Samsung's Iris

In the February issue, the Samsung HL-S6188W was derided, and rightly so, for it’s staggering light output of almost 170 ft-Lamberts. For a 61-inch display, this is way to bright to watch in a dark room. It’s the kind of light output that hurts, literally.

I mentioned in the article that buried in the service menu there was a way too enable an iris. We didn’t review it this way in the magazine because I don’t think it was fair to assume that every ISF calibrator would know how to do this (though by comparison it is fair to assume that they will know how to calibrate the grayscale on every TV). The fact that there is an iris, but there isn’t a control for it in the user menu is a conundrum that is above my ability to figure out. So we tested this iris, and it certainly works.

There are only two settings for the iris, on and off. Default, as you can imagine, is off. On drops the light output by half. The contrast ratio essentially stays the same, but now instead of 158 ft-Lamberts (what we measured this week now that it has many more hours on its lamp), it drops by more than half to 77.06 ft-Lamberts. This is still bright, but lacks the pop that you would expect if you’re used to this TV in its brighter mode. That said, if you watch this TV in a dark room, it’s well worth it, not least for the drop in black level that also goes down by half.

In reality of the article, it doesn’t matter that the TV does this, as it wouldn’t have affected its ranking one bit. But if you want to get a highly accurate TV, and one that doesn’t blow you out of the room, this TV can give you both. Unfortunately, you have to choose between the two settings, as there is no easy way to switch between them.

How to do it
I will not tell you how to get into the service menu, so don’t even ask. I don’t care if this annoys you. One way to look at this is “plausible deniability” another is “lack of liability.” If you screw up your TV, it’s your own fault. So when your ISF calibrator is at your house calibrating this TV, or you’ve found the codes to screw it up yourself, this is how you enable the iris:

Under the “SP Actuator” section of the service menu, turn “DB On/Off” to Off. Then in the same section of menu, scroll down to the now available “DB Aperture” setting. Set this to “Close.” It’s that easy.

Feel free to make fun of me for my paranoia about end users using the service menu, but remember that anyone can post the service codes on a website, and not get blamed for you making your set unwatchable (and losing your warrantee). If I print it, on the other hand, it’s my ass. So otherwise… have fun!

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COMMENTS
Bruce's picture
Bob Grant's picture

Bruce - Thanks for the AVS link. After reading way to many posts, there seems to be alot of interest in the forum for the LED based Samsung sets. I recall reading a review in HT magazine or one of the others that was not to flattering of the 1st gen Samsung LED sets. I'll have to dig it up and see what was written. Hopefully, Geoff will review the new gen Samsung sets in the May timeframe.

Moe's picture

So, you won't tell me how to turn on the iris via the service menue and even if I have an ISF tech come in, he may not know to do it. Brilliant. I accept the former but find the latter unacceptable. Would a tech charge more $$ over an above the standard calibration to turn on the iris? Presumably yes.

By Paul F.'s picture

Geoffrey- I just got samsungs HLS56. The problem I'm having even after calibration is that it seems as though I'm looking @ it through a dirty screen protector lots of shadowing. Had a tech. come out 2 look @ it & he told me after a few service menu adjustments that there was nothing wrong with it. Same result even on HD channels & DVD's but not so much on HDDVD. Can I fix this myself ? Or do I have 2 find someone else 2 take care of this?

Bruce's picture

With my Samsung 5088:1. After 300-400 hrs. the light output droped that I never had to use the 'Movie" mode setting again. Durning the day, I now use the 'Dynamic' setting. I never found this set as bright as you guys claimed.2. In the 'Dynamic' mode the lamps output does increase by 10 watts (measured by a AC watt meter), the increased output of the lamp can be seen behind the set due to all the light leakage. This is terrible and worse than other designs which wasn't mentioned in the review,3. You never test the absolute most basic function of any TV, the internal tuner. What, you don't watch OTA?? How can you NOT test the tuner(s)? DVDs' are a option. In this country OTA is what it's about. Not everyone has HD DVD players (or wants them until they can record). Almost everyone can access at least one OTA digital station, and it's free! You need to change your thinking on this.4. How about measuring AC current draw. A $20 'Kill-a-Watt' meter

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