Cheap (€749 including 20% vat)
No noticeable "dot crawl"
Default picture quality is bad
Tweaked picture quality is mediocre
Noticable motion blur
Picture fades noticably
as viewing angle increased
Sound is very shallow
Can't connect PC to DVI port
Blacks are quite gray
No cables provided
cheap remote control
Energy saving mode
introduces buzzing noise
No digital TV decoder
I bought this relatively cheap LCD TV from in Ireland in August 2006, and compared to my Dell W2600 it's worse in every regard.

The first thing I noticed was the sound, which is much worse compared to the Dell. The Dell's speakers apart from being three times more powerful are about the same size as the Samsung's, but have much better base response. In addition the TRS in the Dell helps again. There is no possibility of using an external sound system when using the TV tuner in the TV so this is quite disappointing. The documented response of the sound system is 80Hz-15KHz for RF and 80Hz-20KHz for AV.

While talking about sound, it's worth noting that there is a noticable hum from the back of the TV when any of the three power saving modes are activated. The power saving modes reduce the power to the backlight giving a darker picture, and can be set appropriate to your environment. Even though I mostly watch TV at night I turn it off because of the humming noise. I wonder does turning it on prolong the life of the backlight?

As for picture quality the specs below suggest the Samsung should be better than the Dell, but it's worse, and for certain scenes with lots of detail (wide angle field sports for e.g.), it really is terrible.

AttributeDell W2600Samsung LE27T51B
brightness 450 cd/m2 500 cd/m2
viewing angle ±85° ±85°
contrast ratio 500:1 1000:1
weight 19.5kg 12kg
speakers 15W each (with TRS sound)5W each
pc connection DVI & VGA @ 1280x768 VGA only @ 1360x768 @ 60Hz
resolution 26" at 1280x768 27" at 1366x768
response time 25ms 16ms
tuners 2 1

I am using this TV mainly with standard terrestrial TV and I can see that the LCD panel itself is good quality as is the TV tuner. However there is just too much digital processing going on between the two, and detail is being lost. When watching soccer for example, there are blurry artifacts around the players and the ball, to the extent it's difficult to figure out what's going on. For close up shots it's not so noticeable but faces are smoothed too much (and also too red), and dark areas in the picture are very shallow (you can't make out detail in dark areas).

I did read reviews of this TV and most were very positive, and I found none mentioning these issues. This is a lesson to take online reviews with "a pinch of salt", as people tend to be over enamoured with their new purchase and just want to reenforce to themselves that they made the right choice. The manufacturers and retailers talk the good points of the product up enough, so one should only consider negative online reviews IMHO. Some good sites I did subsequently find for reviewing LCD TVs are AV Forums and LCD compare.

One can improve things by reducing the problematic processing by disabling the following.

Dynamic Mode Auto adjust for room light levels Picture varied too much
Dynamic Contrast Auto adjust for picture light levels Compressed dark areas so detail lost
Noise Reduction Smooth out fuzzys Too much smoothing
Sharpness Enhance picture edges Distorted edges (of wide angle soccer)

Later I noticed that LCD TV buying guide has a good explanation of why these are turned on in the first place. I had a look at tweaking the digital processing some more in the service menu after I found a few references blaming Samsung's DNIe processing. For this and many Samsung TVs while in standby mode hit the info, menu, mute, power buttons to get to the service menu. I was presented with the following.

The first thing to notice is no mention of DNIe that was mentioned in the komplett specs. I obtained the service manual and noticed the following discrepancies from the komplett specs?

attributeservice manualkomplett
speaker power5W7.5W
LCD response time16ms12ms
contrast ratio1000:1800:1
digital processingFLI5961 + VCT49X3FDNIe ASIC

So this TV is actually based on a reference design from Micronas and Genesis. The service manual suggests that the correction registers in the service menu for the Micronas and Genesis chips are ignored without the password, and anyway the manual gives no indication as to what the values mean. So it looks like I'm stuck with the current mediocre TV picture quality for the moment.

Update Oct 2006...

I just wasn't happy with the quality of this TV and had based my choice on the inaccurate info documented above (provided by cnet to komplett). Komplett agreed with my complaint and promptly refunded me. Following are some pictures from the TV that hopefully give some illustration of the problems. Note the TV had a "still" option so the artifacts in the pictures below are not due to the TV panel or camera response. They are totally due to the digital processing between the tuner and the panel. In summary the problem with the processing I think is that there is too much blending between frames. In slow moving scenes this is OK as can be seen in:

However a still from the same film during a time of movement gives:

It's easier to see what's happening in the following examples. Here the champions league logo is panning down the screen (quite slowly), and one can see the shadows of the old blended frames above the letters:

Taking a closer look:
© Nov 2 2006