Samsung UNC6500 series (photos)

While its picture doesn't overcome the typical disadvantages of edge-lit LED LCDs, the excellent feature set and minimalist style of the Samsung UNC6500 series exhibit plenty of appeal.

David Katzmaier
1 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET


Samsung's ultrathin edge-lit LED-based LCD TVs created quite a stir last year, and in 2010 numerous other makers have followed the Korean giant's lead with inch-or-so-thick panels of their own. Samsung's are generally still the thinnest, however, and on models like the UNC6500 series, the company manages to pack more features and extras--the latest being Hulu Plus--into its TVs than just about anyone else. In terms of picture quality, as expected, the UNC6500 doesn't offer a significant improvement over standard LCDs, but it is mighty efficient as well as oh-so-sleek, which might be enough to justify the extra cost to buyers who don't care about 3D.
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Side view

The UNC6500's depth measures just 1.2 inches, among the thinnest available today.
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Corner detail

A thin strip of translucent plastic runs along the edge of the UNC6500's bezel.
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Stand detail

The flashy, silver stand may be a little too much for many living rooms.
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Since it's limited by cabinet depth, the jack pack of the UNC6500 is unusual. It does have 4 HDMI inputs back there, but just one analog video input (which can handle either component or composite) in addition to the PC input.
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Remote control

The remote included with the UNC6500, though similar in size, shape, and button count to the one offered on step-up sets like the UNC8000, has one huge advantage. Instead of catering to slick looks with impossible-to-use, flush semikeys, the C6500's clicker has standard, raised buttons. We don't like the new grid layout as much as the better-differentiated cursor keys on last year's remotes, but at least that fingerprint-magnet finish is gone.
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Hulu Plus App

Hulu Plus has a great interface and very good image quality, but we were irked that we couldn't change the picture controls.
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Samsung Apps main page

The Samsung Apps platform provides access to more streaming-media services than competing TVs.
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Hulu Plus playback

Streaming on Hulu Plus works a lot like Netflix, aside from the commercials.
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Yahoo widgets

Yahoo widgets are available along with Samsung Apps, and since both interfaces offer similar services (both have Facebook and Twitter, for example), it can be confusing.
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Main picture menu

Samsung's menus are largely unchanged from last year, and that's a good thing.
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10-point white balance

The 10-point system works well for tweakers who want to smooth out the grayscale.
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Custom dejudder control

We liked the ability to fine-tune the smoothing (dejudder) controls, and in the least smooth setting the TV handled 1080p/24 adequately.
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Picture quality

Though not up to the picture quality standards of local dimming models or Samsung's own flagship hybrid dimmer, the UNC8000, the significantly less expensive UNC6500 showed image quality on par with other edge-lit models we've tested. Black levels were a bit deeper than other edge-lit sets, if unspectacular overall; color accuracy was solid in bright areas and suffered as the image darkened; and uniformity showed some characteristic flaws.

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