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Product Review
 

Samsung TXN2670WHF DynaFlat™ 26" Direct View 16:9 CRT HDTV Monitor

June, 2004

Ralph Calabria

 

Specifications:

● Flat 26" (Diagonal) 16:9 Direct-View (Single CRT) HDTV

● Inputs: Two Component Video Sets, S-Video, Composite Video

● 3:2 Pulldown Detection

● Dimensions: 19.9" H x 31.5" W x 21.8" D

● Weight: 89 Pounds

● Finish: Metallic Gray

● MSRP: $649 USA, Direct from Samsung
 

Samsung Electronics

www.samsung.com

Introduction

If you believe the numbers that are being published, there are a lot of people watching TV in the bedroom these days. One can certainly conjure up many scenarios to support this trend, but the bottom line is, the family room isn’t the only place where people watch TV.

So what kind of TV should you be thinking about for your bedroom? Certainly the likes of LCD and plasma displays come to mind because of the slim design, and they can easily fit into just about any bedroom décor. That is if you’ve got the budget to support these relatively expensive technologies. While LCD and plasma have come way down in price over the past few years, they are still out of reach for many people, particularly when looking for justification for a bedroom set.

Then there are the usual questions:

“Do I buy a digital TV for my bedroom?"

"What about widescreen or 4:3?"

If you’re in the market for a TV now, or in the not too distant future, it may make sense to go digital, to go HDTV, and to go 16:9 (widescreen). Assuming most TVs last on average about 10 years (I’ve got a 19” Magnavox that’s pushing 22, and that's not in dog years!), you’ll still have the TV you bought today when the switch is flipped in 2007 for all broadcasting to go digital.

The Design

So, if you haven’t got the funds to go with an LCD or plasma, but still want a reasonable size screen, the only choice is direct-view CRT (one big picture tube, like we have been used to for 50 years). If you’ve got the room for a CRT, there are several sizes to choose from. Most major manufacturers offer a 30” or 34” widescreen direct view TV. For some, however, even 30” may be too big for your bedroom.

There is one smaller CRT set on the market, and that’s the Samsung TXN2670WHF 26” widescreen. Samsung actually makes another 26” model, the TXN2668WHF, with the only major differences between the two sets are that the 2670 has 3:2 pulldown detection and a finer dot pitch CRT. With its relatively small footprint (and light weight) the Samsung provides many the opportunity to view digital programming in the second most favorite room to watch TV in the house, the bedroom!

The 2670 is equipped with one RF input, and a set of A/V inputs on the side of the TV, including an S-Video (the only one on the set). The TV also has two 480i/480p/1080i component video inputs. Since this set is a HDTV monitor, you'll need one of these component inputs for a digital set top box (STB).

There is one dedicated video input in the rear, and potentially two more. By that I mean, if one of the component video inputs is not being used, it can double as a composite/L/R audio input set by utilizing the Y/V component video jack for composite video. Strange, but true! The side panel also comes with a headphone jack. To round out the back jacks, there is an A/V monitor out.

Native resolutions for this set are 480p and 1080i. The set uses its internal deinterlacer to convert 480i signals to 480p. The set will not accept a 720p signal, so any HD STB connected to the TV will have to be set in 1080i mode to view HD programming.

The 2670 offers five standard picture views. (1) Normal: Used when watching 4:3 aspect ratio programming in its correct proportion. Gray bars are displayed on the left and right side of the screen; (2) Wide (default mode): Used when watching HDTV programming and anamorphic DVDs. The TV locks into this mode when the set detects a digital 16:9 program as well as DVDs if the player is set in progressive mode. Using this mode with 4:3 programming stretches the picture horizontally to fit the screen, resulting in a non-proportional picture. This shows up as objects being wider than they really are. Regardless of what the picture mode was set to before the TV is powered down, the TV defaults to wide mode once powered back up; (3) Panorama: This gives the most natural of all of the stretch modes, where the center of the screen is in it original aspect ratio and the left/right sides of the screen are stretched slightly to fill the screen. This set has the best panorama view I've seen on any TV, which is most likely due to its small picture tube, so a majority of the picture looks very natural. Only the very ends of each side of the tube have a slight stretch to them; (4) Zoom1: Used to proportionally stretch the picture to fill the screen on 4:3 programming. This results in a loss of picture on the top and bottom of the screen. This mode is useful when watching letterbox movies or TV shows; (5) Zoom2: Further zooms the picture. Even more image is lost on the top/bottom/sides. Best use for this stretch mode is when viewing 2.35:1 movies.

The 2670 does not have two-tuner picture-in-picture (PIP), however with a screen size this small, I’m not sure how useful it would be anyway. There is no DVI, HDMI, or IEEE 1394 Firewire input (so, what do you want for $649?)

The 35-button universal remote is simply laid out. Convenience buttons include a display, picture size, picture mode, and sound mode. With the layers of on-screen display functions this TV has, it comforting to know these buttons are a one-touch solution to changing what they do.

There is no way to bypass unused video sources, however, there are two video source buttons that split up the component and TV/Video inputs. There is no backlight on the remote, so the buttons are a little hard to see in a dark setting (like a bedroom). The remote can be easily programmed, and gives the user the option to program up to four other remotes (cable, VCR, DVD, and TV). The manual provides the IR codes for all major manufacturers. The remote size was a little big to fit comfortably in my hand, but was manageable. Response time for the remote was average. There was one convenience button (one touch) that I found missing for a TV that was designed for the bedroom: a sleeper time button. To get to the sleeper time, which automatically shuts off the TV after a set time, it took a minimum of 8 keystrokes. After setting the time, it took another 3 keystrokes to exit the menu.

The TV allows for one custom picture setting where you can set all picture functions like contrast, brightness, etc. The set has several factory preset picture modes which include Dynamic, Normal, and Movie. The Dynamic (a.k.a. crash and burn) mode had the contrast up WAY too high. I wouldn't recommend keeping the TV in this mode too long as it will shorten the life of the tube. The service manual did not provide a way to change the factory settings for these picture modes.

In Use

Initial setup was pretty straightforward. After giving the TV a break-in period, I adjusted the color, tint, contrast, brightness, and sharpness using the Ovation Software Avia test disk. Red push was 0-5%, which is really good right out of the box. No adjustment was needed on this set.

Picture geometry, on the other hand, did not fare as well. There was a modest amount of bowing on the top left and right corners using the crosshatch test screen. Overscan was a little high, averaging ~6% on left and right sides, and 7% on top and bottom. Using the service menu, I was able to improve the overscan to 5% before losing the picture on the edges. The geometry was also adjusted to an acceptable level via the service menu.

The TV offers four color temperatures: Warm 1, Warm 2, Normal, Cool 1, and Cool 2. The normal setting was the NTSC standard of 6500K, where colors were more natural. The cool setting gave the picture a noticeably blue hue, while the warm settings accentuated reds. The power supply in this set was slightly under what I would have preferred. This was particularly noticeable when the contrast was increased. The needle and pulse test signal also showed line bowing as contrast level was increased. The effect produces a "pulsing" of images when they first come on the screen, i.e., when the channel is changed and the top channel banner first appears. The image would balloon slightly, then revert back to the original size. By reducing the contrast to the proper setting, the effect was drastically reduced, making it almost unnoticeable. Additionally, the inverted overscan test on AVIA showed more overscan as white levels increased.

The tube had a fair amount of structure visible on the outer edges of the left and right side. The center of the screen was beautiful. However, vertical lines were clearly visible on the edges, which are a result of poor mask alignment. Below are photos of both the center and the lower left corner of the screen. The dark lines seen in the corner illustrate this effect. It was almost unnoticeable at viewing distances of eight feet or greater. The photos were taken approximately 3 inches from the screen surface. Keep in mind, again, this HDTV is only $649. Remember when HDTV first came out, and the sets were all $5000 and up?

Center of Screen

Corner of Screen

The Samsung did a good job at reproducing DVDs through its component inputs. The deinterlacer (line doubler) on this set was very good, which made it hard to distinguish between DVDs viewed in 480i or 480p as delivered from the DVD player. There were very few motion artifacts experienced, indicating that the 3:2 pulldown detection was working nicely as well.

The set did a great job at producing black, and images were sharp and detailed. This is one of the big advantages that CRT still has over LCD and DLP. Using a DVD resolution test pattern, the 2670 showed a maximum horizontal resolution of ~520 lines , slightly lower than the full 540 lines one can expect from DVD in progressive mode. However, this test doesn't indicate whether or not the set will display 1080i in HD mode. Due to a lack of HD test signals at the time of review, the set was not tested in HD mode.

High Definition on this set looked really nice. OTA and satellite signals through a Zenith 520SAT were simply beautiful. Colors looked very natural and crisp, and the picture was very detailed.

Conclusions

Samsung is currently the only manufacturer of 26" direct-view 16:9 HDTVs on the market. The 2670 displayed all HDTV signals well in their native 1080i format. Just make sure your STB will convert 720p to 1080i, as this set will not accept a 720p signal.

The TXN2670WHF provides a nice, sharp picture when viewing DVDs and DTV off the air signals. Satellite also looked very sharp when viewing 480i through the component inputs, as well as HD content such as DiscoveryHD Theater and HDNET. As with any display device, this set did nothing to improve a poor cable signal.

With no digital copy-protection inputs, it may have limited accessibility to digital signals that may someday require such technology.

The only two complaints are the vertical line structure at the edges and the weak power supply. The later can be fixed by a properly adjusted contrast level.

Despite my complaints about this set, the price of $649 for a widescreen HDTV monitor is still attractive. If you’re looking to replace your bedroom set with a HDTV monitor, give this set a look, as it may suit your needs in terms of picture quality and overall size.


- Ralph Calabria -

Equipment used during this review:

Panasonic CP-72 Progressive Scan DVD Player
Winegard PR-9032 UHF antenna w/ AP-4800 Preamp
Zenith HD-SAT520 Digital Receiver
BetterCables, Nordost Flatline and Audioquest Interconnects

© Copyright 2004 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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