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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Samsung LE32R41BD - LCD TV

With both analogue and digital (Freeview) TV tuners built in, plus a wide range of connectivity options, the Samsung LE32R 41BD is an attractive option, particularly when you can pick it up for less than a grand.

It’s a nice-looking set too, with a snazzy black surround and a V-shaped speaker below the screen. It’s a shame that the effect is spoiled by a flimsy stand. The one that came with our test unit wobbled about all over the place. Many manufacturers supply a device for securing your expensive LCD telly to a tabletop to prevent it falling over, but there was nothing like that here.

Setting up the Samsung set shouldn’t prove terribly complicated, although it was the only set that managed to assign the analogue channels to the wrong channel numbers.

Picture-wise, it isn’t bad at all with high-def material and DVDs. Via component video input, the screen showed up the detail and colour of highdefinition material particularly well. Standard DVD movies, both straight through the RGB Scart and upscaled to 720p or 1080i via the HDMI socket, were excellent. HDMI had the edge, of course. Colours were deeper, and motion smoother. It’s also interesting to note the inclusion of a VGA input, along within analogue audio input for connecting a PC to the screen.

When it came to SD broadcast TV, things weren’t so rosy. On both analogue and digital terrestrial signals the image looked smeared and pixelated, although this is often the case with LCD. The picture is very bright, which is useful for daytime viewing. But it’s tricky to find a decent balance between saturated colours and a washed - outlook. This isn’t helped by the fact that there’s only one custom picture setting, which means that you could find yourself trawling through onscreen menus to alter image settings whenever you change to a different input.

And when you switch between different sources – say from DVD to games console or satellite input – you’ll find that the set is also infuriatingly slow to respond.


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