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Samsung HLN617W 61-inch DLP Television Review

Samsung HLN617W 61-inch DLP Television Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Samsung was one of the first companies to jump into the DLP display market, which is based on Texas Instruments revolutionary HD-2 DLP micro device.
 92% Rating:   
Filed under: Home Theatre Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Samsung Oct 20 2004   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Home Theatre > Samsung HLN617W

Introduction to DLP

Digital Light Processing (DLP) is a product of the Texas Instruments laboratories, and is still fresh technology. The system was first used in digital theatre projectors, and has recently been finding its way into television sets over the last couple of years. Technically, televisions that use this technology are rear projection displays, in that light is passed through or reflected from a device that creates the picture before being cast onto the rear of the screen. In reality, DLP TVs are vastly different from any preceding projection methods.

A DLP HDTV contains one or more DMD (Digital Multi-mirror Device) chips as pictured here at right. These are solid-state microchips covered with an array of millions of tiny mirrors which move in response to the signal received by the chip. Light is shone onto the DMD from a projection lamp, and by varying the amount of light reflected by each micro-mirror, or blocking it, the chip can reflect a precise image onto the screen composed of up to 1024 shades of gray.

To generate the colour, the light from the lamp is passed through a rotating colour wheel before striking the chip. This produces a colour image on the screen with a colour density of up to 16 million shades. Since the colour comes from a single light source, convergence is a non-issue with this display technology.

A single DMD chip can produce more than 16 million colours, and systems with multiple chips are able to project far more by separating each primary colour - but as of yet, multi-DMD home systems are few and far between, and incredibly expensive. Future enhancements to the DLP system will bring more resolution and colours to single chip systems if the momentum for this technology remains constant.

DLP Consumables

Like other projection technologies, DLP sets do not suffer from the screen burn-in and fading issues that can plague big-screen plasma and CRT TVs.

While plasma screens have reported life spans of about three years, a DLP HDTV uses a projection lamp which will require replacement eventually. According to the manufacturer, lamp life should run in the 4000-8000 hour range, or 3+ years of normal use. A new lamp will run you around $200-$300 USD, which is certainly a lot less than replacing the entire screen as can be the case with a plasma TV.

The HLN617W is also user-serviceable in this regard. The manual includes detailed instructions for changing the lamp. As for whether the lamp's quality will deteriorate over time, opinions are mixed. Personally we can't see how it would, being that it is simply a high-end light bulb. The Samsung web site is of the same opinion.

The HLN617W's manual, on the other hand, states that "the lamp used in a projection TV has a limited life-span. For the best screen quality it needs to be replaced periodically" which sounds a little more ominous.

Rainbow Effects

If DLP has any disadvantages, it is the 'rainbow effect,' a visual appearance of colour breakup. This is an optical illusion created by the sequential updating of the colours on the screen by the rapidly rotating colour wheel. It can cause flashes of rainbow light in your peripheral vision when you switch your focus to a different part of the screen.

The effect is generally only noticeable in high-contrast scenes, and then only when you are looking for it. If you are aware of it though, it can become quite distracting. Some people are much more sensitive to the effect than others, but it is worth noting that this effect is not brought about by rapidly moving images on the screen itself - only when the user looks around the screen real estate rapidly. We'll talk about how the HLN617W performs in this regard in little later in the review.

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Contents of Article: Samsung HLN617W
 Pg 1.  Samsung HLN617W 61-inch DLP Television Review
 Pg 2.  — Introduction to DLP
 Pg 3.  Physical Attributes of the HLN617W
 Pg 4.  Audio and Video Inputs
 Pg 5.  On-Screen Menus and Settings
 Pg 6.  In use; HDTV, Gaming, and DVDs
 Pg 7.  In use - Computer Display
 Pg 8.  Sound, Tehchical Conclusions

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