Samsung LN55B650 55" 120Hz LCD HDTV: A Layman's Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     August 31, 2009

Sound Quality

While “testing” the overall sound quality from any source is highly subjective, there are some things that just can’t be overlooked no matter how new you are to customizing your sound stage. Naturally, the sound that comes from the two 15W speakers of this set can never compete with a full sound system setup but once properly calibrated, they do a good job for normal TV watching. Bass and treble response is generally very good but the speakers really struggle in movie scenes accompanied by complex sounds. This is par for the course with built in speakers.

Just remember, the out-of-the-box audio settings on the LN55B650 do their best to muddy the sound to the point where action scenes are horribly loud while dialog is needlessly quiet. If you insist on using the TV’s speakers for the majority of your listening needs, make sure you take an hour or two to fool around with the custom audio settings to ensure an optimal listening experience.

Power Consumption

I had been told time and again that the backlight setting on an LCD TV can have a significant impact on power consumption but what no one was able to tell me was just how much. So, in order to find out, I pulled out my trusty UPM power meter and Tripp Lite 1800W line conditioner. Basically, the line conditioner was plugged into the wall in ensure the input voltage to the TV was regulated at a constant 121V so any fluctuations would not impact the results. The UPM power meter was then plugged into the line conditioner and the TV was finally attached to the meter. In order to keep these results constant, the opening 15 minutes of I Am Legend were played to get a good cross-section of power consumption figures. Only the peak rates were recorded.

In addition, I measured the Standby and Absolute Max power consumption as well. The Standby value you see is a constant reading instead of a Peak as all of the others. On the other hand, the Absolute Max figure you see is the result of a weekend of regular TV and movie watching while the power meter logged the maximum power consumption. It represents the highest peak power consumption this HDTV pulled from the wall with the blacklight set to 10 after about 8 hours of viewing. For all these tests, the Energy Saver was disabled.

When compared to last year’s top-end LN52B850, the B650 displayed amazingly lower power consumption across the board. This is truly a sight to behold as it shows how energy savings have progressed within less than 12 months. As I have said in the past, the backlight setting has a massive impact on the power consumption of any LCD.

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