Samsung UN55D7000 55″ LED 3D HDTV Review
General HD Picture & Image Quality Observations
There are three words to remember when you first set up you brand new HDTV: calibration, calibration, calibration. We cannot emphasize this enough since every set we have come across has had default picture settings which are set for in-store environments rather than our living room. Need proof? Check out our images below.
As you can see the pre-calibrated image is overly saturated, features a very cool color pallet, sacrifices contrast for white level “pop” and is generally unviewable for long periods of time. After a few minor tweaks which largely involve setting the Color Tone to Warm 2, reducing the backlight and nixing Dynamic Contrast, the image begins to something that approaches acceptability. Another important setting to remember is the Screen Fit option which enables 1:1 pixel mapping for 1080P content so a movie or program can be viewed as the director intended.
The overall look of an image is highly subjective (indeed, the post calibration picture above may look too warm for some) but a good looking picture doesn’t require a degree in rocket science or a $200 ISF calibration service. Samsung gives users a full set of easy to understand tools and we recommend you use them.
With calibration complete, we can say that for the most part the picture quality of Samsung’s UN55D7000 is simply beyond reproach. Colours are rich and vibrant without leaning towards either the overly cool or warm spectrums as some past sets have done. Skin tone was also a highlight with even coloration and spot on luminescence. There were some odd shifts towards blue tones in some HD satellite broadcasts but we chalked that up to the source image rather than the TV. Nonetheless, from Batman: The Dark Knight to Avatar and 2012, the image rendition was some of the best we’ve seen in a long time and is a massive step forward from the last generation’s similarly priced C6000 and C7000 series.
LED edge lighting sometimes causes a distracting halo effect which is particularly noticeable during movies displayed in their native 16:9 or 1.35:1 formats which leave large black bands above and below the image. The D7000’s Cinema Black setting allows it to avoid this pitfall. By enabling Cinema Black, the TV essentially turns off parts of the screen lighting to enable true black upper and lower bands. It is a brilliant feature and one we just can’t see doing without in the future.
Some past Samsung HDTVs exhibited an odd issue which caused them to “skip” some frames when displaying 1080P/24 content but luckily the D7000 seems to have done away with this nagging problem. Video processing was smooth, particularly with Auto Motion Plus in our custom setup.
Black level and contrast performance were very good when compared to the immediate competition and it seemed like Samsung’s “Micro Dimming” technology doing a yeoman’s job of keeping the panel under control. Indeed, this is one of the better performing LED TVs we’ve seen when it came to black levels with inky blacks being achievable through a few minor tweaks. Unfortunately, there was some noticeable black crush every so often –particularly in darker movies like Tron Legacy-, acceptable shadow detail was hard to achieve and some shadows did take on a faintly blueish aura in 300.
It still seems like LED-based sets have a long way to go until they can even come close to matching the black level performance of plasmas and some of the higher end LCD TVs out there.
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