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Samsung UNEH6000 review: Samsung UNEH6000

At nearly 4 inches deep, the Samsung EH6000 series defies the conventional definition of LED TV, but it also costs less than Samsung's thinner sets.

David Katzmaier

David Katzmaier

Editorial Director -- TVs and streaming

David has reviewed TVs, streaming services, streaming devices and home entertainment gear at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."

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3 min read

Since Samsung itself widely introduced edge-lit LED TVs in 2009, the phrase "LED TV" has meant "thinner" to the majority of TV shoppers. This year Samsung and other TV makers are marketing LED TVs that are just as chunky as the non-LED-based LCD TVs of yore, and cheaper than their edge-lit counterparts -- which Samsung is now calling "Slim LED TV."


Samsung UNEH6000

The Good

The <b>Samsung UNEH6000 series</b> costs less than some other TVs that use LED backlights. Its color accuracy, video processing, and bright-room picture are very good, and it has better screen uniformity than many edge-lit LED models. I liked the thin frame around the screen, and didn't mind the cabinet's extra thickness.

The Bad

Lighter black levels hamper the EH6000's picture quality compared with many TVs, including less expensive models. Its connectivity suite is anemic with just two HDMI inputs, and at this price numerous TVs offer apps and Smart TV functions that this Samsung doesn't.

The Bottom Line

Although it's cheaper than Samsung's ultrathin edge-lit models, the EH6000 series's value proposition is hurt by mediocre picture quality.

Confused customers will probably be scratching their heads at the 3.7-inch-thick profile of the EH6000 series, wondering how it deserves to be called an LED TV. The salesman will explain that it uses LEDs arranged in a full array behind the screen, as opposed to crammed along the edge. That's true. At that point he might even try to tell the customer that since it's LED, it has a better picture than a standard LCD TV. That's not necessarily true, and never was.

The Samsung EH6000 does have a thinner frame around the picture than any non-LED TV, lending it a nice minimalist look, but its picture quality is just decent -- no better than the company's non-LED TVs from last year, and worse in some areas. It is a lot cheaper than its edge-lit Samsung brethren, however, so it might appeal to value-conscious buyers, especially in smaller screen sizes where plasma and better LED TVs like the Sharp LC-LE640U series don't compete.

Samsung UNEH6000 (pictures)

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Series information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the 46-inch Samsung UN46EH6000, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. All sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Models in series (details)
Samsung UN40EH6000 40 inches
Samsung UN46EH6000 (reviewed) 46 inches
Samsung UN50EH6000 50 inches
Samsung UN55EH6000 55 inches
Samsung UN60EH6000 60 inches
Samsung UN65EH6000 65 inches

Seen from the front, the UNEH6000 looks much like any newer LED TV: a very thin frame around the image and everything in glossy black. Extra adornments are almost nonexistent and I like it that way. Too bad the stand doesn't swivel.

Seen from the side, however, the set's "full-array" heritage is obvious. Its panel measures 3.7 inches deep -- compared with 1.9 inches for the edge-lit UNES6500, for example. I say, "Who cares," although some TV buyers do value thinness, apparently.

The EH6000 gets the older, transparent Samsung menu, which I actually prefer to the newer rounded, blue, opaque version. It's easy enough to navigate and I appreciated the explanations accompanying menu terms. The onscreen user manual and help section found on higher-end Samsungs goes missing, although there is a basic "HD Connection Guide."

The pipsqueak remote tries to pack too many similarly sized and shaped keys onto its truncated surface, but at least there's full backlighting. I'd trade it in for decent spacing between the buttons, however.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Key TV features
Display technology LCD LED backlight Full-array
Screen finish Matte Remote Standard
Smart TV No Internet connection N/A
3D technology N/A 3D glasses included N/A
Refresh rate(s) 120Hz Dejudder (smooth) processing Yes
DLNA-compliant No USB Photo/Music/Video

Samsung's full-array backlight system uses fewer LEDs than full-array systems on higher-end local-dimming TVs, and fewer even than edge-lit models. The paucity of actual LEDs allows Samsung and other makers of new full-array sets like the EH6000 to charge less than for other kinds of LED TVs. Check out my primer on LED backlights for more and Samsung's full 2012 TV lineup to see which model uses which technology.

The UNEH6000's biggest step-up feature over the UNEH5000 series is a 120Hz refresh rate, which joins backlight scanning to earn the company's "Clear Motion Rate" of 240. Don't be misled, though: this is a 120Hz panel, not 240Hz. As a 120Hz set, the EH600 also gets Samsung's dejudder processing.

This otherwise basic set skips extras like Smart TV and 3D. There's no Ethernet connection for DLNA access to files on a network, although the TV will play back photo, video, and music files via its USB port.

Picture settings: The UNEH6000 offers ample control for a midlevel TV, getting a two-point grayscale system, five gamma choices, and the ability to adjust dejudder. I didn't really miss having a 10-point grayscale adjustment since the two-pointer worked very well, but I would have liked it to have Samsung's great color management system.

Connectivity: Samsung really cut corners here, giving the EH6000 a mere two HDMI inputs. That covers a cable box and a game console, for example -- if you want to connect more stuff like a Roku or a PC via HDMI, you may have to buy an external switch.

Picture quality
In picture quality, the EH6000 falls short of many LED and a few non-LED TVs we've tested, displaying a lighter shade of black and poor off-angle viewing. However its color is quite accurate, video processing is solid, and it showed better uniformity across the screen than many of its edge-lit counterparts. I also appreciated its matte screen finish in brighter rooms.

Click the image below to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV's picture controls worked during calibration.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Comparison models (details)
Samsung LN46D630 46-inch LCD
Samsung UN46D6400 46-inch edge-lit LED
TCL L40FHDF12TA 40-inch LCD
Panasonic TC-P50UT50 50-inch plasma
Sharp LC-60LE640U 60-inch LED
Samsung PN59D7000 (reference) 59-inch plasma

Black level: The UNEH6000's shade of black was lighter (worse) than that of any other TV in our lineup outside the TCL. In the black areas and letterbox bars of dark scenes, like the Central Park nighttime metal detector hunt from "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" (5:50), both of the other Samsung LCDs -- including the edge-lit UND6400 and the CCFL-based LND630 -- were visibly superior, as was the Sharp. The plasmas, as expected, looked better still.

Shadow detail was mostly hit with the occasional miss. The checks on Oskar's shirt in that scene, as well as the shadows on his jacket, looked as natural as on any of the sets in the room if you ignored the lighter black levels. On the other hand, in even darker scenes, like the pan over the trees a bit earlier (5:25), details like the darkest leaves and branches were invisible; again only the TCL's shadows looked less natural.

Beyond those light blacks, the UNEH6000 has another issue. Its backlight also had an annoying tendency to flash on and off when displaying a black screen, an issue that was distracting to say the least when it happened in the middle of watching a movie. I saw such flashes at 12:10 in "I Am Legend" when Robert closes up his house, for example, and I'm sure they'll also appear in other midmovie fades to black.

Color accuracy: This category was definitely the UNEH6000's main strength. Its accuracy came closest to the color reference among the TVs in our lineup in both brighter scenes, like Oskar's interaction with his father in the shop (6:35) and the faces of the schoolkids heading home (9:48), and in darker ones. Its advantage in maintaining proper saturation in dimmer scenes over the non-LED LND630 was particularly obvious at 11:50, where Oskar's shadowed face looked much too ruddy on the LND630 and quite natural on the EH6000.

As usual for a TV with light black levels, however, saturation and richness on the EH6000 was subpar in comparison, so despite their accuracy, colors weren't as pleasing to watch as on the better displays.

As usual for an LCD TV, the EH6000's color near black got significantly bluer than on the plasmas, and its lighter black levels exacerbated the visibility of the color shift. Only the TCL's black bars and deep shadows looked less accurate.

Video processing: The UNEH6000 series has most of the same processing options found on higher-end Samsungs, and when it comes to dejudder it offers more adjustability than the competition. Its three dejudder presets -- Clear, Standard, and Smooth -- join a Custom setting under the Auto Motion Plus (AMP) menu. Engaging Standard and Smooth introduces the characteristic smoothing effect, as well as some artifacts, so I preferred the freedom of Custom.

That mode, which includes a Blur Reduction and a Judder Reduction setting, lets you tweak both parameters to your liking. I prefer minimal dejudder, but having the option to dial in as much or as little as you like is very welcome.

In the AMP menu at Custom with Judder Reduction at 0 and Blur Reduction at 10, the UNEH6000 offers the best of both worlds. It turned in its full-motion resolution and handled 1080p/24 properly. With AMP set to Clear or Off, the set seemed to be treating the image with 2:3 pull-down, showing the slightly stuttering cadence seen on 60Hz models. The other AMP settings introduced more smoothing/dejudder.

Unlike some Samsung TVs the UNEH6000 failed to properly deinterlace a 1080i signal no matter which Film mode setting I used, so you may see some minor artifacts in film-based TV material at that resolution.

I measured much better motion resolution (1,080 lines versus about 600) when I turned on the backlight scanning feature, labeled LED Motion Plus. Unfortunately doing so dimmed the picture too much, so I left it off. As usual I had difficulty discerning any difference in motion resolution with program material, as opposed to test patterns, regardless of the setting I chose.

Uniformity: My UNEH6000 review sample didn't suffer from brightness variations across the screen. In test patterns the sides appeared a bit brighter than the middle, and the bottom edge was brighter still, but these issues were invisible in most program material. I did notice some very faint backlight structure that looked like vertical bands in flat fields, such as the blue sky behind the opening scene from "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," but again it was quite minor.

On the other hand, the EH6000's fidelity from off-angle was among the worst in the lineup. It lost color and black-level fidelity rapidly when seen from just a seat cushion to either side of the sweet spot in the middle of the screen. The other LCDs weren't great either, but even the lowly TCL looked slightly better from off-angle than did the Samsung UNEH6000.

Bright lighting: I appreciated the matte screen in bright lighting since it reduced reflections much better than the glossy finish on the Panasonic plasma and the Samsung UND6400. Compared with the other LCDs, which all have matte screens, reflections were a tad brighter on the UNEH6000. The UNEH6000 also preserved black levels better than the Panasonic and worse than the UND6400; there was little difference I could discern between it and the other matte LCDs in this area.

Power consumption: I was curious whether the full-array LED lighting scheme affected power use compared with other backlight designs, namely edge-lit LED and CCFL, and the answer is "not much." As you can see below, like-size Samsungs used about as much juice regardless of backlight scheme, and while edge-lit LEDs from a couple of other brands were a bit more efficient, it only amounts to a few bucks per year. [(The wattage and dollar amounts apply only to the 46-inch size in the series.)

Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.01 Average
Avg. gamma 2.12 Good
Near-black x/y (5%) 0.2594/0.2701 Poor
Dark gray x/y (20%) 0.3122/0.3294 Good
Bright gray x/y (70%) 0.3131/0.329 Good
Before avg. color temp. 6763 Poor
After avg. color temp. 6479 Good
Red lum. error (de94_L) 0.5973 Good
Green lum. error (de94_L) 3.8401 Poor
Blue lum. error (de94_L) 1.865 Average
Cyan hue x/y 0.2309/0.3323 Good
Magenta hue x/y 0.3188/0.1514 Good
Yellow hue x/y 0.4232/0.501 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
1080i Deinterlacing (film) Fail Poor
Motion resolution (max) 1080 Good
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 1080 Good

Juice box
Samsung UN46EH6000 Picture settings
Default Calibrated Power save
Picture on (watts) 53.227 77.421 30.25
Picture on (watts/sq. inch) 0.06 0.04 0.03
Standby (watts) 0.17 0.17 0.17
Cost per year $11.80 $17.11 $6.77
Score (considering size) Good
Score (overall) Good

Annual energy consumption cost after calibration

Samsung UN46EH6000 CNET review calibration results


Samsung UNEH6000

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 6Value 6
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