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In our home, the television is a large part of our family entertainment. When our previous model was starting to show signs it was on its way out, we decided to make the jump in technology to a SMART television. This Samsung model was on sale in Comet at £399, and you can currently get it from amazon for the even more bargainous price of £381.
We opted for a 32 inch screen as this was going to be used in our living room. The size of this seems a lot smaller than our previous telly, as the actual set is not that much bigger than the screen, so instead of having a lot of extra material around the screen, you have a very smart looking frame of about an inch around the screen.
The TV is on a rectangular stand. I thought this was a bit ugly at first compared to some of the other brands that had oval bases, but it is sturdy and functional, and only a minor cosmetic thing. I thought it would be a bit of a dust magnet as it is quite a shiny plastic, but it has actually not been too bad.
We have quite a few Samsung products in our home now. Both myself and my husband have Samsung mobile phones, and we also have a fridge from this brand too. We find the technology is very suited to our needs, and the devices also have a very sleek and modern look which backs up the technology. No point in my view having a clever piece of technology that you just can't even stand looking at.
The thing that immediately grabbed us with this device is the picture quality. The screen is backlit with LED's, and the picture quality is so true it is a beautiful thing to look at. We find that there is a depth to the picture that was not there on our older LCD TV. The technology has progressed so much in the 7 years since we last bought a television. We really notice this quality when watching very high quality programmes filmed in HD and big budget films like Avatar. The colour is true and it is almost like looking at something in real life rather than a TV screen. Not quite 3D, but very layered. The definition you get is amazing, and I think it is something you have to see for yourself to believe.
The speakers are on the rear of the screen of the telly, and the sound quality is really clear. We used to watch films before using the hi-fi system we own to improve the quality and clarity of the sound, but now we don't need to do this at all. The sound is perfectly clear even when we are using lower volume levels. It almost feels like a cinematic experience now and we tend to watch more films as a couple as it is an enjoyable experience.
The TV is really simple to operate with the remote control that came with it. The freeview signal is excellent. Our last TV had freeview, and we also have a freeview box for the smaller telly in our room, and we find that we have a lot more channels available to us through the telly than before.
Previously we had our DVD player and our Talk Talk TV box attached to the TV via SCART connection leads. This TV only has one SCART connection point, and we have not yet invested in extra cables so it is currently a bit of a pain only being able to have one item connected to the TV.
There are composite and HDMI input points to get round this problem if we upgrade the cables, and there are also 2 USB connection points on the telly if we wanted to connect something like an external hard drive to the TV.
However, the SMART aspect of the TV has been fantastic. We have subscriptions to lovefilm and Netflix to watch online content. Previously we could watch the Netflix via the Nintendo Wii on the main telly, but we could only watch the lovefilm via our laptop or PC. Now we have both available at the touch of a button. Before we could watch BBC iPlayer and channel 4 on demand via the Talk talk box. We were limited to only a weeks iplayer, which could be a pain. Now we can watch five on demand and the ITV player as well, and can watch anything that anyone watching online can watch.
Pressing the SMART button on the remote brings up all of these websites along the top of the screen, and you can navigate using arrow keys on the remote to the option that you like. Both Netflix and lovefilm are brilliant on the SMART tv as you can access a large amount of content whenever you want, and one great benefit with the lovefilm is that you can put a parental pin onto the service, so we know that the kids can't access anything that they shouldn't if we are not in the room. Netflix does not have that facility, but it would be helpful if it did. We have had no connectivity issues with accessing the online content. It is always available when we want.
There is some access to Samsung apps via the web. This is fairly restricted to TV apps, but it is not really something we have much interest in doing through the TV anyway. Something we have looked into is an app called Allshare which can share items between my husband's smartphone, our home PC and laptops, where we can access any photos or documents from any of the devices and then show them on the TV. My husband wanted to wind the kids up by putting a picture on the telly from his phone. I guess in the future this may lead to being able to control the TV via the smartphone, and set it up to record items if we were out, but the technology is not quite up to that speed yet.
Another reason we wanted to get this TV was that you can use skype via the internet through the TV. We regularly skype my husbands parents to keep in contact and let them see the kids. However, it is a pain getting them to sit near the computer, so we thought we would use this. We have not managed to do this yet, but it is good to know that it is there for us when we are ready for it.
There is nothing I really can fault with the TV. It is simple enough to use that we are all competent at operating it, even my 4 year old. The only thing that bugged me at first was that when you are looking through the menus the telly makes a beep that sounds like the Wii does when looking through that menu, so I was constantly checking the boys were not on the Wii when they shouldn't be. I believe this can be switched off, but it is something we just got used to hearing.
There is a TV guide menu on the screen to use which is like what you see on Sky TV or talk talk TV, and it is very easy to plan our viewing and you can programme the telly to do a reminder where you say you would like to watch a programme, and then you get a reminder message and the TV automatically switches to the programme you chose.
Overall, I can't think of anything to fault. It is modern, and has made telly watching more pleasurable and a lot easier than with our previous model, and I feel for a price of £399 to get this level of technology is pretty amazing. For this price, this is one of the best TVs on the market. I might have been tempted to get a slightly larger model as it looks a lot smaller than our last TV because it is so streamlined. I find it looks a little small in the gap, but it is a small irk.