Last Updated: November 2, 2013
The New Series 7 Samsung LCD TVs
for 2009 - Full Product Evaluation
Samsung B750 Series of LCD HDTVs
This year Series 7 Samsung LCDs are characterized by the latest spec of the day i.e. 240Hz refresh rate technology. They come with an impressive 150,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, an ultra-sleek design, a full set of advanced features, exhaustive connectivity, and a clear glossy screen which - irrespective of what you think about shiny screens - is capable of very good picture quality.
Samsung premium LCD HDTVs do not come cheap, but price-wise, these HDTVs are set to deliver better overall value for your money than the competition.
We are not saying these HDTVs are perfect... but the new Series 7 LCDs have all it takes to become the best-selling HDTVs for 2009. More in this LCD TV review article.
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 new 2009 Samsung Series-7 LCD TVs
Released just a few weeks ago, Samsung's new Series 7 - also referred to as B750 - represents the latest premium line of conventional 1080p Samsung LCD TVs for 2009.
This new series comprises three screen sizes, the 40" LN40B750, the 46" LN46B750, and the largest in the lineup, the 52" Samsung LN52B750.
Samsung B750 2009 LCDs continue where the 2008 Series 7 left. The new lineup comes with improved internet TV, improved pixel response time, improved dynamic contrast ratio, and the most significant of all, 240Hz instead of the 120Hz refresh rate present on the 2008 Samsung LCD TVs. Interesting is that this 240Hz refresh rate technology represents the main enhancement over the cheaper B650 series within the new 2009 lineup.
Jumping onto the 240Hz bandwagon costs an extra $300 over the corresponding Series 6 Samsung LCDs. Yet apart from this 240Hz refresh rate and the somewhat sleeker design of the B750, other differences between these two 2009 Samsung LCD series are minor. These include a 2msec response time instead of the 4msec on B650 HDTVs; this faster pixel response is necessary to support the 240Hz refresh rate. There is also a marginal increase in the dynamic contrast ratio of 150,000:1 instead of 100,000:1 for Series 6 - a difference which despite the extra thousands, would be hard to perceive in real life. More on this in our article on contrast ratio.
It still remains a fact however that with the latest 2009 LCD TVs, Samsung has set about a new standard in dynamic contrast and picture performance. These 2009 Samsung LCD HDTVs are selling at anything between $400 and $700 below their MSRP. The present average online selling price varies between $1,950 for the 52-inch, down to $1,470 for the 40-inch; this represents a price bracket that makes these Samsung LCD TVs among the most appealing within their respective category.
Earlier on in this introduction, we referred to the B750 series as Samsung's premium line of 'conventional' LCDs. We say conventional LCDs because these high-end HDTVs use CCFL backlighting technology as opposed to the newer LED backlights found on the latest local-dimming and edge-lit LED LCD TVs. However, do not do the mistake of equating LED TVs with superior picture performance because this is not always the case.
Rather, the new B750 Series HDTVs can deliver very deep blacks - not as deep as LED TVs but with better shadow detail than that supported by UNB7000 edge-lit LED counterparts. Similarly, they deliver better screen uniformity and support the same level of color accuracy as LED TVs.
It is therefore no surprise that the new 2009 Series 7 LCDs are already generating a lot of interest among consumers and HDTV reviewers alike. These LCD TVs seem set to repeat what Samsung achieved with its 2008 A650 Series and in particular, the LN52A650. The latter turned out as the top-selling HDTV during the last twelve months.
Now that 240Hz has become the latest and greatest spec of the moment, we believe the new 52-inch Samsung LN52B750 within this year Samsung Series 7 has all the characteristics to become the best-selling HDTV for 2009.
Of course, nothing is perfect; if you are after the best in picture performance, top plasmas from Pioneer, Samsung and Panasonic still deliver better. But if want one of the best LCD HDTVs and are ready to pay the premium for a full suite of interactive content and 240Hz technology, the new Series 7 Samsung LCDs should then be on top of your short list.
The B750 Series of Samsung LCDs in Detail
Design: Like Samsung 2008 HDTVs, this year Samsung LCD TVs also come with Samsung's unique Touch of Color design.
There is a significant difference though; the 2009 Series 7 LCDs TVs incorporate a more neutral, and we add, elegant charcoal gray TOC design into the all-glossy black frame instead of the red so typical with most Samsung HDTVs.
The rest of the design takes a glossy black finish with a transparent plastic edge that stretches just beyond the four sides of the frame. The frame is relatively thick but design still looks compact. Overall dimensions are 49.5 x 31.3 x 3.1 inches without the stand for the 52-inch, 43.9 x 30.2 x 3.1 inches for the 46-inch, and 38.7 x 24.8 x 3.1 inches for the smallest set in the lineup. The included swivel stand adds an extra 2 inches in overall height plus a further 7 to 9 inches in the total depth.
The stand design itself is quite unique, with a transparent column support that visually separates the black panel from the matching black base.
Screen: As if to complement this all-glossy finish, these sets come with Samsung shiny screen - termed 'Ultra-Clear Panel' - which have become sort of a trademark with Samsung LCD HDTVs. According to Samsung, this shiny screen is partly the reason behind these sets deep blacks.
Admittedly, glossy screens makes HDTVs more prone to glare when used in a brightly lit room - this apart from the resultant reflections of bright objects when the set is displaying especially predominantly dark content.
But this is the trade-off for having a glossy panel. The truth is that if you really want to enjoy the very best picture, then you need to enjoy your TV viewing under controlled darkened environment; this applies to any HDTV irrespective of the screen finish.
However, the new Samsung ultra-clear screen found on 2009 Samsung LCDs - including the B750 series - comes with an extremely effective anti-glare coating that does a great job in preserving the black levels even under bright lighting. It delivers an image that looks brighter and that exhibits fuller color clarity. As we have stated in our Samsung LED TV review article, '...shiny screens apart, the Samsung Ultra-Clear screen can do a much better job than most screens on similar flat-panel TVs from top brands within the same category.'
240Hz: Interesting is that except for this 240Hz refresh rate technology, the B750 Samsung LCD series share an almost identical feature set to that found on the UNB7000 LED TV series we featured on our site. But in the case of the Samsung LED TV lineup, you will have to step up to the more expensive UNB8000 series to enjoy 240Hz refresh rate technology.
And as indicated in our introduction, this 240Hz refresh rate represents the most significant enhancement over the less expensive LN-B650 series. 240Hz implies a twice as fast image build up on your TV display panel. This also explains the faster 2msec response time found on Samsung 240Hz LCDs. This is necessary to enable all pixels to change their state well in time for the next refresh (240Hz implies a refresh every approximately 4msec.)
Termed 'Auto Motion Plus 240Hz', this higher refresh rate on the Samsung is brought about by interpolating frames between real content for a smoother movement when viewing fast-motion video sequences. There are four pre-sets to choose from - clear, standard, smooth, and custom - in addition to an 'off' setting. The latter is important as the extra smoothness brought about by the 120Hz/240Hz refresh rates is not for everyone in that some may consider this extra smoothness when viewing movie content as unnatural.
This faster refresh rate results in improved motion resolution, although it will be hard to perceive any improvement since the actual difference between 120Hz and 240Hz is mainly one that can be identified through the appropriate test patterns. This also explains why marketing of the more expensive 240Hz refresh rate technology relies heavily on test patterns.
Directly related to 240Hz technology is Samsung's dejudder processing. We think this is one of the best dejudder implementations every found on any TV - thanks to a two-slider custom setting under the Picture Options Menu and that let you adjust the desired blur reduction and judder settings. Increasing the blur reduction slider towards the maximum increases the number of lines of motion resolution while increasing the Judder reduction leads to more action smoothness - making 24p content more video like. In general, we found that increasing blur reduction towards maximum and reducing judder control towards the minimum would work best. But this smoothing action is not for everyone; if you do not like it, you can set the judder slider to zero.
Unfortunately, there is too much confusion surrounding the subject of 120Hz and 240Hz refresh rates. It is not the scope of this Samsung LCD TV review to go into the details of higher refresh rates and dejudder processing. Yet it is important to note that the resultant smoothing action applies mainly to film-based (24 frame-per-second) content as it helps eliminate judder (jerky movement) due to the use of 2:3 pulldown processing otherwise necessary with 60Hz HDTVs.
More information on this issue is available in our LCD Response Time article; this article also discusses motion blur and 120Hz operation.
Interactivity Suite: In as much as 240Hz is the spec of the day when it comes to LCD HDTVs, extended interactivity capabilities have become an equally marketed feature by all major TV makers on step-up and premium line HDTVs.
With the 2009 Samsung lineup, this is termed Medi@2.0™. This in itself represents a whole suite of applications which include 'Internet@TV' in the form of Yahoo Widgets; there is also built-in content and the capability to stream music, photos and video from a networked PC.
Built-in content includes recipes, games, workout guides, and a slideshow of high-definition art and photos with music. To what extent this is of any use is another issue. However, this forms part of the package you get with the new Series 6 and Series 7 Samsung LCD TVs as well as with Series 7 and Series 8 Samsung LED TVs.
The 'TV widgets' are basically small web applications that allow you to access your favorite site via a built-in web browser direct on your TV simply by using the remote control. You can enjoy various types of information, such as the latest news, weather, and stock information, etc. The gathered information from the Internet is displayed along a preview bar at the bottom of the screen; each can be activated to reveal its full widget. More TV widgets are expected to be available shortly - thus making this Internet-TV mix experience even more of a reality.
Samsung has also recently added video-on-demand services from amazon and Blockbuster to its already rich suite of interactive content.
Plus, you will also get DLNA CERTIFIED™ connectivity to remotely access your PC's personal media - downloaded music, video, and photos - to enjoy these anywhere in the home where your TV is. Note however that you will need to install the supplied Samsung DLNA application on your PC first. Finally, USB 2.0 multi-media center lets you connect a thumb drive or a digital camera quickly and easily.
Picture Controls: Apart from the judder and reduction controls already referred to above, these Samsung LCD HDTVs come with a complete suite of picture settings besides the usual standard adjustments for contrast, brightness, sharpness, color, and tint.
Starting with, there are four adjustable picture modes - Dynamic, Standard, Natural, and Movie - with independent memory inputs. This greatly eases optimization of picture parameters specifically for different connected devices.
Five selectable settings are available for color temperature that can be further customized via the 'White Balance' menu, while additional picture adjustments are also available under the 'Advanced Settings' menu. These include:
- a black level adjustment that affects shadow detail;
- a dynamic contrast control that adjusts the picture contrast on the fly;
- edge enhancement to sharpen image detail;
- a flesh tone setting to enhance the pink flesh color on the screen;
- a seven-position gamma adjustment to control the progression from dark to light;
- three 'Color Space' settings - including a custom setting - to adjust the Samsung LCD TV color gamut;
- three varieties of digital noise reduction, including an automatic setting;
- a film mode to engage 2:3 pull-down and that works also with 1080i sources;
- and xvYCC Color to increase the color space when watching movies from an external compatible high definition source.
There are also six aspect ratio settings - including a 'Wide Fit' mode to display the picture over the entire screen and a 'Screen Fit' mode to display 1080i and 1080p content on a pixel-by-pixel mode without any cutoff (overscan).
These Samsung LCD TVs also come with a Blue Only Mode setting - available under the Picture Options menu to help you adjust the color and tint to the preferred values by switching off the red and green colors. For an explanation of how to adjust the color and tint using the Blue Only Mode feature, please refer to our Samsung LED TV review.
Top in the list on these 2009 Samsung LCDs is an 'Energy Saving' mode. It comes with its four presets termed 'low', 'medium', 'high', and 'auto', apart from an 'off' setting. These settings mainly affect the TV brightness level to reduce the set power consumption.
An equally important convenience in this year lineup is the possibility to download firmware updates directly to your Samsung LCD TV when the latter is connected to the Internet. With previous models, you had to visit the Samsung website on your PC and then transfer the software update using a thumbdrive.
Samsung also provides a basic picture-in-picture feature. In view that these Samsung LED TVs come with one tuner, you can only use the PIP feature together with an external source. Specifically, you can view TV broadcasts on the PIP screen (sub-picture) only when the main picture is from an external device connected to HDMI, HDMI/DVI 2, HDMI 3, HDMI 4, Component1, 2 or PC. It does not work the other way round.
With its 2009 line of HDTVs, Samsung is no longer supplying a printed manual. Instead, you will get your LNB750 manual on a USB stick in the form of an E-manual which you can view direct on your TV screen. Interesting is the customer care screen that includes the firmware version of your HDTV - info which you will require when you need to call the company for support.
The menu system on these Samsung LCD TVs is the same as that used on the 2008 lineup except for a different border color. As expressed elsewhere on this site during our 2008 Samsung LCD HDTV product evaluation, the Samsung menu system is surely one of the best - with big, highly legible text. Navigation is easy and intuitive while helpful explanations are available along the bottom of the menu screen. One welcome extra over last year menu system is a built-in 'product guide' that takes you through the load of features available on these Samsung LCD HDTVs.
Like the menu system, the backlit remote control is almost the same as that of 2008 models. This is a great remote; it comes with big bottoms that are easily identified by their shape and size even in a darkened environment.
A dedicated 'Tools' button on the remote also gives you direct access to the E-manual, sound, video controls and timer.
The LNB750 series offers a most complete suite of connectivity options. In total, you will get four HDMI ver. 1.3 inputs with CEC support - three on the rear and one on the side - labeled 1 to 4 with HDMI 1 being used also as a DVI input.
These Samsung LCD TVs also come with two USB 2.0 ports on the side connection panel with media playback (movie) support. Two component video inputs are available on the rear panel - one of which also accepts composite video on its Y/Video connection. A second composite video input is also available on the side panel. One stereo analog and one optical digital audio output constitute the B750 audio connectivity. Other inputs include a VGA-type PC input, an audio input for PC or DVI, Samsung's ex-Link port for servicing, antenna in and an Ethernet port.
There is no built-in wireless connectivity but you can add wireless support for under $60 through Samsung USB Wireless Adaptor (WIS09ABGN) - supporting up to 802.11n.
Unfortunate as with some of the latest 2009 flat panel TVs, there is no S-video input; this may be a bit limiting for some.
Also, the analog audio-out comes only in the form of a 3.5mm jack. It is true that this is more of a headphone output but should you need it to connect to your AV receiver, you will require an additional adapter - unless your AV system supports optical audio input.
All Samsung 2009 LCDs come with down-firing speakers and an integrated subwoofer. Total audio power on the LNB750 Samsung LCDs is 10W per channel for all sets in the series irrespective of screen size.
As already expressed in our Samsung LED TV review, sound quality on the latest Samsung flat-panel TVs is not bad but it does not match the very good picture quality of these Samsung LCD TVs. Unfortunately, down-firing speakers always carry a disadvantage over front-facing ones and this year implementation is no exception.
Overall, sound quality compares favorably with what you find on similar HDTVs within the same category. In particular, it does not deteriorate with an increase in volume, but as stated, it does not provide the right match to these sets picture quality. In other words, if you want to enjoy these Samsung LCD TVs at their best, a proper surround sound setup is necessary.
Note: All Series 7 Samsung LCD HDTVs come with an identical specification set, with the only difference being a different screen size. We therefore expect all models in this series to perform very much the same.
Series 7 Samsung LCD TVs - Performance Analysis
There is no doubt the Samsung LNB750 series is among the top LCD HDTVs we have every come across - and this applies irrespective of CCFL backlights or edge-lit LED systems.
Black Levels and Color Accuracy: These sets exhibit very deep blacks and accurate colors - with blacks that are only surpassed by the best plasmas and expensive LED LCD TVs with local dimming.
With mixed content, Series 7 Samsung LCD HDTVs can deliver deeper blacks that are closer to the true black than the competition - while still maintaining very good shadow detail.
As is typical with high-end Samsung HDTVs, colors are close to perfect - and with a level of color saturation that is in line with Samsung's premium line 2009 LED TVs and Sony's XBR9 high-end series LCDs.
Default color temperature and grayscale are slightly on the bluish side. Similarly, gamma is not completely linear. But these are generally minor issues that should not prove to be a deal breaker. Overall, these Samsung LCD TVs can do better here than most other premium LCD HDTVs from other major brands.
Screen Performance: Samsung's glossy screens have always been a hot issue with many HDTV buyers. But as stated earlier on in this article, this year lineup comes with an extremely effective anti-glare filter.
Samsung 'Ultra-Clear' panel does a very good job in maintaining blacks and color saturation even under brightly lit environments. However, reviewers agree that with off-angle viewing, the screen on the Series 7 Samsung LCD TVs lose on color and black level dept faster than the Sony XBR9. But then Cnet notes that off-angle performance of Samsung B750 HDTVs is better than that on Samsung LED TVs.
However, in our opinion, the real problem with Samsung's shiny screen relates to the reflections off the glossy screen surface of brightly lit objects in the room during dark scenes; these can turn out to be rather distracting during TV viewing.
Samsung display panel exhibits very good brightness uniformity across the full surface of the display panel. As with most LCDs, the display edges show a little brighter than the screen center but the difference is minimal. Overall screen uniformity however on these Samsung LCDs is better than most other premium line HDTVs.
Video Processing: Processing is relatively clean and free from noise and video artifacts. Series 7 Samsung LCDs sets also de-interlace 1080i film- and video-based material correctly - while achieving full 1080 lines in still resolution tests.
Similarly, standard definition content looks very good on the B750 - with images that remain sharp and without any jagged diagonals.
The implementation of the dejudder processing on these Samsung LCD TVs is one of the best of its kind on any HDTV. It gives total control to the user over the resultant video-like look when handling 24 frames-per-second film-based content.
As already expressed earlier on, the benefits of 240Hz refresh rate over 120Hz are extremely difficult to discern with the unaided eye - thus explaining the use of test patterns with demo material by TV makers in their efforts to market the latest 'expensive' hot spec of the day - 240Hz LCD processing technology.
However, related to this higher refresh rate is improved motion resolution, which in the case of the Samsung B750 series is close to the full 1080p supported by the HD standard. This puts the B750 series in line with Samsung A950 and Sony XBR8 LED TVs, as well as Samsung 2009 Series 8 240Hz LED TV. Cnet Reviews reports that Samsung 2009 Series 6 and Series 7 LED TVs achieve a maximum motion resolution of close to 700 lines while for Series 7 LCDs, Cnet quotes 900 to 1000 lines. We have to add here that in the case of these Samsung LCD HDTVs, achieving maximum motion resolution depends on the 'Blur Reduction' setting; you need to set the blur reduction slider at maximum to get close to the full 1080 lines supported by 1080p HD content.
Finally, the B750 Samsung LCDs can very well serve as big PC monitors when fed both via one of the HDMI inputs and the VGA-type PC input. Displayed PC images and text are crisp and clear with both, though overall they appear a bit sharper when fed via one of the HDMIs.
Series 7 Samsung LCD HDTVs are without doubt among the very best flat-panel HDTVs around - with an overall solid picture quality that is on par, and in certain instances even surpasses that of the latest edge-lit Samsung LED TVs.
Very deep blacks, accurate natural looking colors, good shadow detail, solid image uniformity, a great customizable dejudder mode, solid connectivity with four HDMI inputs, network streaming with DLNA support, and an extensive feature set complemented by the latest trend in HDTVs - Yahoo Widgets/Internet TV access and 240Hz refresh rate - are just but a few of the many features that characterize the B750 Samsung LCD TV Series.
But B750 HDTVs do not represent the perfect LCDs. Despite the extremely effective anti-glare coating of Samsung Ultra-Clear panel, reflections from the set shiny screen may still prove a bit distracting under certain bright light conditions. And when it comes to the overall picture performance, top plasmas and LED LCD TVs with local dimming still surpass Samsung Series 7 LCDs.
However, the real issue with these 240Hz Samsung LCD TVs is not their picture performance - but rather their relatively expensive price with respect to available HDTV options. In particular, you are paying an extra $300 over the Samsung B650 LCDs just to enjoy the latest spec of the day - 240Hz, the benefits of which are simply hard to discern over the less expensive Samsung lineup. All other features between these two LCD series are almost the same.
The bottom line: These 2009 Samsung LCD TVs are not cheap and their picture quality is not exactly up to that from the best plasmas and LED LCDs with local dimming. Yet if what you are after is a 240Hz LCD with solid overall picture performance, full interactive features with Internet enabled-TV content, and an extensive feature set, Samsung Series 7 LCDs deliver one of the best overall performance/feature/price deals.
For our review of Samsung 2009 Series 6 LCD TVs, please check here...