Last Updated: November 10, 2013
2011 Samsung LCD TV Sets
A Complete Product Guide
Which are the best Samsung LED and LCD TVs
at the different budget categories?
Samsung HDTV lineups have always been characterized by one of the largest range of models available from a single brand; this year lineup is no exception, with forty-six different CCFL and LED LCD TVs.
One might say this is far from the almost seventy Samsung LCD TVs we have seen in 2010. True but when one takes into account the persistent bad economy, this still represents a massive lineup and one of the largest from a single TV brand. This means that if you are in the market for an HDTV, there is surely a Samsung CCFL LCD or LED TV for you, whether that being an expensive feature-rich HDTV or an entry-level budget-class television; there is one problem though: TV choice!
Help is on the way. We are presenting a detailed product guide covering this year Samsung LCD TV lineup. In the process, we highlight the pros and cons of each CCFL and LED LCD TV series and then conclude this TV review by picking those that in our opinion are the best Samsung LCD HDTVs for 2011.
Samsung UN60F8000 60-Inch 1080p 240Hz 3D Ultra Slim Smart LED HDTV
This high-end feature rich LED HDTV comes with Samsung's Micro dimming Ultimate LED backlight technology - among the best in its class for black level performance. It is also the TV with the best feature set.
Introducing the latest Samsung LCD TVs: Definitely these are among the best in design but... What is exactly on offer?
Samsung HDTV lineups are always among the most awaited thanks to their relatively rich feature set and solid picture performance; these often come at a price that is well within reach of the average household budget.
However, Samsung HDTVs come at all price bracket—from small cheap LCD TV to expensive massive flagship models. This is no surprise when considering that this year forty-six different LCD TV models are spread over seventeen series; screen sizes range from 19-inch 720p sets to 65-inch 3D LED HDTVs. Thirty-six of these 2011 LCDs use a LED backlight. This shifting away from the traditional CCFL LCD TV is typical of most 2011 TV lineups from major brands.
High-end models sport among the most technologically advanced features. Impressive is the ultra thin 0.2-inch bezel employed by Samsung on its flagship D8000 LED TV series for screen sizes up to and including 60-inch; the result is an almost frameless design, thus giving you more TV picture for less wall space. Almost equally thin is the bezel found on Series 7 and some Series 6 Samsung LED HDTVs. Other features include improved 3D and the much touted for 2011, Smart TV and Micro Dimming Plus LED backlight technologies. Do not expect these premium Samsung LCD TVs to come cheap though we dare say that when considering what's on offer, they are still relatively affordable.
But as we have stated earlier on... There is always a Samsung LCD TV—CCFL or edge-lit LED—to choose from the extensive 2011 HDTV lineup. Rather, the problem many face when it comes to selecting one of the many Samsung HDTVs is mainly one of choice!
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CCFL-Based Samsung LCD TVs: Best Bang for your buck
Unfortunately, the traditional CCFL LCD TV lineup is shrinking fast; this being so not only with Samsung but with all major TV brands. For many this represents 'old school' display technology. But while CCFL LCD TVs do not support the same thinness and energy efficiency of LED TVs, yet they are capable of a very good picture with better brightness uniformity and a wider viewing angle than that of most edge-lit LED TVs. And this at a price that is significantly cheaper than an equivalent LED TV.
Series 4 and Series 5 LCD TVs:
Entry-level Samsung LCD TV sets comprise Series 4 D403 and D450 720p HDTVs, and Series 5 D550 1080p HDTVs; screen sizes range from 22-inch up to 46-inch.
These Samsung LCD TVs are no-frills sets. The D403 series consists of just a 32-inch version and comes in a high gloss black finish instead of the ToC found on D450 and D550 HDTVs.
LN46D630 120Hz 46-inch
PHTG Best Choice Award
Apart from the 1080p resolution, the D550 adds Samsung Allshare DLNA-certified network connection to transfer videos, music and photos from your network devices to your Samsung TV via the set Ethernet port; included is also Samsung ConnectShare Movie to watch videos, play music or view photos from a USB drive.
These Samsung LCD TVs come with enhanced HDMI connectivity—a total of four HDMI inputs—and are Wi-Fi ready; all that it takes to access your wireless network is the $50 Samsung LinkStick Wi-Fi USB dongle; you will also be able to access your broadband Internet connection for direct firmware upgrade.
These are among the most affordable CCFL LCD HDTVs from a major brand; the best-selling entry-level Samsung LCD TV—the 32-inch Samsung LN32D550 1080p HDTV—is selling online at under $500. At this price bracket, the Samsung D550 represents a good bargain for a 1080p HDTV with DLNA support.
Series 6 Samsung LCD TVs:
Next in Samsung LCD TV lineup is the CCFL D630 step-up series with its 40-inch and 46-inch HDTVs; the latter is the largest Samsung LCD TV for 2011 while the 40-inch is turning out to be a most popular HDTV among the top-selling TVs on amazon. This is no surprise; at just $600, this is one of the cheapest 40-inch LCD HDTVs for general home entertainment from a major TV maker that offers excellent picture quality. The LN40D630 is also suitable for use as a large PC monitor supporting full 1920x1080 pixel resolution via the TV HDMI/DVI connection.
Feature-wise, D630 Samsung LCD TV series is basically a 120Hz version of the D550 Series 1080p HDTVs. The 120Hz refresh rate means that Series 6 Samsung LCD TVs include Samsung Auto Motion Plus 120Hz with Clear Motion Rate for a smoother motion during fast action content. This is achieved by inserting interpolated content between frames of video content, thus creating a non-repetitive transition from one frame to the next. The result is almost complete elimination of blur and enhanced clarity for smooth, lifelike motion. And you can always switch off the Auto Motion Plus feature if this smooth action movement is not for you - like when watching 1080/24p movie content.
2011 Samsung LCD TVs with LED Backlight Technology: Ultra-slim, energy efficient, and enhanced features
Through the new lineup of LED HDTVs, Samsung is once again confirming itself as the leader in the LED TV market—with thirty-six different models, six of which use the latest Samsung Micro Dimming Plus LED backlight technology.
Though as expressed in our LCD Display Technology article, Micro Dimming Plus is far from being as precise as full-array LED with local dimming technology, yet it is capable of allowing for a more precise localized control of the backlight than we have seen on the 2010 C8000 version. The end result is one of the best pictures you will ever come across 2011 HDTVs—irrespective of brand or display technology.
Screen sizes range from small 19-inch 720p LED HDTVs to large one-inch thin 60-inch and 65-inch 3D LED TVs. Interesting is that even at 60-inch, Samsung latest new design supports an ultra-thin bezel of just 0.2-inch thick, making Samsung flagship D8000 series LED TVs look almost frameless! This is all part of what Samsung is referring to as 'One' design on its more expensive 2011 LED HDTVs. However, more than aesthetically, the real implication of the 'One' design on selected Samsung LCD TVs is that it enables you to fit a larger TV screen in places where traditionally you would had to do with a smaller one.
Entry-Level Series 4 and Series 5: Edge-lit LED TV technology for less
At the entry-level, one finds the D4000 and the D4003 720p HDTVs; these are basically the same as the D403 and D450 720p CCFL LCD HDTVs already referred to above but with an edge-lit LED backlight. And like the D403, the D4003 comes in a glossy black finish instead of Samsung ToC design. One minor difference here is that the 32-inch UN32D4000 comes with four HDMI inputs instead of the two found on corresponding CCFL Samsung LCD TV series.
Next in line is Series 5 with its D5000, D5003, D5010, and the D5500 sub-series; these represent Samsung entry-level 1080p LED HDTVs. Main upgrade over Series 4 is the 1080p panel resolution.
With Series 5 HDTVs, Samsung also introduces what is being referred to as 'Clear Motion Rate' (CMR); Series 5 Samsung LCD TVs come with a CMR of 120.
This CMR is a new terminology Samsung is using for 2011; it is suppose to make use of advanced LED backlight technology that regulates the LED output precisely in synchronization with the LCD panel refresh rate to lessen the time it is lit. This helps reduce ghosting and motion blur. The CMR rating also takes into account the video engine processing speed. The number associated with the CMR rating describes how capable a TV is to display fine motion detail; the higher the number the better a TV is supposed to be in this respect.
Samsung 32-inch UN32D5500
The problem with this CMR issue is that Samsung nowhere equates the CMR rating with the actual number of supported horizontal lines when displaying motion content. In effect, all Samsung should have done was to simply specify the supported motion resolution in terms of supported horizontal lines. In absence of this information, CMR is nothing more than a fancy new term that may even mislead end customers. It is as if Samsung is trying to hide behind new terminology to impress by presenting higher numbers while doing away with the hard facts.
The main difference between D5000, D5003, and D5010 Samsung LCD TVs is just a matter of finish; D5003 HDTVs come in a high glossy black finish while D5010 sets come in a glossy white finish instead of the more traditional Samsung Touch-of-Color design. Instead, UND5500 Series LED HDTVs come with a slightly enhanced feature set in a similar manner to the D550 Series CCFL LCD HDTVs.
Extra features found on D5500 Samsung LED TVs include Allshare DLNA-certified network connection via the set Ethernet port, Samsung ConnectShare Movie, and four HDMI inputs instead of the two found on the rest of the Series 5 LED TVs; D5500 sets also come as Wi-Fi ready.
Screen sizes range from 22-inch for the D5000 and D5010, to 32- and 40-inch for the D5500 series. Best-selling Series 5 LED HDTV is the Samsung 32-inch UN32D5500—which at an online price of $550 represents a good medium-size HDTV option for those looking for a cheap LED TV for general home use.
Series 6 Step-up LED TVs: Best all-rounder Samsung LCD TV series
Further up the 2011 edge-lit LED Samsung LCD TV lineup is Series 6. This is the series that covers the largest number of models—sixteen in total—spread over four different sub-series, the D6000, D6300, D6400, and D6500; screen sizes range from 32-inch to massive 60-inch.
Series 6 main upgrade features over the less expensive Samsung LED TVs are 120Hz refresh rate/CMR240 technology, Smart TV features, and Samsung Ultra Clear panel. D6400 and D6500 HDTVs also get 3D and Samsung latest ultra-thin 0.5-inch bezel instead of the more traditional Samsung ToC design.
Samsung 46-inch UN46D6000 LED HDTV
Best-selling Samsung LCD TV for 2011 with edge-lit LED backlight technology
This is Samsung LED TV series that in our opinion delivers the best value for your money thanks to one of the best feature sets at a price that is well within reach of the average household budget. This is also the TV series that is attracting among the most positive LCD TV reviews - achieving an above average rating in customer feedback posted online at major retail sites including amazon, Best Buy and B&H.
The Ultra Clear panel means these Samsung LED TVs come with a glossy screen. This is the same as that used on more expensive series; it does a very good job in maintaining blacks and color saturation even in brightly lit environments—performing better than most matte screens found on LCD TVs from other brands. However, reflections from Samsung's shiny screen, especially of brightly lit objects in the room, may turn out to be rather distracting especially during predominantly dark scenes.
The Smart TV feature mainly consists of Samsung Apps—an upgraded version of what we have seen on 2010 HDTVs; this is one of the best web-connected suites available on any TV. However, supported Smart TV features vary between the different Series 6 LED TVs; the D6300 Series adds a built-in Web Browser with basic search facilities to browse the web straight from your TV, while the more expensive D6500 Series come as Skype enabled.
Unfortunately, the D6500 Samsung LCD TVs do not feature the built-in web browser. In our opinion, this would have represented a more welcome feature at this price level than Skype since the latter requires the addition of the rather expensive Samsung CY-STC1100 Smart TV Camera accessory. On the other hand, D6500 LED TVs come with built-in Wi-Fi which not only saves the extra expense of the Samsung USB Wi-Fi dongle but also leaves you with an extra USB port for your use.
Best-selling Series 6 Samsung LCD TVs include the 46-inch UN46D6000 and the 40-inch UN40D6300 LED HDTVs. The 46-inch is selling online at just under $1,000—making it one of the most affordable 46-inch LED Smart TVs at the time of this write-up; this is also the best-selling Samsung LED HDTV for 2011, followed by the 55-inch UN55D8000 flagship Samsung television.
Series 7 Samsung Premium 3D LED TVs: For the latest advancements in edge-lit LED backlight technology
Series 7 Samsung LCD TVs cover five different models, 46-inch, 55-inch, and 60-inch D7000 HDTVs, and the 46-inch and 55-inch D7900 sets. Jumping onto a Series 7 Samsung LED TV calls for anything between $300 and $800 more over a corresponding Series 6 LED TV.
Series 7 is mainly a 240Hz version of the D6500 series Samsung LCD TVs in that these Samsung LCD TVs include the full feature set of the D6500, but with a few significant differences. Apart from the 240Hz panel refresh rate, all Samsung Series 7 LED TVs come with built-in Web Browser (similar to that found on the D6300 model), and a handy QWERTY remote control. As explained in our Smart TV guide, this is a flip-type remote which comes with a standard TV remote on one side and a QWERTY-type keyboard coupled with a small LCD screen on the other. The most interesting thing about the Samsung QWERTY remote is the included LCD screen which makes it easy to see exactly what you are typing instead of having to look at the TV screen each time you press a key.
D7000 LED TVs also introduce the concept of Samsung Micro Dimming. Unfortunately, here again, Samsung is making use of terminology in a rather misleading way. The micro dimming feature as implemented on the D7000 HDTVs is not the same as that found on D7900 and the D8000 series. The latter series use the latest and much touted Micro Dimming Plus technology. Micro dimming as implemented on the D7000 is a software-based algorithm that analyzes the picture, breaking it up into many squares, and then adjusts the panel brightness to account for darker and brighter areas.
Instead, on D7900 and D8000 Samsung LCD TV series, this whole concept is taken a step further with Micro Dimming Plus LED backlight technology. In addition to the Micro Dimming software, Micro Dimming Plus features built-in hardware that allows for each of the different LED light modules forming the LCD panel backlight, to be automatically adjusted independently. The result is improved picture quality. According to professional LCD TV reviews of the D8000 series 55-inch Samsung LED TV, this LED backlight technology as implemented on these 2011 Samsung LCD TVs delivers significant improvement in picture quality over that supported by the 'precision dimming' technology found on the 2010 Samsung C8000 series.
We stated earlier on that both Series 7 LED HDTVs use 240Hz panel refresh rate. Note however that Samsung is quoting a different CMR for the D7000 and the D7900—with the D7000 being rated at 720 while the D7900 is rated at 960; this difference mainly emerges as a result of the different backlight technology employed between these two different Samsung LCD TV series. The implication here is that the D7900 should be capable of supporting higher resolution motion detail than the D7000. However, our past experience in this regard shows that once you move from 120Hz to 240Hz panel refresh rate LCD/LED TVs, it would be hard for the unaided eye to perceive any difference in the supported motion resolution.
Best-selling Series 7 LED TVs is the UN55D7000 55-inch Samsung LCD TV; this is selling on amazon at $1,900.
D8000 Samsung Flagship LED TVs: Best-rated Samsung HDTV series
The D8000 is top of the range Samsung LCD TV series for 2011. As expected, it comes with one of the best feature sets in its class.
Samsung Series 8 comprises four screen sizes, 46-inch, 55-inch, 60-inch, and the 65-inch. It is being defined as Samsung flagship series but apart from a different styling, it does not offer anything extra over and above D7900 HDTVs. It comes with the same Micro Dimming Plus LED backlight technology and has the same Clear Motion Rate of 960; the latter suggests that these Samsung LCD TVs use the same video engine and LED scanning backlight technology in conjunction with the 240Hz panel refresh rate to achieve the same motion performance.
This means that all you will be getting extra for the extra $80 or so you have to pay for a D8000 Samsung HDTV over a corresponding D7900 model, are two pairs of active 3D glasses that come bundled with D8000 LED HDTVs.
Samsung 55-inch UN55D8000
According to an LCD TV review published by Cnet, the D8000 picture quality is not exactly what you expect from a flagship HDTV at this price level; Cnet's main complain relates to picture brightness uniformity issues - typical of most edge-lit LED TVs.
But in its review of the D8000, flatpanelsHD.com says that the D8000 LED TV represents a huge improvement over last year C8000 series—concluding that this is the best edge-lit LED TV they have tested so far, a great TV, one that competes well with plasma TVs in the high-end bracket.
In reality, the main problem with the Samsung UND8000 LED TV is not so much its picture quality; this is one of the very best you can find irrespective of display technology. Just browsing through customer feedback posted on major retail sites would soon tell you that the extra-majority of customers find this Samsung LCD TV picture 'awesome' to say the least. Rather, the real problem with the D8000 series is its expensive price tag - with an MSRP of $3,600 for the 55-inch UN55D8000. Luckily for those looking for a top-rated HDTV for their home theater, this 55-inch Samsung 3D Smart TV is selling online at a reduced price of just over $2,100. It is still very expensive with respect to average HDTV pricing, but it is definitely within reach of many home theater budgets, so-much-so that the 55-inch UN55D8000—followed by its 46-inch version—has become the best-selling premium LED TV for 2011 on amazon.
This is all a question of what you are after; with such a vast range of CCFL and LED backlit Samsung LCD TVs to choose from, it should not be difficult to find one that comes with the feature set you want within your price bracket.
Budget-class category: Our preferred choice here is the 40-inch LN40D630 120Hz Samsung LCD TV. With its sub-$650 price tag, it represents one of the best cheap LCD TV options from a major TV brand. Do not underestimate the so called 'old school' LCD TV technology. This CCFL-backlight LCD TV offers solid picture performance at a price that gives you the best bang for your buck. In addition, the D630 comes with enhanced connectivity and Samsung Allshare DLNA-certified network connection. The latter is most welcome by those who download loads of multi-media content on their PC; it enables you to view your media content straight from networked PCs on your TV without the need for an additional media player.
Step-up HDTV category: With Samsung, you can enjoy the slimness of an edge-lit LED TV for a little bit more. Again, it is Samsung Series 6—D6000—that offers the best value for your money. Our preferred choice here is the 46-inch UN46D6000; with its sub-$1,000 price tag, this 120Hz Samsung HDTV is one of the cheapest LED TVs at this screen size.
The D6000 introduces you to the latest hot specs for 2011—Smart TV—with Samsung Apps. It is true that you would not get web browsing support on the D6000. Not that you will be missing much in our opinion but if you want a Smart TV with web browsing, the D6300 offers an equally affordable option with its 40-inch and 46-inch versions; these are selling under $850 and $1,100 respectively.
As with most edge-lit LED LCD TVs, the D6000 suffers from minor picture brightness uniformity issues, but nothing that would ruin an otherwise solid picture thanks to its accurate colors and solid grayscale performance. The D6000 comes in a stylish ultra-slim design that is just 1.2-inch thin, and has an FTC estimated yearly energy consumption of just $14.
Premium HDTVs: This is definitely an easy one! If budget is not an issue and you want the best LED TV, the 55-inch Samsung UN55D8000 is the one that delivers. It does not come cheap but at its present reduced price of $2,100, this Samsung 3D Smart TV brings you the latest LED HDTV technology in an ultra-slim stylish design characterized by an almost frameless panel, and a superb picture that competes well with that of high-end plasma TVs from both Samsung and Panasonic.
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