Updated: December 14, 2012
Samsung DLP TV Sets for 2008
Series 7 (HL-A750) LED DLP HDTV Review
...third generation of LED-powered Samsung DLP Televisions
Series 7 represents Samsung latest proposal of premium line yet affordable 1080p LED DLP TVs. These Samsung DLP TVs continue to build on last year extremely successful 87S/89S LED-powered DLP TVs.
The HLxxA750 series promises to deliver improved performance over last year already exceptional LED DLPs at an even lower price, this apart from a full range of advanced features, exhaustive connectivity, high dynamic contrast ratio, and a stylish slim design in an all-black high gloss finish. The question is...
How does the latest Samsung LED DLPs stand against similar premium 1080p HDTVs - irrespective of technology? More in this Samsung DLP HDTV review.
Mitsubishi WD-73642 3D DLP TV
This is the most affordable 3D 73-inch HDTV presently available on the market. It is true that this Mitsubishi DLP TV comes with a reduced feature set, but you get a massive 73-inch 3D TV for the price of a 50-inch LED TV.
More on 2012 Mitsubishi DLP HDTVs can be found in our rear projection TV review page here
2008 Samsung LED DLP TVs: Samsung third generation of LED powered DLP HDTVs
Despite that rear projection technology is on its way out as prices of big-screen LCD and plasma TVs continue with their downward trend, Samsung seems determined to remain in the RPTV business as it continues to invest heavily in its LED DLP line of rear projection HDTVs.
It is true that for 2008, Samsung is presenting a reduced line of DLP TVs to take into account the present consumer demand. But the fact that a major TV giant like Samsung continues to invest in new rear projection TV technology, should serve to assure those in the market for a large-screen HDTV, that rear projection is still worth opting for.
This proves once again that rear projection systems are still worth considering as valid big-screen options. And they are more worth now that this technology is approaching the end of its lifespan since rear projection TVs are becoming even more of a bargain than ever. In particular, present LED DLP TVs have so far proved capable of exceptional overall performance at a significantly lower price than corresponding plasma or LCD HDTVs.
Series 7 (HLxxA750) Samsung DLP TVs represent Samsung top-of-the-line series in its 2008 range of rear projection TVs; its main characteristic is the LED light source. The HLxxA750 represents Samsung third generation of LED DLP HDTVs and comprises two models, the 61-inch HL61A750 and the slightly bigger brother, the 67-inch HL67A750. Online prices vary from $1,500 for the 61-inch to around $1,900 for the 67-inch.
This year Series 7 Samsung DLP TVs follow on the footstep of its predecessors, namely the HL-xxT87S we reviewed on our site last year; these were the first 3D-ready LED DLP HDTVs to appear on the market.
The 2007 Samsung 87S series - together with the flagship line of LED-powered Samsung DLP TVs for 2007, the 89S series, did at the time prove extremely successful among large-screen TV buyers, thanks to their exceptional black level performance, accurate color, extensive feature set, and equally important, best overall performance-to-price deal. Above all, the 2007 line of LED DLPs did represent a giant leap in performance over first generation S79W LED-powered DLP HDTVs released in 2006. The S79W series had impressed with its lack of rainbow effect, and despite its uneven screen uniformity, delivered very good picture quality for an RPTV.
It is therefore only logical to expect that this year follow-up, the Samsung Series 7 LED DLP TVs, delivers even more. For sure, the new 2008 line comes with one of the best feature sets around among HDTVs and this irrespective of price. In particular, the new LED line includes loads of options to help you tweak the picture for best performance, this apart from an extended array of connections, including three HDMI ports and a variety of analog AV inputs.
Best-Sellers within the HDTV Category
These Samsung DLP TVs are turning out to be among the best-sellers within the HDTV category on the Amazon site - reaching a sales rank of #28 for the HL61A750 and #50 for the HL67A750 at the time of this write-up. Equally significant, out of some 180 customer reviews posted on the amazon site, these Samsung DLP TVs score a product rating of 4.5 stars.
Major electronic review sites also indicate that the new HLxxA750 series is truly capable of delivering even more than its predecessors - this apart from doing better than the competition. Overall, these Samsung DLP TVs are excellent performers, with very deep blacks for any HDTV and accurate color temperature, this apart from a friendly on-screen user menu system.
Introducing the Series 7 - 1080p LED-Powered Samsung DLP TVs
Samsung Series 7 DLP TVs main feature - as expected - is their LED-powered light engine. These make use of Generation 2.4 Luminus patented PHlatLightTM LED light technology by Luminus Devices Inc.
PHlatLight (short for Photonic Lattice) LED products are considered to be the brightest and most versatile solid state light sources available today. In fact, the new LED light source delivers a 40% brighter image at an even lower consumption than the previous version, while supporting the larger screen size of the 67-inch HL67A750 Samsung DLP TV in this year lineup.
This new LED lighting is rated at 60,000hrs - which means that you would not need any lamp replacement for the expected lifetime of the HDTV. It also makes use of a built-in light sensor with current feedback to ensure that the light output from the LED light remains stable over the full life of the TV. This is another major development over the 20,000hrs rated lifetime of the LED lighting used in second generation Samsung DLP TVs. Even more so, this represents a serious improvement over the frequent lamp replacements - typical 3000hrs to 5000hrs - necessary with traditional lamp-based sets.
The 2008 lineup of LED-powered Samsung DLP TVs is also more environment friendly - requiring only 230W for the 67-inch. That's almost half the power requirements of a typical 60-inch plasma HDTV; power requirement in standby mode is less than one Watt.
But there is more to the new LED DLP HDTVs than zero lamp replacement and low power consumption...
LED-powered DLPs rely on the use of red, green, and blue light emitting diodes (LEDs) that fire in rapid succession to light the DMD. This rapid firing sequence replaces the mechanical color wheel. No color wheel leads to a quieter operation with sets that are less likely to need repairs as there are no mechanical moving parts.
Furthermore, the ultra-fast switching action of the different color LEDs in the light pack, and the complete lack of black segments necessary in a color wheel set-up, help eliminate the rainbow effect for all but the exceptional sensitive viewer.
The LED light pack produce a more directional and effective light source. This leads to more efficient use of the light power. The result is lower electricity consumption than conventional lamp RPTVs; it is also substantially lower than that of LCDs and power-hungry plasmas.
Less power also means that LED-based DLPs generate less heat - meaning they need less fan action; again, this translates to a more quiet cooling system.
Zero lamp replacement and low power consumption leads to very low cost of ownership.
Quicker turn on time - 5 seconds for these LED Samsung DLP TVs against the typically 30 seconds and more for lamp-based sets!
Wider color gamut that exceeds 100% the NTSC defined color space; this yields improved color rendering, which together with the exceedingly deep blacks possible with LED-based DLP TVs thanks to the LED pack capability to display any color at any intensity, leads to an overall superior picture quality.
More consistent picture quality over the LED DLP TV lifetime; in contrast, HID lamp-based sets suffer from sever deterioration in the picture as the lamp approaches replacement within just a few thousand hours of use.
Series 7 Samsung DLP TVs ...in detail
Samsung 2008 DLP HDTVs perform much better than Samsung second generation sets - thanks to a totally redesigned LED light engine. The on-screen user interface has also been improved. On the other hand, it do lack the convenient second RF input present on 2007 sets and the second S-Video port, while the supplied remote is no longer a universal remote.
As is the norm with rear projection HDTVs, what you get for these Samsung DLP TVs is once again more picture and less frame.
Series 7 Samsung DLP TVs come in a stylish slim cabinet with a glossy black finish and a reduced bezel width that is no more than 0.6-inches thick at the top and sides. Overall, design takes a pleasing minimalistic approach that keeps the focus on where it should be... the screen!
The bottom of the frame is a little bit thicker to house the down-firing hidden speakers. To complement the whole aesthetics, there is the usual set circular blue backlit power button, which resides on the bottom part of the frame - center front; the blue accent light can be disabled from the set-up menu. On the right-hand side of the power button, there are three small indicator lights and the set remote control sensor, while the set basic control buttons are placed along the vertical side on the lower right-part of the cabinet. This placement makes the controls invisible from the front while further enhancing the simplistic look of these Samsung DLP televisions.
Though this year Samsung did not come up with an ultra slim-line version of its DLP HDTVs as it did in 2007, yet Samsung LED DLP TVs for 2008 are still relatively compact at 14.4-inches for the HL61A750 and 16.6-inches for the HL67A750. It is believed that this year slightly wider cabinet adopted on Samsung DLP lineup has been done to help correct some of the geometry issues caused by the UltraSlim design launched in 2007.
Overall dimensions and weight are as follows:
61-inch HL61A750: 58.4" (W) x 37.8" (H) x 14.4" (D); weight - 70.1lbs
67-inch HL67A750: 60.8" (W) x 41.5" (H) x 16.6" (D); weight - 86.7lbs
These dimensions and weight render the new LED series of Samsung DLP TVs relatively easy to handle during installation.
As already indicated earlier on, the use of an LED light pack renders these Samsung DLP TVs extremely energy efficient. Power requirements under default conditions are 172W for the 61-inch and 230 for the 67-inch; these values may very well fall by approximately 50% when these sets are calibrated for use in a darkened environment, e.g. a home theater.
The really big issue with these Samsung DLP TVs is their re-designed LED-powered light engine. The HLxxA750 1080p sets use what Samsung refers to as 'CinemaPure™ Color Engine.' It displays 40% brighter than traditional HDTVs.
As expected, these LED DLP TVs come with 1080p - 1920 x 1080 pixel native screen resolution. At these big-screen sizes, 1080p would surely start to show up its superiority in handling picture detail over 720p - despite only at close viewing distances. And sitting as close as 1.54 times the screen width in front of these large screen HDTVs would definitely lead to a great immersive experience. (More on TV viewing distance can be found here.)
Like last year models, the new LED DLP TVs also come with 3-D HD content support. This means that the new DLPs are capable of displaying 3-D games, movies, and other programming using DLP® HDTV 3-D format (when used with 3-D compatible LCD shutter glasses and relevant hardware).
The HLxxA750 series of Samsung DLP TVs also come with a similar contrast ratio rating as last year's models, namely 10,000:1. By last year's standards, this was exceptionally high; by today's standards for plasma and LCDs, this may sound pretty low. But as we have always stated in our reviews, do not let TV makers play the contrast ratio game! Even 10,000:1 is too high a rating for the human eye to perceive, least imagine the latest 1,000,000:1 some manufacturers are quoting for their plasmas and LED LCD HDTVs! Contrast alone does not make the picture, and while an improved contrast ratio do make a difference, yet the perceived difference does not always correspond to what these big numbers seem to imply. More on contrast ratio ratings can be found in our article: 'The Contrast Ratio Game - Playing with Numbers!
These Samsung HLxxA750 LED DLP TVs offer a whole assortment of picture adjustments in addition to the usual standard adjustments for contrast, brightness, sharpness, color, and tint. There are three picture modes - Dynamic, Standard, and Movie - with Movie offering the best out-of-the-box factory settings.
Five selectable settings are available for color temperature - with the Warm 2 setting being the closest to the broadcast standard.
Additional picture adjustments are also available under the 'Detailed Settings' menu. These include a black level adjustment, which affects shadow detail, dynamic contrast adjustment on the fly, Edge Enhancement, a flesh tone setting, six different gamma settings, a color gamut adjustment, and xvYCC Color to increase the color space when watching movies from an external compatible high definition source.
The color gamut takes three levels - wide, normal, and sRGB, with the latter being the most accurate with respect to the HDTV specifications for red, green, and blue.
It is also possible to adjust the brightness level of the LED light source. The LED Control offers a choice of six pre-set levels of LED brightness levels. This is a most useful feature as it can help in improving the set black levels.
Equally important is the Blue Only Mode setting which is helpful in adjusting the color and tint to the preferred values by switching off the red and green colors. This would make for a more exact calibration of these Samsung DLP TVs, but you need a setup disc as further detailed on our site here to get access to a standard color bars pattern; alternatively, you can also make use of the test pattern you get late at night on some TV stations once their programming is over.
In reality, setting up the color and tint levels with the blue mode is very easy once you have a suitable color test pattern even though Samsung states that this is for system experts.
Once you activate the Blue Only mode, the white and blue bars on the SMPTE test pattern shown here would both appear blue. The issue is to get these as close a match as possible.
Go to the Color adjustment, and adjust the color control until you notice that the two big blue bars on the far right and far left side of the screen match the intensity of both of the smaller horizontal blue boxes just directly below the bars.
Original SMPTE Color Test Chart
Next step is to adjust the Tint (green/red) setting. Adjust the tint level until the intensity of the other two large blue bars to either side of the center black bar (note that during the Blue Only mode, the yellow, green, and red bars in the test pattern will show as black since the red and the green are switched off), is in line with that of the corresponding smaller blue rectangles directly below.
You will notice that color and tint are interactive; moving one control also affects the intensity of the other control - meaning that all four blue bars will be affected. Proper color/tint setting is achieved once all four vertical boxes appear as solid blue bars, with no visible distinction between the bars and the rectangular boxes underneath.
Other picture settings include a four-position noise reduction control. Samsung proprietary DNIe (Digital Natural Image engine) delivers additional image detail with 3D noise reduction, improved contrast and white enhancement when in the Dynamic picture mode.
The picture position controls make it possible to adjust the position of the image in all four directions. There are six aspect ratio controls; a Just Scan mode is also included on these Samsung DLP TVs. This is supposed to give a full image without any cutoff when viewing HD (1080i or 1080p) content via HDMI or component video. However, despite that the Just Scan is supposed to be a dot-by-dot mode, yet it still overscan the image slightly (by approx. 2%), sufficient to just cutoff the extreme edges of the image.
For the audio part, the HLxxA750 Samsung DLP TVs deliver 10W RMS per channel. As with many other HDTVs, this Samsung LED DLP TV comes with SRS TruSurround XT technology to deliver good simulated 3D effect, clear dialog during playback of surround-encoded material, and improved bass response - particularly important with the set small built-in speakers.
Overall sound quality is not among the very best; rather, it is far from being the perfect match to Samsung Series 7 great picture performance. However, if you are opting for a TV of this screen size, the probability is that you will be hooking it to a home theater system.
The new Series 7 Samsung DLP TVs come with picture-in-picture support, but this is rather a very restricted PIP feature. You can use this PIP mode to simultaneously watch the TV tuner in analog broadcast mode only (these Samsung DLP TVs come with a single tuner capable of decoding both analog and digital TV modes), and one external video source.
More specifically, you can view analog TV broadcasts on the PIP screen (sub-picture) only when the main picture is from an external device connected to HDMI 1, HDMI 2, HDMI 3/DVI, Component1, 2 or PC; it does not work the other way round. Unfortunately, this implies that once the digital TV transition is completed by midnight of February 17, 2009, the PIP feature on these Samsung DLP TVs becomes useless.
There is no power save mode on these LED DLP TVs but as already expressed earlier on, these sets are extremely energy efficient with power requirements that are well below those typical for HDTVs of these screen sizes.
As to the set menu, this is basically same as that present on the 2007 models; it feels easy and intuitive in use. However, the supplied remote did undergo a complete makeover and not necessarily for the better in that it is no longer a universal remote. Furthermore, unlike last year version, there are no backlit buttons to help you around in a darkened environment while the circular dial around the 'Enter' button may make menu navigation a bit award. Other than this, it still feels functional overall, while the 'Tools' button makes accessing frequently used functions quick and easy.
During 2007, Samsung had come up with a smart way of providing ease of access to the connection panel on its line of DLP RPTVs. Instead of placing the rear connection panel dead center in the back side - as is the case with most TV sets, Samsung placed the panel on the right side.
Samsung has continued with this placement on its 2008 line of DLP TVs. This placement - while still concealing the connection panel from the viewing position, yet it makes all connections easily accessible from the side without having to move the TV. This is a most important aspect especially during system installation.
The 2008 Samsung DLP TV line come with one RF TV antenna input unlike pervious versions which did include one for the roof-top antenna and another for cable TV.
Other than this, the HLxxA750 Samsung DLP TV sets come with a more than adequate array of connections - ranging from three HDMI inputs, to a mix of composite video and S-Video inputs, an S-Video output, two component-video inputs, a VGA-style PC input, an RS-232 port for servicing, a digital audio out, and a USB 2.0 port - labeled WISELINK, to display JPEG photo files, play MP3 music files, and to install firmware upgrades.
There is also a 3D sync out to connect a 3-D IR emitter to synchronize the LCD shutter glasses when viewing 3D content.
The HDMI are Ver.1.3 compliant which means that it supports increased bandwidth (10.2Gbps instead of the 4.95Gbps), HD lossless audio formats (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio), and a wider color space (xvYCC) thanks to a color bit depth of 48 bits per pixel; the latter leads to a smoother HD image.
No doubt, one of the greatest things about the HLxxA750 series of LED-powered Samsung DLP TVs is the lack of rainbow effect some may experience with traditional lamp-based/color wheel DLPs especially when viewing bright/white objects on a mostly dark background.
But there is more to like about the 2008 line of Samsung DLP TVs than just no rainbows. Out-of-the-box settings are almost spot-on especially when selecting the Movie picture mode and Warm 2 setting for color temperature. Mind you, these default settings still leave place for some minor improvements in overall picture quality through proper calibration with the assistance of some setup DVD. But this in itself is not a prerequisite as the default settings will still allow you to enjoy a great picture.
Overall picture performance of these Samsung DLP TVs is one of the very best with solid deep blacks that compares favorably with plasma TVs especially as one turns down the LED brightness level. A deep shade of black is important as it helps improve the realism of dark scenes while making colors look richer and more saturated. The minimum LED brightness level you can set on these Samsung DLP TV sets is a compromise between a deep level of black and overall image brightness - meaning that it also depends on the light level in your viewing area. However, as we often say, if you want to enjoy the very best picture out of these large screen TVs, you have to be in a darkened environment.
Color accuracy is one of the best you can find among premium HDTV sets - irrespective of technology. Primary and secondary colors are again spot-on and color decoding is excellent with realistic greens and reds once you set the color correctly. Luckily, the HLxxA750 Series of Samsung DLP TV sets make color and tint setup fast and easy thanks to the Blue Only mode referred to above. Furthermore, grayscale is also in line with the broadcast standard when combined with the Warm 2 setting for color temperature.
The accurate color of these Samsung DLP TVs and the exceedingly deep level of blacks lead to an impressive overall picture performance especially with HD content.
With off-axis viewing, black level performance and color do suffer somehow, but this is the same as with LCD TVs.
Equally important, background brightness is practically 100% uniform across the whole screen surface. Similarly, image geometry is also very good, both horizontally and vertically, with hardly any bowing and lines remaining relatively straight along the whole surface of the screen.
Video processing is clean from noise and free from artifacts. These Samsung DLP TVs can de-interlace 1080i material correctly, preserving the full definition of the original interlaced signal both when handling video and film based content. This is a real plus in favor of the new Samsung LED DLP TVs as most 1080p HDTVs fail to de-interlace 1080i film-based material properly.
On the other hand, handling of standard definition content is not among Samsung Series 7 best capabilities especially when using the set component video inputs with film-based content; the resultant image is rather soft for a 1080p HDTV and with a significant presence of jaggies along diagonals.
Another issue concerns the 2:3 pulldown detection. Though the Movie Mode on these Samsung DLP TVs is supposed to engage 2:3 pulldown detection, yet these Series 7 DLPs are unable to handle 2:3 pulldown correctly. You will have to rely on your source to handle this correctly (using a progressive-scan or upconverting DVD player). Not much of an issue but can be annoying.
On the plus side, the Samsung HLxxA750 LED Series is still capable of resolving every single line in the DVD format while video-based content did present very well with hardly any aliasing artifacts along moving diagonals.
When used with a PC via the TV PC-input, these HLxxA750 Samsung DLP TVs can deliver crisp clear text though to get the full 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, you will have to connect your PC via one of the HDMI ports. However, doing so will not enable you to use the Auto Adjustment function in the Picture menu to automatically fine-tune the settings and adjust the frequency values and picture position to better match your PC source.
The other issue with the PC input - irrespective of whether this being fed via the set VGA input or via one of the HDMI ports - is that as indicated earlier on, when selecting the 'Just Scan' mode, the displayed PC image is still slightly overscanned by around 2%. This overscan, while not an issue with program content, is surely annoying when it comes to having the edges of your desktop truncated as certain window controls will simply disappear.
The Series 7 line of LED-powered Samsung DLP TVs for 2008 - with its 61-inch HL61A750 and the 67-inch HL67A750 - is without doubt, one of the best large-screen 1080p DLP HDTV lineups ever released.
The very few issues associated with the Series 7 Samsung DLP TVs - failure to engage 2:3 pulldown correctly with standard definition content, the slight overscan, the deterioration in picture performance with increased off-angle viewing, and a restricted PIP support, are surely not enough to tarnish an otherwise exceptional overall picture performance.
Equally important for the end customer at a time when the economy is not doing well is that these Samsung DLP TVs are making it possible to those in the market for a large-screen TV, to enjoy the latest cutting-edge LED lighting technology, with all its benefits and practically zero maintenance, at a truly inexpensive price tag.
Some may argue that these Samsung DLP TVs represent a technology that is approaching the end of its life - but this in itself is making these high tech sets even more of a better bargain as rear projection TV manufactures continue to lower their prices to counteract the flat-panel competition.