I had a 32-inch Sony LED HDTV with 720p resolution that I loved and I’d had it for nearly nine years when, suddenly, the display developed a thin but noticeable vertical black line that divided the picture into nearly even halves. Obviously, putting a lot of money into having a nine-year-old TV repaired was not advisable. By the way, in late 2006 when I bought the old TV, it cost me $1,089.00.
So I ended up buying this Samsung 32-inch LED HDTV with 1020i resolution for $329.99. I would willingly have purchased one model down (for $199.99), but it didn’t have enough input ports for my DVD changer, my Blu-Ray disc player, my cable box/DVR and a DVD recorder/VHS disc player. This one did, so I bought it.
It works like a charm – the cable box/DVR, Blu-Ray disc player and the DVD changer all hook up with HDTV cables – very nice – and the DVD recorder/VHS player unit hooks up with component cables. With the use of a two-for-one splitter, I have a pair of wireless headphones and my stereo amplifier hooked up to the “audio out” port on the back of the TV. It’s nice to be able to listen to the audio of a concert, an opera, a film on DVD or Blu-Ray (especially with music) through my stereo amplifier and my large, high-quality stereo speakers.
This TV does so much more than the old one, too. It has a built in WiFi capability and is now paired with my desktop PC so I can watch video files, listen to audio files and look at photographs stored on my computer. (I had to download software called “Samsung Link” for free and install it on my PC for that.) Also, the TV now can browse the internet directly through my PC’s WiFi connection, so if I wanted to join a service (such as Netflix), I could watch videos directly on my TV.
The menus were easy to figure out and so is the remote, which includes play, stop, pause, fast forward and rewind buttons for use when viewing a video on the TV. The picture resolution is excellent. Playing around with picture and audio settings has enhanced my viewing and listening experience.
I have just two tiny complaints. First, the screen surface is more reflective than I wish it were. If the picture is dark at any given moment, I can detect images of items in the room reflected in the screen. My old TV had a much more non-glare finish on the screen and I wish this new TV did, too. Also, Samsung has things backwards when it comes to the power indicator LED. The old TV had a green LED that lit up to show that the TV was on. Thus, if I turned off the cable box causing the picture to go dark, that lit green LED let me know that I still needed to turn the TV’s power off. The new Samsung, however, has a red LED at the lower right-hand corner that lights up when the power is off, and shows nothing when the power is on. Thus, if I turn off the cable box causing the TV to go dark, I have to notice that the red light is NOT on to be reminded to turn the TV’s power off. To my mind, a power indicator light should be on when the power is on – not seeing a light on is a lousy reminder to turn the power off. My sister has a Samsung computer monitor that acts the same way – the blue power indicator LED is on when the power is turned off, and the LED turns off when you switch the power on. She has the same complaint – turn off the computer and you have no good indicator that you need to turn the monitor power off. I can’t imagine why Samsung has that feature backwards.
But that is a small quibble because everything else about this television is primo and hooking it up was easy, too. Three devices each requiring a single HDMI cable made it a lot easier to hook it up.
One really excellent feature is a built in, online e-Manual for the TV. Instead of having to track down a paper booklet and read through it, there’s an e-Manual button on the remote (also accessible from the menus), and that presents a screenload of icons, each of which is a category. Cursoring over to any given icon will present a list of what that icon has for subject matter, and using that e-Manual taught me many of the things this TV could do. For example, I wondered if I could customize the various inputs from HDMI1, HDM2, HDMI3 and “Component”, and I discovered how to do that. Now they have new icons for a cable box, a Blu-Ray disc, a DVD and a VHS unit, and I was able to customize the inputs to read “Cable Box/DVR”, “Blu-Ray Disc”, “DVD Changer” and “DVD Rec./VHS”. It wasn’t hard to do, but I needed the e-Manual to tell me to push the “south” button on the remove while cursored to each input – doing that revealed a pull-down submenu offering customization of each input.
I can’t believe how good this TV is compared to the old one and the price was less than one-third what I paid 9 years ago – and the dollar is worth a lot less now, too.