Samsung LN46B640 46inch 1080p LCD HDTVSep 16th, 2009 | By Simon
Samsung LN46B640 46inch 1080p LCD HDTV
: 09/17/09 – 12:59:48 AM
Page 1 : Introduction
In January of 2009, Samsung ushered in a series of new TVs. One of the biggest and most anticipated releases by Samsung was the LED LCD HDTV, but let us not forget about the 1080p LCD HDTVs which we'll be looking at tonight. Not only coming in at a much lower cost, these new TVs couple energy efficiency with advanced picture quality. It's the best of both worlds.
The Series 6 feature an improved Ultra Clear Panel to produce deeper and blacker tones and bolder colors. The 120Hz Auto Motion Plus is back to help eliminate motion blur and judder. Combined with a 4ms response time, this should be a fast TV suitable for all your entertainment needs. On the B640, some changes have been made to the USB hub which I'm very excited about – we can view photos, listen to music and finally watch movies! I'd almost love to say DVDs will soon be extinct with this new feature.
Without revealing too much more, let us start our review of the 46′ B640; a model in between the entry-level Series 6 and top end.
Page 2 : Package and Contents
The look of the 46B640 packaging hasn't changed but the size has. The packaging is slimmer but significantly wider than your regular 46′ TV. This brings up two points: 1) some assembly is required for the TV but 2) a slimmer box is easier to hide behind something. The box measures 56′ long, 10′ wide and 32′ tall.
A number of key features are printed on the box but there are no technical specifications. You're not going to be able to find the response time, size, weight, etc. anywhere on the box. Samsung must have assumed that you've done your technical research and bought this TV online or just happen to be browsing your local Best Buy where the use of marketing slogans and pictures draws you towards the TV.
If I didn't know better I would have thought this was an A series 6 TV and not the new B640. Thankfully, the attached product label clears the confusion. I have a
Internal Codes for development
ull HD DTV
Opening up the box, the entire package is protected by a soft two layer foam bag. You can see the stand on the right which causes the box to be wider than the older TV models.
In addition to the TV and stand, the package includes a remote, bottom cover, cleaning cloth, power cable, stand screws, wire cable holder (plastic white tube), TV-Holder & Screw (plastic triangle and lanyard) and a manual.
Page 3 : Features & Specifications
Going over a product's features and specifications is like doing your homework before an exam. It just makes sense to know as much about a subject before you make a purchase where there's no turning back. Navigating through the Samsung Website, we're able to learn a lot about the product at hand. Here's what Samsung has to say about their TV:
See the difference 1080p makes when you watch brilliant images come to life on SAMSUNG LN46B640 LCD HDTV. Images aren't the only statement-makers. This model includes our unique Touch of Colour(tm) design infused with a hint of rich red for a look that complements any room. Add to that instant access news, weather, sports and stock information and this HDTV takes home entertainment to another level.
The 80,000:1 contrast ratio isn't the highest available on the market but it's more than enough to show a deep range of colors. Combined with the Ultra Clear Panel which has a polarized film to reduce ambient light reflections, we should expect a great looking picture. The Touch of Color, 120Hz Auto Motion Plus, InfoLink and Anynet+ make a return as standard features in the Series 6 TVs. I've grown quite fond of the ToC, a splash of color to accent the TV that is not only pleasant to the eyes, I know it is good for the environment with the low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) as spray paint isn't used but rather mixed in with the injection molding feed. Further to that, the new monitors draw 20% less power than before and the package contains only recyclable materials. The 120Hz Auto Motion Plus helps reduce the affects of ghosting and the 4ms response time adds to the sharp viewing experience. The Anynet+ allows a single remote to control all the devices connected via HDMI – it's simply brilliant and cuts down on the number of remotes cluttering the living room. The InfoLink gathers information from the Internet and puts it at your fingertips. While this isn't a new feature, some of the later models (B650) come with wireless adapters to accomplish this. A feature that is somewhat handy if your router is far from the TV or if you don't want to run yet another cable to the back of your TV. The one feature that impresses me the most on their website is USB 2.0 Movie. In the past I mentioned that the USB connection is great for viewing pictures and listening to music but it would not support movies. We're finally able to watch movies right off your USB stick! Sadly, this feature is not available on all models nor can older TVs be software upgraded with this feature.
The diagonal cross section of the screen measure 45.9′, just shy of the rated 46′, the length is 40′ and the width 22′.
With a video of 1920×1080, this TV will make for a perfect monitor. The viewing angle is 178 degrees making it virtually viewable from any position. The sound is provided by two 10W speakers. There still isn't a DVI connection and Samsung has also eliminated S-Video and Headphone connections. Weighing in at 20kg without the stand, make sure you follow the directions for mounting the TV to your wall as it would break my heart for the TV to come crashing down.
Overall, the specifications and features look great on paper. Proven technology has been used and I'm betting I won't be disappointed by the picture quality.
While on the topic of specifications, you might be wondering what the difference between the B610, B640 and B650 is. The B610 doesn't come with all the bells and whistles. It only has 1 USB port but has an extra Component (Y/Pb/Pr) input, no picture-in-picture (PIP) and higher stand-by power consumption. The B650 is at the top, it boasts slightly better specifications – it has a very different bezel, 10,000:1 contrast ratio, Medi@2.0 which includes Internet@TV, Content Library Flash and DLNA Wireless.
Page 4 : Assembly & Remote Control
The LN46B640 comes in two pieces; we have the TV screen and the stand. The screen slots into the notched portion of the stand. While the TV is stable with the screen sitting on the notched ends, it not very reassuring as a slight nudge could send the screen toppling over. For reinforcement, two screws are provided. These join the screen to the stand and make the assembly very stable.
Depending on where you position the TV, it is possible that you won't be looking at it perpendicularly from your usual sitting area. The included stand allows you to rotate the TV 20 degrees in either direction.
To complete the assembly, you need to provide power and input sources. On the back there is a plug for the power cord and unlike some of the older models there is no On/Off switch.
Inputs can be provided at either the back panel or the side access panel. The side panel is limited to two USB ports, a single HDMI and a set of composite cables. The back panel has the remaining HDMI, Audio, Video, PC and Internet ports.
Here's how it looks with everything connected:
If you happen to lose your remote control, the TV can still be operated until a replacement is found. Discreetly hidden are touch sensitive buttons that allow you to switch between various sources, activate the menu, change the channel and volume or turn off the TV.
The remote hasn't changed; the look is still the same and the button layout hasn't budged. The remote still comes with a touch sensitive light button and the enter button is still in the middle of the wheel.
Page 5 : TV Menu
The TV menu hasn't changed; all the standard individual menus are still there. The key pages are Picture, Sound, Channel, Setup, Input, Application and Support.
If you're having issues with the TV, the self diagnostic will hopefully eliminate any problems without having to deal with pesky support centers.
The only real major menu change that I can see is what the volume bar looks like. It used to be an increasing line but instead we have a circle. The range is from 0 and 100 and for a 10W speaker it can put out a lot of sound.
The source button brings up a list of all available sources for you to select. With Anynet+ there is a lot of repetition. My PC is also HDMI1/DVI and HDMI2 is also HDMI-CEC (Blu-Ray player).
With the TV setup, let's start watching some TV!
Page 6 : Display Performance
To thoroughly test out the LN46B640, I sat myself in front of the TV for hours upon hours with various inputs: cable TV, digital OTA, Blu-Ray via HDMI and PC via HDMI. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. In short, you won't be disappointed by the B640. The colors were great and much sharper than comparable Series A TVs. By that, I mean comparing it to a A650. When considering a purchase of this magnitude, it's absolutely imperative that you judge all reviews with a grain of salt. There's really no way for you to tell whether or not the TV is worth
investment by a few pictures. Do yourself a favour and visit your local brick and mortar store and stand in front of the TV for twenty minutes. Find the remote and play with the settings. If you can't do that or would like to narrow your choices, let me show you a handful of pictures and videos of the TV in action!
I'll start with the viewing angle. The B640 claims to have a 178/178 viewing angle giving you a great viewing pleasure from every angle you'd want to watch TV at. You certainly get a great picture but the colors do become more washed out than say the A950 I reviewed last year. That said it's very unlikely you'll be watching TV at such extreme angles so there's really nothing to worry about. At about 160 degrees away where you can still see the entire TV, the picture is still perfect.
Here are some pictures of the movie ‘The Recruit’ watched from my Blu-ray player:
Watching TV with cable source (non-HD):
Watching a HD Video of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ off my USB Drive.
Here are some pictures of Command & Conquer being played off of the computer (HDMI connection):
It wouldn't be out of the question to use the 46′ TV a permanent monitor replacement; the resolution is definitely good enough to support this. Unlike some of the older models where the text will still appear to be grainy on the screen, it's perfectly sharp on the 46B640.
Two of the key features implemented on the B640 not found on the lower end A series was the InfoLink and what I would consider an upgraded WiseLink USB 2.0. InfoLink collects information like weather, news, sports and stocks from the internet to display on-screen without you having to change channels.
WiseLink first started off as a feature that played music and showed pictures off of a USB drive. Additional features were added in the higher end Series A models to include artwork, cooking recipes, games, children activities, etc. While these were nice additions, the biggest feature that I felt was missing was a movie player. We finally have this in the 2009 Model TVs!
Viewing pictures off of WiseLink USB.
Watching movies off of WiseLink USB
Page 7 : Display Performance – Videos
Pictures are nice but videos are better. In this page I'll share with you four videos of the 46B640 in action captured with my Samsung HMX-20C high definition 1080p digital camcorder. YouTube only allows us to host high definition videos in 720p, so I've made the original files available for download. They average about 20MB.
These four videos were taken record with the TV display mode set on Standard, Dynamic, Movie and Natural. The clip is the second chapter of ‘The Mummy’. As you'll notice in the pictures, there was no visible ghosting making this TV great for all entertainment needs.
Standard – download original file here
Dynamic – download original file here
Movie – download original file here
Natural – download original file here
Page 8 : Power Consumption
Power consumption is certainly something I consider when purchasing any new consumer electronics. The last thing I really want is to purchase a TV that continually drains my wallet with a power guzzling 600W usage. The advancements of technology has allowed us to enjoy the benefits of high definition pictures without expensive monthly bills. To test the power draw on the 46B640, I will consider the case of the TV being powered off to monitor the phantom load and watching basic TV.
The Samsung 46B640 carries a phantom load of 2W; this means that even with the TV turned off it still draws 2 watts of power from the wall. The only way to eliminate this power usage is to unplug the TV from the wall. The operational load hovers at a reasonable 212W. The power load starts off at 230W and climbs to 245W for a few minutes before dropping and hovering at the 212W level. The increase and drop is likely related to warming up the screen.
When I press the ‘ON’ button for my TV, I'm use to instantaneous start-up but what I found out with the B640 is that is very slow to power up. I would click on the ‘ON’ button and it felt like 5 seconds will pass before the first sign of life would appear on the screen. I consulted Samsung QA Lab and confirmed this was not an issue with my TV but all of them. It's simple a matter of the TV going through its boot sequence. It's slow and I find it annoying. I hope this issue can be resolved through a firmware update or hardware modification.
Page 9 : Conclusion
As we enter the fourth quarter of 2009, we're finally starting to see the products Samsung unveiled to us at CES. There are certainly a wide number of models available and it can be confusing to most consumers. How do I know if I want a 6 series or a 7 series? If you're lucky enough to have an unlimited budget go to the top end and don't look back. Unfortunately, most of us can't do that.
I've been asked by many friends if the 2008 models currently on sale are a good buy and my answer is: it depends. If you're looking for a basic TV and only plan on watching Cable/Digital TV with the occasional movie in between go for what's on sale as you'll be happy with it. However, the B640 offers so much more. If you plan on watching more than just the odd HD movie or will be centering your entertainment system around a new TV then seriously consider the B640 as the baseline for comparison.
The pitfall of being more expensive and slower to load is one I'm willing to compromise on for the improved WiseLink, included InfoLink and overall stunning picture quality.
- Amazing picture quality
- 2008's high end Series A features included
- WiseLink upgraded to include movie playback
- More expansive than typical LCD HDTVs
- Very slow start up
I'd like to thank Samsung Canada for making this review possible.