Samsung UN46D6500 3D LED LCD HDTV Review$1,799.00
Blacks & Whites
- Black Level
- Peak Brightness
- Tunnel Contrast
- White Falloff
- Greyscale Gamma
The Samsung UN46D6500 produced an excellently deep black level for an LCD. As you can see in the chart below, it fared a little better than the Sony EX720 and far better than the LG 47LW6500, both also LCDs. The Panasonic VT30, a plasma, was significantly darker, as we might expect. Something as simple as a deep black is not everything, though. We want to see detail in those shadows, which is covered below in the Greyscale Gamma test. More on how we test black level.
The Samsung UN46D6500 is plenty bright, producing approximately 252.36 cd/m2 at its max. Although the LG and Sony LCD televisions managed brighter whites, we're of the general opinion that anything over 200 cd/m2 is adequate to compete with ambient light in a sunny room. As you can see, the plasma Panasonic could not compete in this area. More on how we test peak brightness.
The Samsung UN46D6500's contrast ratio is an amazing 6309:1, thanks to its merely average peak brightness and its darker than average black level. That's pretty stiff competition for the three TVs we pulled in for comparison. More on how we test contrast.
The Samsung UN46D6500 did not have too much trouble maintaining a consistent black level. Usually LCDs are fine at this task, but plasmas will brighten their black levels if there's only a little area of black surrounded by brighter tones. More on how we test tunnel contrast.
The Samsung UN46D6500 displayed a perfectly even peak brightness, no matter how much or how little white area was on the screen. More on how we test white falloff.
The Samsung UN46D6500 uses an LED edge-lighting system, a technology that often blindly praised as being "the next cool thing," without an understanding of how it works. In short, rather than placing the lighting elements behind the LCD array, they're arranged in a perimeter around the screen. This allows the TV panel to be much thinner than previous technologies. In order to illuminate the LCD elements, reflective substrates are used to try and maneuver the photons from the LED lights on the edge and across the entire screen.
As far as we've seen, an even application of light is typically the problem. All the edgelit TVs we've reviewed, including the Samsung UN46D6500, show hotspots across the screen. Corners are usually brighter, a problem called "flashlighting." There's some general blotchiness, as well. It's not great, but it's the price we pay for fashion (supposedly). More on how we test white falloff.
The greyscale gamma test measures how well a TV transitions from black to white within the greyscale. Look at the chart below. First notice the smoothness of the line. Any bumps that you see (there are very few here) would indicate areas where you might see banding in an otherwise smooth gradient.
Also note the shape of the curve. Ideally, we want a line that moves steadily up and to the right. With the Samsung UN46D6500's performance, we can see that the lower left portion of the line, representing the shadows, is a bit flat. That means that we're not going to see as much detail in the shadows as we'd like. If you read the sections above, you know the Samsung UN46D6500 produced a very deep black. Now we know the cost of that performance.
Finally, there's the slope of the curve. An ideal slope is somewhere between 2.1 and 2.2. The Samsung UN46D6500's slope of 2.86 is far too steep, which indicates that we're missing a lot of the finer gradations in the greyscale. Overall, it's not a terrible performance, but we've certainly seen better, especially in higher-end TVs like this. More on how we test greyscale gamma.