I have now owned my beloved Samsung 6500 TV for several months, and I enjoy it more than ever.
For me, it was an upgrade to 1080p, an slurry of new options with Internet Ready TV, and most importantly it served as a replacement for my old Power Swiveling Hitachi 42” which I sold to a welcoming friend. Because of the required extra hardware requirements, I opted not to go for the 3D model of this TV which was available for $200 more, but 6” less in size. If prices keep dropping you can probably grab the 3D feature as well, but are you willing to forkout for an entire new 3D library, expensive glasses, and other 3D ready games and so on? For me, the upside is not worth it, although I’d love to test it out for Booya Gadget readers I wasn’t willing to fork out the additional $200 for the 3D model.
Features, of course, are a personal choice though, so it’s up to you how much you want 3D vs how much money you have in your pocket. I just ask, “Do you really want to wear glasses to watch a movie or play a game?” And we all know what happens next which is that prices will drop and drop over time. So let me tell you more about the features I did get, and what my impressions are of this beautiful TV as a proud owner for nearly 5 months.
Let’s start off with taking this thing home from the store (Fry’s). This TV felt very light, approximately 42 lbs in the box, nothing at all like the backbreaking TV’s I sold years ago. Even at 6’2” in height, my 46” model is pretty large for wrapping your arms around, but it does have the little handles on the side. However, unlike TV’s of the past, I was able to easily load this by myself into the backseat of my Toyota Tacoma (with 1 window open). I was prepared to slide it in the truck-bed but I didn’t have to. I’m not sure if it would easily fit in a little 2 door car or not so always be prepared with a blanket if you have to take it out of the box or have a friend with a larger vehicle help you when you go to pick it up.
Once inside the house, removal from the box is standard process, nothing special. You’ll want to consult the manual when setting up the base as it can be a little confusing since it is possible to set it up backwards. I just grabbed my handy Ryobi screwdriver, followed the directions and safely secured the TV to the base. The (manual) swiveling action is easy enough and I use it often, since I move the TV around a lot when playing with Move and Kinect for our demo videos. The TV is so thin that I always carefully,and with both hands, handle my Samsung when swiveling. It doesn’t feel amazingly sturdy, but perhaps I’m just a little paranoid. Probably wise to use some gentle caution when swiveling as it does require a bit of force to turn, but the rotation angle is sufficient to improve several different viewing angles. If you’re planning for a wall mount then it would be really great for that, and they have new Ultra Slim Wall Mount Systems on eBay now which look sweet.
As far as the inputs go, this TV has plenty. To confirm everything, simply consult the manual or website as the exact specifications are easier to obtain there, but I’ll link a few at the bottom for you. 4 HDMI, PC in and so on, but note that it only has a single Component-In slot. This TV obviously is betting that it’s purchasers(you) have mostly HDMI devices. I connect an XBox, and PS3 directly to this TV, and for Booya reasons I connect 1 via HDMI and the other console via component. I will say I can tell a difference. I describe the HDMI as “very crisp” when viewing the PS3 and XBox dashboards. Don’t worry, Component Video looks plenty beautiful too. Mainly, just remember it has only 1 component input so it may be time for you to upgrade a few devices or get a switch if you have a ton of component required devices. If you’re not a home media server type of person ( or if you don’t know what that means ) you have another very cool option with this TV, and it’s part of the reason I purchased it over the competition. You can very easily attach an external Thumb Drive, or USB hard drive and connect it via USB 2.0 into this TV. Load your drive up with any media and just plug it into the back of the TV. I have tested it and it worked well for any media, and per the specs, when using an external storage device, the Samsung 6500 can play A LOT of different video formats which is a critical feature for anyone that converts their DVD library. This is for people that may not have a central Server setup in their home. For me, I don’t use the feature, because I use freeNAS.
How I use this TV: I don’t watch much cable television, but I do watch the news in the morning and a full 1080p News Broadcast is certainly quite the treat! Looks so very nice. When I do watch cable, I use my trusty Hauppauge 950q HD Antenna for reception of a handful of cable channels which works great for me as I hate paying for cable. Outside of a little news and sports, I watch a lot of movies and of course do a lot of gaming with PS3 and XBox. For my movie fix, I mostly access my digital library ( converted all my dvd’s to .avi files ). I typically stream from my freeNAS using PS3 or XBox as a media extender. By far, the top “features” I use on this TV are connecting to Netflix and Pandora. There are a lot of Samsung Web apps for you to download and link to your own online account. All your preferences are transferred right on in but it takes a little while to put in your account info using the TV’s remote control. The apps work well, once you’ve taken the time and set everything up which can take at least an hour.
You can also watch YouTube, but I rarely do because I can do that easier on my phone or computer. Because I hate having cables all over the place I opted for the wireless connection accessory ( ~$80 additional ) and I don’t have any issues. The LinkStick Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter is small, fits “flat” against the TV(fine with wall mount) and worked for me right away. I have had occasional hiccups with HD Netflix, but the streaming quality is just not a problem for me, and I stream all kinds of stuff to this TV. My home network setup is optimal and I connect all my devices with the reliable DLink DIR 655 Router. I am quite familiar with setting up devices via wireless in my home, but if you’re not skilled at networking than it may be easier if you hardwire, or have your local “tech buddy” help you connect it to your network. As a last couple details for you, I also connect my PS3 Eye for my playstation using a special mount on the top of the TV. It also works great, despite the TV’s crazy thin body. And a subtle feature that I personally look for is the auto-off timer. As a man who sleeps on the couch a lot, I love the auto-off feature so I don’t wake up to my TV being on for 8 hours.
Finally let me tell you how much the graphics amaze me. If you’ve seen LED backlit TV’s in the store you may have been like me and amazed at what movies look like. My story is when I plopped in Book Of Eli BluRay on my PS3. Full 1080p flowing on the Samsung. I could literally see Denzell Washington’s scalp. And anyone with an LED LCD TV is required to own a BluRay copy of Avatar. I’m serious, it is amazing. Last night, I grabbed Family Guy “It’s a Trap”, even the dang cartoon looked incredible. WOW ! And if you’ve read above, you know I have a great digital library. For my library, I go for volume over quality, but this TV definitely improves the quality of my digital movies as well. In some high action movies and games, I can sometimes see a slight blur around the perimeter of the quickly moving object on the screen. However, there are many modes and settings on the TV, and Game Mode. I admit, it doesn’t bother me enough to explore all the settings. So it may be something you’ll have to mess with if you are a major stickler. Things look great on this TV regardless.
The Samsung 6500 TV (46” in this review ) looks amazing, improves the quality of your existing library, connects to the internet, and is crazy lightweight. I own it proudly, so if you’re considering it I can simply tell you it is a wonderful device to own, I warn you that you may become an LED Snob like me! Costs are already dropping since I purchased this TV, but it was half the price of the TV it replaced. I don’t have many gotchas, it does what it says with some limitations on the DLNA, which is why I recommend using a PS3 or XBox as your media extender for best results. Enjoy the additional benefits of Netflix, Pandora, YouTube and a ton of other Web Apps. If you happen to own a Samsung Smartphone, your options open up even further, so be sure to check the Cell phone app stores for compatibility. This TV is a good purchase, just shop around or let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try to get back to you with my experiences.