This is where the Samsung excels compared to the competition. Color fidelity is exceedingly accurate, requiring only user menu tweaks that don't need professional calibration to access. The primary colors and the grayscale could still stand to be improved a bit, and can be with full-blown professional calibration, but the out-of-the-box performance is still impressive in this regard. And most importantly, blacks can be made to surpass the old microdisplay black-level champs--the Sony SXRD sets, like the Sony KDL-55A3000--by proper manipulation of the LED Control feature. You can check out my full picture settings for more info.
Black level: Blacks are quite compelling on the HL61A750. If you turn down the backlight, using the LED Control feature, you can really get good, deep, inky blacks out of this set--but you need to do it carefully, as light output suffers if you go too low. I settled on just above Minimum and cranked the Contrast to 90, and got an acceptably bright picture with excellent black level performance. For example, at the very end of Chapter three of I Am Legend on Blu-ray, when Will Smith is locking down his house, the screen goes completely black, and the Samsung produced a convincing dark black field with little or no noise. It then goes back in time with Will and his family driving through NYC at night, which also showed off the excellent shadow-detail capability of the set.
I also looked at some of the outer space shots from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the Samsung clearly bested the previous referenced TVs for black in microdisplays, the Sony KDS-55A3000 and the Mitsubishi WD-65735. Chapter six is a good high-contrast scene, with both good dark blacks from space juxtaposed against bright whites from a space ship and a planet; displaying these scenes, the Samsung was a definitely notch above the rest.
Color accuracy: As I said earlier, the overall color accuracy of the HL61A750 is exceptional, provided you set it up properly. Grayscale tracking in the Warm 2 color temperature setting is close to the broadcast standard. Primary and secondary color points are quite close to the HDTV specification, and the color decoding is spot on. All of these things combine to give the Samsung the ability to deliver incredibly accurate color, and this is extremely impressive with high-resolution HD sources, like Blu-ray.
HD programming from CNET's DirecTV HD satellite system looked pretty darn good. HDNET, in particular, was crisp, with excellent color reproduction and exceptionally natural-looking skin tone rendition. Outdoor scenes from I Am Legend looked exceptional and natural, especially when compared with the Mitsubishi WD65735. The Sony KDS-55A3000 stood up to the Samsung a lot better than the Mitsubishi in this regard, but the Samsung still outperformed it.
Video processing: Video processing on the HL61A750 is quite good for a consumer HDTV. It passed both the Video and Film Resolution Loss tests on the Silicon Optix HQV Blu-ray test disc, which means it de-interlaces 1080i HD material, correctly preserving all the resolution in the signal. Processing was clean, as evidenced by the quiet nature of blacks.
Uniformity: White field uniformity is exceptional on this set, which is common for DLPs. A good scene for testing this is the very beginning of Chapter Five of The Italian Job, where they are all celebrating in the Alps. There is a long pan of snow-covered mountains, and the Samsung reproduced this scene flawlessly, with no color splotching whatsoever.
Standard definition: (Updated July, 31, 2008) The HL61A750 did well in our standard-definition tests. It passed the 2:3 pulldown test as long as we left the Film Mode in Auto as opposed to the default Off. It also passed most of the other HQV tests, displaying the full resolution of DVDs and handling video-based jaggies tests with ease.
PC: The HL61750 isn't an ideal PC display, because, as we mentioned before, even in Just Scan mode there is some overscan, which will obscure parts of the screen. Aside from that, we found text to be clear and crisp, although resolution tests from DisplayMate indicated that it wasn't delivering all full horizontal resolution.
|Before color temp (20/80)||6510/6760||Good|
|After color temp||N/A|
|Before grayscale variation||+/- 209||Good|
|After grayscale variation||N/A|
|Color of red (x/y)||0.635/0.331||Good|
|Color of green||0.294/0.603||Good|
|Color of blue||0.149/0.059||Good|
|Black-level retention||All patterns stable||Good|
|Defeatable edge enhancement||Y||Good|
|480i 2:3 pull-down, 24 fps||Pass||Good|
|1080i video resolution||Pass||Good|
|1080i film resolution||Pass||Good|
|Samsung HL61A750||Picture settings|
|Picture on (watts)||171.24||83.38||N/A|
|Picture on (watts/sq. inch)||0.11||0.05||N/A|
|Cost per year||$53.52||$26.32||N/A|
|Score (considering size)||Good|