Samsung UE32D5000 LED LCD TV Review

Note: Our Samsung UE32D5000 review sample was calibrated using Calman Professional, the industry-leading video calibration software.

Greyscale

Many years of looking at calibrated displays meant that we could detect some slightly ruddy-looking flesh tones from our UE32D5000′s out-of-the-box picture. Our Klein K-10 measurement device told us the same thing when we gave it some test patterns to assess:

Pre-calibration RGB Tracking
Pre-calibration RGB tracking and delta errors (dEs)

The [Movie] mode’s default [Contrast] setting of “100″ was also too high, and caused a discolouration in the brightest parts of the picture (visible on the Greyscale tracking chart, above, as a dip downwards at the “100″ measurement).

Post-calibration RGB Tracking in [Movie] mode
Post-calibration RGB tracking and dEs in [Movie] mode

We used the 2-point White Balance controls present in the Samsung UE32D5000 to remove the unwanted red tint from the image. Asides from the remaining excess of blue in the darker areas – a common flaw with LED-based televisions – we were left with a very natural foundation for further images to be built on top of. So large was the red tint, that in our review sample, we had to reduce the [R-Gain] control down all the way to 0, and then raise both the Green and Blue controls to remove the last of the tinting.

Gamma curve in [Movie] mode Gamma tracking in [Movie] mode
Gamma curve in [Movie] mode Corresponding gamma tracking

On a video display, “Gamma” describes the light output by the screen relative to the input video signal – in other words, whether or not the amount of light being put out by the television at each brightness level is correct. In the out-of-the-box state, the Samsung UE32D5000 was producing an image with very low gamma (around 2.0) – or put another way, its pictures were slightly greyish and washed-out. Changing the [Gamma] setting to “-1″ resulted in the closest match for our desired gamma of 2.2, and restored some punch to the image. A gamma of 2.2 produces an image suitable for viewing in general-purpose rooms (as opposed to fully light-controlled blackened viewing rooms).

We experimented at length to try and perfect Gamma tracking on the 32D5000, since this is one of the finishing touches to getting a realistic, deep image. Unfortunately, we had to contend with the fact that the UE32D5000 reveals a little bit too much shadow detail (visible on the “Gamma Y” chart above as a drop downwards at the 10 and 20% stimulus positions). We did re-calibrate and adjust the Greyscale tracking controls to optimise Gamma, but this came at the expense of Greyscale accuracy – in other words, solving the excess shadow detail gave dark areas of the picture a very obvious colour tint, which is a much worse problem. In the end, we accepted that we’d tried everything and took this as a slight limitation of this entry-level HDTV.

Since we’re on the subject, we did try measuring the Samsung UE32D5000 with both full-screen patterns (as we normally do for LCD TVs) and windowed patterns, which have the necessary patch for measurement in the middle of the screen, surrounded by black. The D5000 produced different Gamma tracking on both occasions. During the windowed measurements, its gamma would be higher, indicating a darker overall picture. The fact that the gamma changes at all reveals that Samsung are using some sort of dynamic backlighting system to improve contrast performance on the display. However, they do so in a very subtle way, and the processing almost never revealed itself to our eyes. The [Shadow Detail] control (set to the maximum position of “+2″ by default in the Movie mode) affects the severity of the dynamic backlighting. Lowering the control results in more severe dimming during dark scenes.

Colour

There are no advanced colour controls to be found on the Samsung UE32D5000; in fact, on top of the basic [Colour] and [Tint] settings, there’s only the choice of “Auto” or “Native” [Colour Space] modes. Both of these are very similar, but “Auto” was mildly more accurate in our testing.

Post-calibration CIE chart in [Movie] mode
Post-calibration CIE chart with reference to HD Rec.709

Even before calibration, there were no obvious colour issues. We made a tiny adjustment to [Tint] (moving it one click towards the right) to slightly improve the hue accuracy of Magenta. We were content with Samsung’s work here and didn’t mourn the loss of full calibration controls. The under-saturation of the Blue primary is almost certainly related to the LED light source. Fortunately, the UE32D5000 doesn’t have any under-saturation issues with Red, as we’ve seen on some other LED LCD televisions.

Post-calibration Luminance levels in [Movie] mode
Post-calibration colour luminance (coloured bars = targets; black bars = measured values)

Colour luminance (brightness) levels were largely correct, but we raised the [Colour] control by one click to achieve the above result (this meant that even if there were some small inaccuracies elsewhere, the colour of red now had perfect luminance).

Benchmark Test Results

Dead pixels None
Screen uniformity Right side darker than left
Overscanning on HDMI 0% with aspect ratio set to “Just Scan
Blacker than black Passed
Calibrated black level (black screen) 0.028 cd/m2
Calibrated black level (ANSI checkerboard) 0.046 cd/m2
Black level retention Mostly stable, subtle Dynamic Backlighting
Primary chromaticity Very Good
Scaling Good, aliasing visible on SD Freeview
Video mode deinterlacing Effective jaggies reduction
Film mode deinterlacing Passed 2-2 PAL film mode test
Viewing angle Loss of contrast from sides, common for LCD
Motion resolution 300 lines out of 1080
Digital noise reduction Present, defeatable
Sharpness Defeatable edge enhancement
Luma/Chroma bandwidth (2D Blu-ray) Chroma horizontally blurred
1080p/24 capability Perfect, no judder
Input lag Only 16ms compared to lag-free CRT!
Full 4:4:4 reproduction (PC) Yes, on HDMI1 input labelled as “PC”

Power Consumption

[Standard] mode 99 watts
Calibrated [Movie] mode 71 watts
Standby 1 watt

Note: Measurements taken with full 50% grey screen.

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