CNET First Look
Samsung LND550The Samsung LND550's mix of features, style and picture quality stands tall among the tough entry-level LCD TV crowd.
David Katzmaier here with the Samsung LND550 series. This is the company's least expensive 1080p LCD TV for 2011. It doesn't have all those fancy features that a lot of the other Samsungs have, really thin, a lot of internet stuff, 3D, yaddi-yadda. Now, this is a really basic TV. Samsung does trickle down some of its higher end styling cues to this TV; however, it has this transparent edge. It also has a swivel stand and a bezel around the screen. While relatively thick, it would still even around every side. So all total, it's one of the nicer looking entry-level LCD TVs at this price. Feature-wise, as we mentioned as Samsung, is pretty basic. It does have the ability to stream photos, videos, and music from a connected DLNA compatible home-network device as well as USBs; so that's one little plus. The picture quality settings on this TV, however, are not as extensive as higher end Samsungs. It doesn't have a 10-point grayscale adjustment. It also doesn't have a color management system. Those things are definitely missed when you set up this TV, but all total, it still has pretty good picture settings for the price. One thing that Samsung didn't skimp on in this entry-level TV was the inputs. There's 3 HDMI inputs on the side and a 4th around the back. There's also 2 USB inputs and 2 component video inputs in addition to the PC slot. So all total, it's probably the best equipped entry-level TV we've seen this year. When we took the Samsung in its lab, we were generally impressed by its picture quality. It does have nice deep black levels, among the deepest available for its price range. Also has that nice shadow detail and pretty good screen uniformity; again, better than a lot of the LED models. We also appreciated the matte screen. On the downside compared to competitors, the Samsung had slightly less color accuracy and also an inability to handle 1080p/24 sources, but all total, this picture quality is pretty darn good for an entry-level TV. That's a quick look at the Samsung LND550 series, I'm David Katzmaier.