find it difficult switching back to standard definition after being treated to such a wonderful display!
Generally speaking I feel that most people will be more than happy with the Samsung, especially considering my extraordinarily high standards when it comes to image quality. Whilst sound is an unfortunate problem for this set, for the money, youll have a tough time finding an HD ready television that is even half as good as this!
one of the best TV on the market. It has a perfect picture and resolution, because of 3000:1 DCR (dinamyc contrast rate). Also Works perfect as a PC Monitor with 8 ms time. HDTV looks great on it. The only disadvantage is the sound. There are 2 speakers with no impressive sound. This year SAMSUNG will be leader on TV market together with SONY BRAVIA. Both use same LCD panels, with same resolution, but SAMSUNG give you lowest price. So don`t be afraid to put it on your wall:)
This is an amazing TV. The design is astounding with its glossy finish and hidden speakers. The picture quality is stunning with
a High Definition source, DVDs and the xbox360. But why pay for this TV when you can get it for FREE from www.hdtv-grab.tk?
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