Samsung UN46D6000 LED LCD HDTV Page 3
JAG on HDNet via Dish Network looked spectacular, with super-sharp detail and excellent color in skin tones, blue water, and "peanut butter" naval uniforms. Also shadow detail in dark scenes was great, with lots of subtle details clearly visible.
Turning to Blu-ray, Cars looked similarly beautiful. The black letterbox bars were quite dark, but I could see a bit of light in the corners, especially in dark scenes. The LEDs turned completely off in the black fields that separate the opening shots, but it seemed quite natural. This effect was not so natural on Master & Commander—the drop to full black between the opening titles was somewhat distracting, and the non-uniformity was very evident in the black-background title screens. Also, shadow detail in the watchman's below-deck walk wasn't great—increasing the Gamma setting helped more than the Shadow Detail control.
That high Gamma setting made Seven Years in Tibet on Blu-ray look a bit washed out, so I settled on a value of +1, which yielded pretty good shadow detail in the night scenes. Otherwise, the colors were gorgeous, and detail was superb, though the letterbox bars were a bit light in the corners. The lack of dark-field uniformity was nowhere more evident than in the opening shot of Stargate: Continuum on Blu-ray, which consists of a field of stars against the black of space. However, the shadow detail in the scene of the Achilles steaming across the Atlantic was pretty good.
The detail in Star Wars VI on DVD was as good as can be expected from standard def, but of course, it was somewhat softer than Blu-ray or HDTV. The drop to full black between opening titles was obvious but fairly smooth, and the non-uniformity issue was clear in outer-space scenes. Shadow detail in Vader's shuttle cockpit and Jabba's dim lair was quite good, and colors were excellent.
To use the Smart TV functions, you must create an account that includes typing in an e-mail address, which is a pain with the telephone-style keypad. (Fortunately, Samsung offers a free remote app for certain Android and iOS devices that provides a virtual QWERTY keyboard, making it much easier to enter text.) Then, you must install the apps you want—I installed BBC, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and Netflix. Oh, and you also need to enter the picture settings again—Smart TV defaults to the Dynamic picture mode.
With a downstream speed of 5Mbps in the studio, I had no trouble with any streaming. YouTube plays full screen, and it looked surprisingly good—I watched Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir sing Lux Aurumque, which is a sublime piece of music. Sure, I could see some jaggies and other artifacts, but it was better than I thought it would be.
With a Netflix account, I could access high-def content, so I watched an episode of Numb3rs, which looked a bit soft compared to broadcast HD, but better than I expected. There were some obvious artifacts in zooming shots and geometric grids, but no buffering pauses, and the color was excellent. Running a network bandwidth test while this stream was active revealed that it was using 2.73Mbps, and the screen blanked momentarily a couple of times during the test, but there were no buffering pauses. The Twilight Zone in standard def looked crisp and sharp in the correct aspect ratio.