The 2008 HDTV Technology Face Off Samsung HL-T6187S LED DLP RPTV

Samsung HL-T6187S LED DLP RPTV

LEDs are the future. It's not the future.

We were used to Samsung winning, or at least coming close to winning, Face Offs. Well, not so much this time. Using LEDs instead of the old-school UHP lamps, the HL-T6187S is at the cutting edge of RPTV design. But in the end, it has to be judged as a TV, not as a tech demo. And judged it was, dead last. The measurements tell part of the story.

Not So Black
The HL-T6187S had the worst on-screen full-on/full-off contrast ratio of 1,082:1. Worse, it had the lowest ANSI contrast ratio of 243:1. Sure, RPTVs tend to have poor ANSI contrast ratios, but both of the other RPTVs here were higher. It was bright, but not the brightest. It also had, by far, the highest black level at 0.095 foot-lamberts. The color points, like those of just about all of the recent Samsung displays, are accurate, but the gray-scale tracking is quite poor on the low end. All of this explains why this display didn't rank higher, but it doesn't fully explain why it was last. Within seconds of looking at this TV, that reason becomes obvious.

The largest issue with this TV was its screen. All RPTVs have a screen that focuses the light from the light engine (and mirror) and directs it toward the seating area. Think of a lighthouse. Not a lot of light goes up and down (where it's not needed), but most of it focuses in a tight beam. If RPTVs didn't do this, they would look exceedingly dim. Too much, though, causes issues, all of which this TV had. The most noticeable was a hot spot in the middle of the screen, meaning the center of the screen appeared noticeably brighter than the rest. More than a few inches away from the dead center of the screen, the brightness dropped off considerably; and worse, the color temperature changed drastically and noticeably. Every reviewer noticed this and questioned if there was something wrong with the TV. There wasn't. In fact, dead center, this was one of the most accurate TVs in the Face Off—so long as you didn't move your head (or your eyes).

There were also significant internal reflections that caused a few bright spots on the screen. These spots were highly distracting for some of the judges. Again, all RPTVs have this problem to some extent; however, it was worse here. There were also HDMI issues that none of the other displays in this Face Off showed. While this didn't affect the ranking, it did affect the build-quality rating.

Sure, the HL-T6187S uses new technology, but when it comes down to it, that doesn't matter. It just doesn't look as good as the other products in its price range. LEDs offer a host of potential benefits; but for now, the trade-off for not replacing a bulb seems to be at the expense of overall picture quality. Samsung makes a lot of great-looking displays. This isn't one of them.

• Component and HDMI both accept 1080p
• Ummm. . ..

At A Glance: Samsung HL-T6187S LED DLP RPTV:

Screen Size (diagonal, inches): 61
Native Resolution: 1,920 by 1,080
Dimensions (H x W x D, inches): 37.6 x 54.7 x 15.4
Weight (pounds): 74.7
Price: $2,500

Video: HDMI (3), RGB-PC (1), component video (2), S-video (2-shared), compo- site video (2-shared)
Audio: Stereo analog (5), mini-plug stereo (1)
Video: Composite video (1)
Audio: Stereo analog (1)
Additional: RS-232 (1), 3D sync out

HT Labs Measures: Samsung HL-T6187S LED DLP RPTV

Full-On/Full-Off Contrast Ratio—1,082:1; ANSI Contrast Ratio—243:1

Measured Resolution with the Leader LT-446:
480: 480 (per picture height)
720p: 720 (pph)
1080i: 1080 (pph)

DC Restoration (poor, average, good, excellent): Excellent

Color Decoder (poor, average, good, excellent): Good

Measured Color Points:
Red Color Point: x=0.640, y=0.331
Green Color Point: x=0.299, y=0.607
Blue Color Point: x=0.150, y=0.062

The top chart shows the HL-T6187S's gray scale relative to its color temperature at various levels of intensity, or brightness (20 IRE is dark gray; 100 IRE is bright white). The gray scale as set by the factory, in the Warm2 color-temperature mode and the Movie picture mode, measures very warm with dark images, cool with lower midtones, but then close to accurate with brighter images. After making adjustments using the Photo Research PR-650, the gray scale measures slightly better, although the dip in the low end remains.

The bottom chart shows the gray scale (or color temperature) relative to the color points of the display's red, green, and blue LEDs. In the sRGB Color Gamut mode, the color points are almost exactly those specified by SMPTE. Red and blue are pretty much spot on. Green is very slightly oversaturated.

After calibration, and using a full-field 100-IRE white (102.8 foot-lamberts) and a full-field 0-IRE black (0.095 ft-L), the contrast ratio was 1,082:1. Using a 16-box checkerboard pattern (ANSI contrast), the contrast ratio was 243:1.—GM

Ratings: Samsung HL-T6187S LED DLP RPTV

Build Quality: 79 Poor

Value: 84 Below Average

Features: 90 Good

Performance: 75 Poor

Ergonomics: 87 Average

Overall Rating: 81 Below Average

General Information
HL-T6187S LED DLP RPTV, $2,500