Product: Samsung 5 Series 32” LCD TV
Model: LA32D 550K
Product Link: Enhance and optimise the potential of your digital devices - LA32D550K1R - LCD TV - Television | SAMSUNG
Common Tech Specs:
Screen Size: 32" (81 CM) Diagonal (26.15" for 4:3 TV broadcast in letterbox mode, mathematically, not measured)
Resolution: 1920x1080 (Full HD)
Speakers: 2 x 10watts RMS (down firing)
• 4 x HDMI (2 rear, 2 side)
• 1 x D-Sub
• 2 x Component In (Y/Pb/Pr)
• 2 x Composite In (Shared with component)
• 1 x Digital Audio Out (Optical)
• 1 x RF In (Terrestrial/Cable Input)
• 1 x Headphone
• 1 x PC Audio In
• 1 x Ethernet (LAN)
• 2 x USB (side)
Max Power Consumption: 100 watts
Design wise the TV is not something which will grab eyeballs, but it looks good in the drawing room and will sit well with any type of décor. The stand is rectangular and stable. However, it is probably impossible to keep a TV this big perfectly stable on a stand which supports only the center. So the television will wobble while plugging in or taking out USB/HDMI from the side panel. The bezel is narrow enough for a 32" TV and ends in a transparent edge. It is glossy, so one needs to keep his hands away as it is a fingerprint magnet.
The front panel has 6 touch buttons which are practically invisible, can be seen only when one is close enough to operate them. There is a red LED which remains on when the TV is in standby and blinks when a remote button is pressed.
There are 2 HDMI and 2 USB ports on the side panel which is good coz they are the most commonly used ports these days and they need to remain easily accessible in case the television is wall mounted.
Fitting the stand was easy, just pushed it in and secured the screws. More patient people would like to wait for the technician from the company to arrive and fix it. And although I haven’t tried the wall mount, that should be easy too, just like hanging a photo frame, albeit, with 4 supports.
Warning, from here on you’ll find many photos of the TV. Do not try to judge the picture quality of the TV from those photos because they have been edited. Also a running TV is not an easy thing to photograph. So I disconnected the signal cable while taking the photos of menu etc. And last but not the least, I’m a bad photographer!
This is what all people want to hear about. And this is the weakest point of this review. I haven’t seen any other LCD TV. So I can’t compare the picture which is really essential to judge. So keep in mind that my judgment is purely subjective. Maybe it will change if I can see any other TV.
Personally I like the picture quality of the TV. Normal TV broadcast is perfectly watchable from a distance of 8-10 feet. Any closer and the distortion becomes noticeable. 720p and 1080p content look great. Colours looked pretty natural with no saturation around any particular colour. The blacks were not as black as I would have liked, on observing closely it looks a bit grayish.
I checked for colour bleeding and couldn’t find any. I checked on pure black screen as well as shaded. Smooth shades of primary colours and grayscale were reproduced smoothly without any banding. I compared this to my monitor where banding was slightly visible (monitor is also Samsung, 20").
Ghosting was pretty apparent though. On a dance reality show, ghosting was easily noticed when contestant’s hands moved fast. Nonetheless, it was not easily noticeable where the background was uneven (dinosaurs running in King Kong with a forest backdrop). So non-geeks wouldn’t notice this anywhere (coz they wouldn’t be looking for it).
I looked for flicker and found that there was some flicker on Tickers on news channel. Did affect the readability somewhat, but was mostly easily readable.
In the end, I would have really liked to test it a bit more with my computer, but I could not buy HDMI cable to connect it. So all I did was test it without any guidance with my eyes. I am pretty satisfied with the results though. If only I could compare it to some other TV.
The speakers are down firing and invisible from the front which are good from design perspective. The volumes are high enough for a large living room.
I was not particularly impressed with the sound quality. Not that it is bad, but it is average. The low frequencies are just not there. People who haven’t used woofers would not notice this though. Even so, it is OK for normal TV viewing, but if you are thinking console gaming or movies, you might wanna consider separate set of speakers.
There is auto volume leveler which works pretty well. The volume difference was very noticeable in my previous TV, but I can watch all the channels at the same volume on this one. The balance of the two speakers can also be toyed with. There are five sound modes and a five band equalizer, although only standard mode seems to be usable.
As seen above, connectivity options abound. Missing DVI does not matter as DVI-HDMI cables are quite common in case you need to use that. You should be able to connect any type of device to this TV and all of them together. Two USB ports mean you can connect multiple HDDs or pen drives or HDDs which need to USB ports.
However, there is no video out or 5.1 channel audio out (like the ones on my DVD player). Some people may miss this. This also means that speakers can only be connected via 3.5mm jack or digital output.
The menu interface is OK. In looks department it would score high. However, in usability, it would be average. You need to press too many buttons to get anything done. On top of it, the narrow arrow keys of the remote are hard to press. However, the menus are well categorized and easy to understand.
Swapping channels is the biggest pain. It needs to be done through the content manager. You can't use the number keys (although the manual mentions that), you need to select a channel and move it by pressing the arrow keys. Moreover, it doesn’t even work in a loop. So if you need to move a channel from 80 to 10, you’ll need to hold the arrow key for a long time. Now imagine doing that on a new TV on which you need to swap at least 30-40 channels.
The browser for USB devices is OK. Of course you need to press too many buttons and one can say that it could have been more polished, but it works. It is divided into 3 categories, audio, video and photos. Once you select what you want to see, it only shows those files in the browser.
There is a content manager which is an alternative (read fancy) way of accessing various sources. If your HDD has multiple partitions, you can access all the partitions at the same time (without switching the source) from content manager. However, I would have liked it if it would scan the hdd and list all the files instead of just taking us to the file browser.
There is no manual with the TV. It is built inside the TV itself. You can also download the manual in PDF from Samsung’s website.
This remote is so far the worst designed TV remote I have seen. It’s hard to hold in your hand because of the length (9.5") and very uneven weight distribution. This makes the already hard buttons even harder to press. And there are too many buttons. Take a look at it.
Pressing the buttons towards the top is really difficult coz your hands won’t reach there if you hold it towards the bottom. And if you want to hold towards the top, the heavy bottom will make you uncomfortable. So you’ll need to move your hand to operate it or use both hands, kinda musical!
USB is the strong suite of this television. That’s why I made a separate section for it. USB storage devices work without a glitch. I tried pen drive, 3.5" external HDD with separate power adapter, 2.5" external HDD without power adapter, cell phone in mass storage mode, Sony H55 Digital Camera and everything was detected easily in a matter of seconds.
You just need to plug in a USB storage device and an autorun menu pops up allowing you to open any of the drives in the device.
Once you select a drive, you get an interface devided in 3 parts, video, photos and audio
The number of formats supported is nothing less than astonishing. No matter what I threw at it, it managed to play them smoothly. Be it DivX, XviD, motion JPEG, MP4, matroska or m2ts, asf, flv, avi, I couldn’t keep track, everything played smoothly. The extensions not recognized were .wmv, .m4a, .m4v, .rm and .mov etc. which are not so common anyways (apart from mov maybe). M2TS was full HD and played smoothly. Most of the rest were available in 720p and SD resolutions. There were a couple of .mkv full HD movies. All of them ran smoothly. However, it’s not a PC and you are bound to face an occasional glitch. There was one Full HD video where I got the message "codec not supported". It was matroska.
The video never skips at all, even the full HD ones. The forward/backward buttons work well for small steps, however it tends to get stuck if you forward full HD videos at very fast speed. In that case there is an option to directly jump to a particular time in the video. It also shows info like video codec, resolution etc.
Formats supported are JPEG, that’s it. As soon as you go to the photos section, the view changes to thumbnail. Thumbnail generation does take a little time, but that’s small enough to be bearable. Zooming into images is possible, but standard sizes like original, fit to screen etc. are not available, only 2x and 4x.
There is a slideshow option too. You just need to press the play button. There are no customizable transition effects or anything, just plain slideshow speed adjustment. What I liked about the slideshow is that you can play background music (from the same drive) for the slideshow. That makes the slideshow more enjoyable.
After the surprises in the video depart, I was expecting something good here too. However this was something Samsung was in no mood for. There is only one format that is supported (I guess you know which one). However, since all our music also exists only in that same format, it isn’t really a problem. Fans of uncompressed flac will be disappointed. I liked the interface of the player. It is capable of reading and displaying all info from the ID3 tags. It allows us to make multiple selections and create a now playing list. It displays the album art too if available.
AllShare is a feature which allows you to connect various devices. I could not try much of this as I didn’t have the required hardware. Apparently you can use your Samsung mobile as the TV’s remote if your mobile has wi-fi, but you’ll need to buy the Samsung wi-fi adapter for the TV separately. This feature is also there on various other Samsung devices like blu-ray players.
What I did try was connecting the TV to PC via LAN. I was able to stream audio and video over the connection through Samsung PC Share Manager. I could also play content on the TV through Windows Media Player 11 (this cannot be done with a lower version). I am planning a tutorial on this and I’ll write it as soon as I have installed Win7 on my PC. [See below]
The TV comes with just 1 year warranty which is really bad. Also, to get the wall mount you must get the thing mounted, it isn’t there in the package.
So, this was my first product review anywhere. I know this review is not very professional and well written, but I have tried my best to write it in a way that may help people understand the pros and cons of the product. If I have left out anything or you want to know more about anything in particular, please post below and I’ll try to answer it.