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Samsung HL-S6187W 61-Inch DLP HDTV Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 November 2006
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Samsung HL-S6187W 61-Inch DLP HDTV
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ImageSo, you want a big screen experience in your home, but a 50-inch plasma won’t quite cut it and you don’t have the Benjamins for something bigger. To make matters worse, your room isn’t quite suited for front projection, or you can’t justify to your significant other why heavy blackout drapes or gray walls is a good idea. What is one to do? Get yourself a rear-projection DLP, that’s what you do. Rear projection DLP HDTVs offer most, if not all, of the features of their plasma and projection brethren with fewer drawbacks and lower prices. Rear projection DLPs come in a wide range of sizes, from 40 inches on up and, thanks to the wizards over at Texas Instruments, they’re shallower than ever, with an average depth around 15 inches, making them easier to place in and about the home. To top it off, rear-projection DLP TVs are way cheaper than their plasma or projection counterparts, save a few manufacturers, giving consumers more of that bang for their bucks.

Take for instance the DLP TV in question for this review, the Samsung HL-S6187W 1080p-capable HDTV. It retails for a mere $2,999, which for a 61-inch HD anything is quite a bargain. Throw in the latest 1080p technology, countless video enhancements and two HDMI inputs, and the Samsung begins to sell itself. At 61 inches (diagonally), the Samsung finds itself in the larger end of the display spectrum, measuring in at 55 inches wide by 38-and-a-half inches tall and 17-and-a-half inches deep and weighing in at a surprisingly light 81 pounds. Still, don't think you can move the thing by yourself. From the front, the Samsung DLP is extremely attractive, with a glossy black finish accented by a thin silver bevel that runs along the bottom of the TV, just under the Samsung nameplate. The silver bezel isn't just a decorative feature; it's actually the opening to the TV's internal speakers, which Samsung calls their "hidden speaker" technology. Clever. Along the lower edge of the "hidden speaker" and off to the right of the TV itself are the manual controls for options such as power, channel up/down, volume and input selection. Turing my attention aft, I was welcomed by a bevy of input options. First and foremost, the Samsung DLP TV features not one but two 1080p-capable HDMI inputs, which support not only digital video signals but digital audio signals as well. For those of you still in the analog realm, there are two sets of component video inputs, as well as two S-video inputs and two composite inputs, with the third located on the side of the TV. There is an RF or coaxial input as well, which takes advantage of the Samsung's internal HDTV tuner for those connecting their antennas or cable boxes directly to the TV. There is also an RGB monitor input, allowing you to connect the Samsung to a PC and use it as your computer monitor. Getting back to its inputs, the Samsung has a full complement of RCA audio ins for each of its video inputs, as well as an optical audio out and a single USB input with a photo viewer interface located on the side of the TV.

Inside, the Samsung is packed with the latest goodies, boasting some pretty impressive specs. For starters, the Samsung has a stated resolution of 1920 by 1080, providing it with its 1080p qualifications. Tack on a reported yet hard to believe 10,000 to 1 contrast ratio for deep blacks and whiter whites, and the Samsung shows it has some muscle to flex. But the good news doesn't stop there. Inside, Samsung has included their latest version of their Cinema Smooth 1080p Light Engine, which Samsung claims results in a picture with no visible pixel structure and better low-light detail. Also, the Samsung DLP TV has the next-generation DLP chips from Texas Instruments, which claim to be more responsive than any other HDTV technology on the market today. Along with the latest from Texas Instruments, Samsung has beefed up their color wheels to be not only faster and more accurate, but quieter as well. Those of you familiar with older projection TVs or early DLP designs can probably recall just how finicky the colors could be. Samsung also employs their exclusive DNIe or Digital Natural Image Engine technology to ensure the best, most uniform picture from any source, which should all but guarantee the truest color and highest contrast while keeping digital artifacts to a minimum. Couple all of this with Samsung's Cinema Smooth 3:2 pull-down and a grip of color controls, and you should get one hell of an amazing picture.

As if this review were not already overloaded with features, I have more. My review sample did not come from Samsung, but rather from the online giant has exploded over the years to include just about everything people could want for outfitting their lives. Even more impressive than their huge selection and low prices, now offers white-glove delivery services for most of their larger consumer electronic product lines. The white glove delivery isn't free, but it does have its advantages, including in-home set-up and the disposal of all boxes and packing materials, letting you get on with enjoying your purchase faster. With the TV delivered and set up in my living room system, I began the process of calibration.

First, I connected the Samsung to my reference receiver, the Denon 4806, via its HDMI monitor out. I attempted to use my Toshiba XA-1 HD DVD player with the Samsung, but due to handshake issues and other problems that have plagued the format and many first-generation players, I was unable to get the two components to "talk" to each other. To be clear, I do not blame this on the set. Many people have had success with different switchers, cables, etc. In my case, nothing I could do worked in the digital domain. So I opted for my reliable Denon 3910 universal player for standard-definition DVD playback. I dusted off my JVC D-VHS player for some high-definition action, with my Time Warner HD-DVR rounding out the list of equipment. I connected everything via Monster M series interconnects. I am regretful that I couldn’t score a matching Samsung Blu-ray player for the review. While new players are headed to market this holiday season and I am certain to invest in them, they are currently the only players to give true 1080p output.

With my Denon player, I cued up my calibration disc of choice, Digital Video Essentials. I found the Samsung's menus to be nicely designed and informative, though some of the more critical controls are buried within a barrage of sub menus making calibration a bit tedious. It's important to point out that, while I was able to ultimately achieve a rather stellar image, the Samsung's picture controls seem to affect one another more than most, which made the whole process take a little longer than expected. Yet, in less than two hours, I was ready to rock and roll.

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