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Samsung HL-R6168W HDTV Review


Ok, so back to the TV. The Samsung HL-R6168W is very much ahead of its time. The FCC is trying to hasten the move to HDTV but what's currently available for viewing is far from the 1080i and 1080p HDTV capabilities of this set. On the Comcast system in Silicon Valley the HDTV content that is available is far from perfect. Digital artifacts and pixilation are still common. Also, some of the programming is only partially in high-def. For example, ESPN HD has the anchors in the studio with stunning graphics tossing to highlights from around the country in SD. The lack of continuity makes it difficult to enjoy the power of the Samsung 6168 during a trip around the dial, so to speak.

With appropriate HDTV content the 6168 is simply awesome. Samsung ships it from the factory with warm color settings and a high contrast ratio. We brought the levels down a bit, decreased the sharpness a touch and tuned the whites from warm to true white. Our test facility provides a viewing distance of 10-14 feet. A minimum of 7 feet is recommended for a 61-inch screen. We think that's conservative. This set would over-power a smaller room. Anyone in the market for a DLP set should carefully consider the viewing distance, especially since most of the programming won't approach the quality of what this TV can reproduce. A low resolution TV signal looks a lot better on a smaller set. Just like an audiophile sound system won't make your low-bias radio recordings of Led Zeppelin IV sound any better, making that dirty cable signal bigger simply makes it a large dirty signal. You can't polish a bird with a T and a U.

During our initial setup of the Samsung HL-R6168W the built-in TV Guide asked for the Cable System by zip code. It populates a weekly schedule overnight. The on-screen TV Guide is searchable and reminders can be set or PVRs programmed from one screen. We were hoping the built-in TV Guide would be a little faster than the pokey guide that Comcast offers through its cable box. Sorry to say, the Samsung implementation was just as slow. Are suppliers just skimping on the processing power in these boxes' Why can't we have a fast TV-Guide'

With the CableCARD installed the TV did change channels considerably faster. This was a nice surprise. It's not uncommon for bigger TVs to be a little slow when channel surfing. The Samsung 6168 was annoyingly slow before we installed the CableCARD.

Synch issues have been a problem with cable in the past and it's very noticeable on screen sizes in this range. On previous generations of Samsung DLPs, 50 inch and greater, we noticed severe synch issues. Of course this varies by cable system. In general the major networks seem to have better feeds than some of the smaller networks. We did notice some synch problems but there were no deal-breakers for the majority of content that we prefer to watch.

The new generation of DLP sets from Samsung are only 16 inches deep. They fit into tighter spaces and make less noise. The previous generation produced a hum when turned on much like that of a PC with a low-grade power supply. The new generation is barely audible.

Usually when we test a product we find a lot of discrepancies between the marketing claims of the manufacturer and our real world experience. We've got to say, in this case the only thing holding the Samsung HL-R6168W back is the lack of HDTV content. We hope the FCC is successful in its push to bring HDTV to the masses with everyday content. The major networks are making good on the ratings winners with HD content but most of the other fare is special event and premium channel oriented. However, those that want to be first to the HD party can't go wrong with the HL-R6168W from Samsung.

Visit Samsung for more information.

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