Samsung UE32D5520 32" LED SMART TV

Samsung UE32D5520
We recently (September 2011) bought this TV as part of a project to update our daughter's bedroom. We are not a big fan of TV's in childrens bedrooms but, she is now a teenager and quite responsible for her age. Even so, we will be keeping an eye on usage.

We have installed Samsung LED TVs in demo rooms and showcases and have always been impressed by the quality of the picture on their LED-backlit LCD TVs. There were several reasons for choosing this particular model over the vast number of other TVs out their:

  • Firstly, it is a 32" TV and is the ideal size for this bedroom. Anything bigger would dominate the room too much. As you can see from the pictures below, it is just about the biggest TV that would fit on this wall. We were originally looking at a 28" or even 24" TV but, there simply isn't as much choice with these smaller screen sizes.
  • The picture quality is very good.
  • This is a 2D TV only. We are not convinced 3D TVs justify their extra price yet. From what we can see, you pay about double the price when you add 3D capability.
  • This TV is incredibly thin! Being less than 30mm thick when wall mounted.
  • It is both 1080p capable and has a Freeview HD (DVB-T2/C) receiver. We have Freeview HD in Suffolk, with 4 channels currently available.
  • It has a low power consumption of around 35W. This is much lower than the main Plasma TV in our lounge, which is over 220W.
  • It is Internet connected for access to services like BBC iPlayer, Lovefilm, etc.
  • It is DLNA capable, so it can be used to display content from our home NAS and media server and my daughter can push video, music and photos to it from her laptop.
  • It can also play/display content off of a USB memory stick.

In The Box

Samsung WMN2000A box
The TV comes with a stand but we plan to wall mount it. It also comes with the power lead, remote control + batteries and a few adaptor leads for component input, etc. There are also some washers for fixing to 3rd party mounts and a screen cleaning cloth.

Similar remotes are used across the Samsung range of TVs. This can be a little confusing as some of the remotes buttons are redundant on some of the lower end TVs, like this one. The TV will inform you of this though.

Installation

Samsung WMN2000A mount in box
We fitted the TV to the wall using an ultra-slim mounting bracket, to get it as flush to the wall as possible. There are so many brackets to choose from, ranging from about £20 to over £100. It was very difficult to find one that would hold the TV flush against the wall and that we could guarantee would fit this TV.

Samsung WMN2000A ultra slim wall mount
In the end we decided to use the official Samsung WMN2000A 'ultra slim wall mount'. With a RRP of £99.99 this is an expensive solution but one that is guaranteed to work. My local electrical store price-matched to a much lower price I found online.

It really is very well made and comes with a whole range of fittings for different wall types. Essentially the TV is hanging off of a large 'button', fixed to the wall with a 5mm bolt. It comes with fitting instructions.

Samsung WMN2000A back
We fitted both the wall mount and stand initially, to test out the TV before it was fitted to the wall.

The TV is supplied with mains power, an wired Ethernet network connection and a TV aerial feed. These are covered in more detail in our project to update our daughter's bedroom. These are hidden in colour matched ducting.

Initially, we tried to set up the TV with no aerial connection. The TV was not happy with this and things like app downloads would not work. It would also only update the firmware once supplied with an aerial connection. We think this is somethign to do with the date/time and region detection.

In Use

The picture quality on this TV really is really good. The colour, contrast and sharpness of the picture are about as good as you can get on a TV of this size. It's not in the same class as some of the 55" Samsung LED 3D TVs we have used recently but is pretty close.

The audio quality of all TVs is pretty disappointing when compared to a full home cinema set up with proper speakers and surround sound. We always use a home cinema amp for audio on our main lounge TV because of this. The audio on this TV is OK though and it has several modes to optimise it for movies, music and speech. In movie mode it seemed to have more depth to it and this was the preferred setting.

Freeview HD

In our local area we can now receive some Freeview HD channels. Using the remote 'PRE-CH' (previous channel) button, you can toggle between standard and high definition content, e.g. BBC1 (Ch 1) and BBC1 HD (Ch 50). The difference it quality is amazing and it brings home just how average Freeview is at transmitting content. ITV 1 in our area is particularly bad due to the high level of compression used. There is more technical information about your local transmitter available. Our local transmitter is Sudbury.

Freeview HD channels are also transmitted with HE-AAC 5.1 audio and if you use the digital audio output (optical) and connect this into a home cinema system, then the audio is much improved over the standard stereo with Dolby Pro-Logic.

Picture Mode

The TV supports a number of 'picture modes' and these are cycled through using the remote 'P.MODE' button. The 'standard' setting is OK but, 'natural' looks better in our view.

USB

The TV supports playback of content from USB disk drives and pen drives. To test this we downloaded the full 1080p Big Buck Bunny sample. It really does look stunning on this TV. This and the various other sources can be quickly accessed by using the 'Source' button on the remote.

SMART Hub

Samsung SMART Hub view
The 'SMART' is what distinguishes Samsung's higher end TVs. The 'SMART Hub' is essentially a portal to on-line services and Samsung apps. It is accessed on the remote by pressing the 'SMART' button. It provides a picture-in-picture view of the current channel.

Apps

Samsung TVs support a range of Apps which can be installed and removed as required. Some of the more interesting ones are:

Samsung BBC iPlayer app
The iPlayer app on the Samsung TVs is much like the browser experience on a PC. The picture quality is really quite good.

Samsung BBC News app
The BBC News app provides a series of video clips on the main stories of the day.

Samsung YouTube app
The Youtube app is OK but where apps like this fall down is when you need to enter text. Text entry on the remote is made eaiser with various modes but, it's still slow.

DLNA

DLNA is a standard for distribution of photos, music and video between consumer electronics devices over an IP-network. It makes it easy to get content on to a DLNA enabled TV from other devices. Samsung have their own name for this technology and call it 'Allshare'.

The main devices of interest to my daughter are her laptop and her iPod. Windows Media Player can be used to push content to the TV. On the iPod she has the PlugPlayer app which achieves much the same thing.

The Pluglayer app on her Google Nexus S Android phone works really well. The app seems more reliable than the iPhone equivalent.

Video Formats

We have a lot of downloaded content, so format support is of interest. So far we have found the following:

  • .avi = plays
  • .mkv = won't play back
  • .mp4 = plays
  • .m4v = won't play back
  • .ogv = ?
  • .wmv = plays sometimes, sometimes 'not supported'

What's Missing?

  • 4OD and ITV Player apps are the obvious omissions found so far.
  • Some of the higher end Samsung TVs support recording of programmes to a USB pendrive. These can only be played back on the TV on which they were recorded. This TV does not support this funtion.

Summary

We paid £414 delivered for this TV and we think this is fantastic value for such a feature rich 32" TV with such good picture quality. With the decent sound as well, this TV is now an ideal 'entertainments hub' in our daughter's bedroom. The Internet connectivity is 'must have' feature on any modern TV and provides simple and quick access to all our personal content (stored on our NAS) and a wide range of content from the Internet.

The location of the TV in a bedroom is important. This one is installed one the wall opposite the bed so that our daughter (and friends) can sit on her bed and watch TV.

Updates

Sep 2012 - The second TV we purchased has developed a fault in the screen. John Lewis were excellent and arranged and engineer visit the next day. We got a free 5-year warranty when we purchased the TV.

Nov 2011 - We have been so impressed with this TV, that we have bought another one for our son's room. This one is installed on the wall, with all the wires coming down from above and within the stud wall. We have used the same Samsung wall mount too and all of the cables exit 300mm below the centre of the wall mount 'button'.

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