Samsung LNT3253H 32-Inch LCD HDTV Review

Samsung LNT3253H 32-Inch LCD HDTV
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(More customer reviews)
I'm not an expert reviewer but a reasonably knowledgeable electronics consumer. Here are my observations from a week's use of the LNT3253H. I won't repeat the specifications and the like that you can find most anywhere. I suspect that some of what I say is applicable to other panel sizes in the 2007 53 series.
A successor to last year's popular 51 series, the 53 is really more of an updated version of 2006's highly rated LNS3296 with a little more contrast and one more HDMI port and a USB port. (I was told by Samsung customer service, 1-800-726-7864, that the successors to the latter line will be 1080p.)
Sharp picture with vibrant color in HD. Subjectively: when viewing HD feeds in the showroom, the 2006 version of the Sony Bravia XBR has better picture processing than this model, and the 2007 Toshiba Regza is comparable to the LNT3253.
Very high quality panel with no dead pixels. It is said that Sony and Samsung LCD panels come from the same Samsung plant. My set was manufactured (probably assembled) in Mexico.
Uses the desirable Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp (CCFL) according to Samsung customer service.
Nice contrast; I was told by many people, though, that dynamic contrast has a bit of marketing hype to it so just don't buy an LCD model because the dynamic contrast is slightly better than a competitor's. Sony avoids talking about it and their Bravia sets produce excellent pictures.
2 RF inputs, one for antenna and the other for cable/satellite. Competitors I've seen don't have that feature in their 2007 32" sets.
Digital tuner is high quality; very sensitive. Let me clarify that the digital ATSC tuner will receive analog NTSC signals. That's not entirely clear from the product specs, and competitors usually indicate their tuners are ATSC/NTSC/QAM. This HDTV does all of that.
Remote is logical and easy to use; better than the 2007 Regza's (I didn't compare it to the Sony's). Nice that the Samsung recognizes input sources and allows one button scrolling through connected ones rather than having to go to a menu. Don't know if source labeling or picture settings by source are available.
Audio: pretty typical, meaning not superb but adequate.
For the most part, a well-engineered and elegant set with nice touches, like unobtrusive function buttons in the front (some other manufacturers like Sharp and Toshiba just don't get it that some sets will go into tight spaces like cabinets; they put the on-board function buttons on the top or side of the unit--how inconvenient).
The single pedestal stand is a nice piece of engineering but could not be securely fastened to the set I purchased, so it was wobbly and, worse, made the set noticeably sag to one side. I checked two other display units in electronics stores and discovered that they did wobble. Other 32" sets from Sony, Sharp, and Toshiba, while not capable of turning on their pedestals, are solidly anchored. I don't know whether it's a design or manufacturing flaw -- or both.
720p resolution, 8 ms response time, and 10-bit processing. Most experts seem to think there's really no discernable difference in 32" sets between 720p and 1080p at typical viewing distances of 8 to 10 feet. I disagree; there is a difference to my eyes. Eight ms response is good, but 6 ms is better for action scenes. Samsung touts 10-bit processing on last year's 96 series models, but not on this one (which Samsung customer service confirmed to me it has). Perhaps that's because competitors are upping the ante with 14-bit and better processing.
Blacks are not as black as they should be on this set, and most annoying, there is some residual image on occasion. The test: MGM's lion logo goes immediately to black for about a second before a program begins. On my 19" Samsung Synchmaster LCD, the black stays black after the logo disappears. Same thing on my 12 year-old Panasonic direct-view (CRT) 32" set. Not so on this set; a residual reverse image of the MGM logo lingers on the black screen.
Legacy analog from over-the-air analog broadcasting and VCR is substantially lower quality than on my analog set. I know that Samsung claims its engine helps make analog pictures look sharper, and they do when DNIe is turned on, but they're still disappointing when compared to a quality analog set. (Digital broadcasts and DVDs are fine; I use the excellent Sony DVP-NS75H upscaling DVD player.)
An audio nit: My old Panasonic TV allowed control of the sound level output and muting of the home theater receiver from its remote. This set's remote does not do that, requiring the use of the receiver's remote for volume control and muting. The Samsung's is supposed to be universal, though, and might be programmed to do so. Another nit: Muting is not 100% complete. There was slight sound leakage in all muting situations (both from the remote and "internal muting") on my set. It seemed like Lilliputians had taken up residence inside the set.
You can turn off the obtrusive (to me) bottom blue light if desired from the menu.
Samsung has some info on their website about the unit, including the product manual (very nice--why can't competitors do something this simple and helpful?).
The power cord is detachable from the set (yes!). It's three-pronged, with a grounding prong (reflects Samsung's monitor heritage?).
A brief note about size for those of you changing from old-style analog direct-view sets to an LCD like this. A 32" analog set is a 4:3 ratio set; while a 32" HDTV LCD set is "widescreen" at the theater-like 16:9 ratio. What this means in practice is: on your old analog set some DVDs and broadcast HDTV programs are centered on the set with black bars at the top and bottom (some DVD players will allow you to "zoom" and crop the picture to fill up the set, but you lose program's side action). They should fit just fine in your new LCD, though. Analog content that fills up the screen of your old analog 32" set is centered with black bars at the sides on your new LCD set. In effect, with older content, it's like watching a program on a 26" set, not a 32" set, according to the experts. I hope this isn't too confusing. The bottom line for me: when replacing a 32" analog set, think about going to a larger 37" or 40" LCD set if your budget and shelving can manage it.
I discovered that my AmEx and Master Charge extend the in-home parts and labor service warranty for an additional year; my Visa does not, so it might be a good idea to check with your credit card company prior to purchase.
There were a few issues with the LNT3253H that surfaced during the week that I owned it. I strongly recommend thoroughly previewing (kicking the tires, as it were and checking your preferences) this or any other large screen TV before buying it from any online retailer (BTW, it seems that most of them will not accept returns). You may wish to check with Amazon customer service to find out exactly what the return and refusal policies are, since, as many of you know, once you hit the "buy" button you may get the dreaded "your order is being processed, you can't make any changes" message if you change your mind.
The set and box are not heavy and can be handled reasonably well by one person.

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Offering an unparalleled sleek design and one of the best 720p LCD panels available, Samsung's 2007 model LNT3253H 32-inch flat-panel LCD HDTV is an updated successor the super popular 2006 model LNS3251D. Compared to the previous year's model this one offers an updated cosmetic design, a better contrast ratio at 8000:1, hidden speakers, side A/V inputs, and 2 HDMI connections.
The Samsung Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) Video Enhancer refines all analog NTSC and wideband video inputs for an overall improvement in picture quality. DNIe improves contrast, white level, picture detail and incorporates digital noise reduction to improve lower quality video inputs. The 3D Y/C digital comb filter constantly analyzes the three dimensions of picture height, picture width, and picture changes-over-time to dramatically reduce edge image artifacts while improving transition detail.
High-quality virtual surround sound can be experienced with just the speakers built into the TV. SRS TruSurround XT technology delivers an amazing, simulated 3D effect with clear dialog and powerful bass through hidden side speakers. TruSurround XT audio adds three audio enhancement technologies to produce an amazingly immersive sound experience.
Dialog Clarity brings movie dialog into Focus during the playback of any surround-encoded material to make speech much clearer and crisper.
TruBass creates incredible deep rich bass allowing a person to perceive significantly deeper, richer low bass tones that are far beyond the physical low frequency capabilities of the speaker itself.
The SRS WOW feature widens the soundstage by processing standard two-channel stereo material as well as multi-channel encoded material for a dramatic improvement in the playback of any stereo audio over a two-speaker system.

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) 3
R/F in 1
Component (Y/Pb/Pr) in 2
S-Video input 2(1 side/1 rear)
A/V input 2(1 side/1 rear)
PC input 1
USB 2.0 1
Headphone jack 1

What's in the box: Samsung LNT3253H LCD TV, remote control, 2 AAA batteries, Power Cord, cleaning cloth, owners manual, warranty card.

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