Samsung UN55C7000 Review
Model: Samsung UN55C7000
Description: 1080p LED Backlit LCD Television (super thin)
Reviewer: Jack Burden
Date: Spring 2010
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Ray Romano on the Hank Haney Project by the Golf Channel in HD.
- Aesthetics – 1.2" depth with 1" bezel. Great looking TV.
- New Swivel quadrapod stand
- Good deep black levels – Avg. to good contrast.
- Excellent color saturation
- Optional 240/120Hz feature for sports programming
- Great connectivity options for such a thin TV
- 3-D Enabled for future programming
- Proprietary Wifi Internet TV Network
- 240Hz feature with Film based content (turn off feature)
- Difficult ISF calibration
- At times over saturation of colors
- Slightly Weak Volume/Audio output
- Blue tone inconsistency across gray scales
Test and Optimum Viewing Distance: 15 feet
Calibration Settings: Calibrating white balance was somewhat difficult on this TV. Blue tones continue to lack consistency in these edge lit Samsung LEDs, To dial in close to D6500 follow the following picture settings: Click here for extended notes and technical information regarding calibration.
|Color Temp:||Warm 2|
|HDMI Black Level:||Low|
|Film Mode:||Auto 1|
|For complete picture setting including White Balance settings please see the UN55C7000 Calibration page|
480i DVD and Broadcast Viewing: For any film or broadcast TV non-sports based material start by turning off the 120Hz/240Hz rate feature as follows: Click Menu/picture/Scroll down to Picture Options/Press enter/Scroll down to AutoMotionPlus 240Hz/Press Enter/Scroll or press to Off position. It is important to turn this feature off (see more on this feature under features section below).
Though we enjoyed this picture presentation from the 55C7000 for the most part, this scene from the HD Golf Channels Hank Haney Project shows some oversaturated whites (overbright) in the golfer's shirts and pants.
3-D Content Viewing Note: At CES 2010 we had our first chance to see this TV in action with 3-D content from DirecTV. There was notable eye strain as scenes changed. I found myself blinking a lot and started to get a headache fairly rapidly as my eyes tried to focus and refocus. It was not a smooth viewing experience. The upside to this is that I believe the tired eye experience was primarily due to the content from DirecTV and not the fault of the TV. I believe the content was rapidly patched together for the show and not likely typical of future 3-D content.
HD 1080p Picture Quality: There is nothing subdued about this LED TV, from its super thin good looks to its super saturated colors. Blacks are rich and deep and colors vibrant if not over powering at times. Some dark shadow detail is lost and and subtle color notes forgotten. But it's a colorful picture many will relish. Read our extended picture notes below.
Colors are showing vibrant and with well defined contrast in the zebras in this HD Discovery scene.
Black Level/Contrast: With color information both light and dark appearing so deeply saturated, contrast effect is excellent. Blacks appear inky and sometimes lose dark shadow detail. White light sometimes is distractingly too bright. Contrast appears more intense on the screen than the average of 191:1 post calibration ANSI checkerboard pattern contrast that we measured – probably due to the effects of the LED backlighting and saturated colors. See calculations here.
Dark Shadow Detail: As a result of the super saturated blacks, shadow detail can get lost in some scenes. In others, it was fine.
Saturated blacks dominate the golfers outfits leaving little dark shadow detail.
Color Rendition/Color Accuracy: Color saturation is a strength of these new LED backlit Samsung LCDs. Colors are super vibrant even if on the unrealistic side at times. It's what our society (maybe not so much purists) likes these days. On rare occasions there is some over saturation within blacks.
Rich saturated colors dominate greens even on a cloudy day when displayed on the 55C7000.
Viewing Angle/Off Axis Viewing: Contrast degrades at around 45 degrees off axis which is a slight improvement over last years model and average for an LED backlit LCD. An eyeball estimate of the decrease in contrast is around 20% (this is impossible to measure.) One positive is that contrast does not degrade more as the viewing angle widens past this initial 45 degrees. The screen remains perfectly viewable even at from side angles (with the reduced contrast).
Motion Lag: The UN55C7000 did a good job eliminating motion lag and judder with the 240Hz feature turned on. However, turning the Automotion Plus feature off does introduce some side to side judder (jerkiness). Neverthless, we recommend this action for especially film based DVDs and movies on broadcast TV.
False Contouring/ Mapping: Processor testing proved very positive for the C7000 series. However, we noted false grain and "mapping" in some older 480i DVD content.
Processor Testing: See extended Samsung UN55C7000 processor tests here. The TV tested very well when we ran it through a series of processor video board testing.
3-D Compatibility: Obviously, this is a strong new feature as many early adaptors will want this feature. As well, the manufacturers are charging a premium price in anticipation of its popularity. We tested this feature at CES 2010 as noted above in the PQ section. Some questions remain: What will be the effective resolution from HD content from this 240Hz LED TV? We anticipate something around 800 lines of resolution and not full 1080p HD.
Inputs: Amazingly with this thin screen Samsung has managed to fit 4 HDMI slots, a PC slot, a LAN Cat 5 slot (for Internet connection), 2 USB ports, and a component video input.
Aesthetic Considerations: The 55C7000 comes with a 15 to 20 degree swivel quadrapod (our word) table top stand. The stand is heavy, sturdy and gives and expensive quality with its gloss chrome metallic finish. The new 4 legged stand is a gutsy move and I like it. There are accompanying screws to further secure the stand to the TV. The super thin 1.2" screen depth is accompanied by an improved 1" bezel frame surrounding the screen. This is an improvement of an inch over last years model. The bezel frame itself comes in a new Touch of Color called Mystic Earth but which is a charcoal gray color. The frame really appears gloss black/charcoal gray.
Remote Control/Menu Funtionality: The backlit push button remote control for the 55C7000 is simple, basic and straightforward without the flash of the highest end Samsung models. This standard remote control contains a discrete button called P. Size for changing the video aspect ratio. The overlaid Menu system is very attractively laid out and thorough, but slow and cumbersome to navigate.
Audio Output: Sound volume levels seem weak from the 15W X 15W built in speakers. We can understand the challenges for speaker placement in a 1.2" deep TV. For a majority of programming changing the mode to movie, and utilizing the Clear Voice feature will help a lot to improve voice tone in DVD and broadcast material. SRS TruSurround is a useful feature for HD content but it doesnt help voice tone. Overall, audio delivery from the UN55C7000 was slightly better than last years model, which was not impressive.
Features: The Samsung UN55C7000 is loaded with extra features, some surprising, others more useful. AutoMotionPlus "240Hz" Refresh Rate: This is a true 240Hz with greatly reduces motion lag and judder in sports programming. But that's the only format for which we recommend it. Media Play: Use this feature connected through USB to keep picture and video files. Clear Voice, SRS and Movie sound options are listed above under Audio Output. We mention the new 3-D ready feature under the PQ section above. Click here for an overview of all the new features on this TV.
Internet Connectivity: The 55C7000 series expands the list of potential Internet partners with Blockbuster, USA Today, Netflix, VUDU on Demand, as well as the previously offered Yahoo news, Flikr, witter, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Video. These options are nice improvements from last years package and make it more viable.. Response time is still a little slow when clicking on the various options. This feature is wireless with an optional accesssory.
Power Consumption: The 55C7000 meets new energy conservation requirements for green design concepts to meet Energy Star 4.0 requirements.
Media Play: Use this feature connected through USB to keep picture and video files.
Clear Voice, SRS and Movie sound options are listed above under Audio Output.
Video Aspect Ratio Sizing: 16:9, 4:3, Zoom 1 &2, Wide Fit, Screen Fit round out a complete set of options for viewing modes controlled by P. Size button on the remote.
Price Considerations: At around $3000 at local retailers, this is no inexpensive proposition. It is one of the first TVs out with 3-D compatibility and a premium is currently being asked for that feature, but dont rush home expecting to watch 3-D content on it yet. It demands a premium for some of Samsungs newest technology including 1.2" depth, LED backlighting, Internet connectivity with expanded options, a gorgeous heavy table top stand, and it's one of the best looking panels we've seen. Competition hails from the picture quality focused Sony XBR-52HX900, the local dimming 240Hz/480Hz LG 55LE8500, and the super thin Sharp 52LE920UN. And let's not forget many other Samsung offerings such as the UN55C8000 and UN55C9000.
Rating scale from 70 (denoting poorest quality) to 100 (signifying the very best quality). A rating in the 60s for any particular category of a product review indicates a serious defect which causes the product not to operate properly. Picture quality is double-weighted in the Overall Rating Score calculation.
Review Equipment Used: Sony Blu Ray BDP-S1 High Definition DVD player, Sony DVP-S50 DVD player, Sencore Color Pro 5000, Sencore Auto Cal Pro, Sencore signal generator.
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