Samsung LN-T4681FX LED Backlight 46in. 1080P HDTV - Setup, Installation and Construction

Article Index
Samsung LN-T4681FX LED Backlight 46in. 1080P HDTV
Setup, Installation and Construction
Subjective and Objective Testing
Viewing Angle, Gaming and Conclusion

Setup & Installation:

The setup and installation was a breeze.   The unit comes packaged with the TV (of course) the remote, a power cable, and a manual.  To get up and running you will need some cables. Here’s a small tip for you. If you are only doing short runs get a cheaper cable.  Buying some expensive monster-whatever cable won’t improve your picture over a short run (< 15 feet).  There are plenty of good quality cables that won’t break the bank. Most of the cost of the expensive stuff is markup anyways.  Trust me; I do backend programming for a retail company.  Anyways, this TV comes with a wide range of inputs to cope with almost any device that you could care to plug into it.  Let’s take a look at these inputs for a minute.

Inputs on the Back
Inputs on the Back

 

First we have two sets of component video inputs.  These are probably the most widely used High Definition (HD) inputs at the time of this article.  A lot of the older DVD player and other set top boxes will use a component video cable to carry their signal.  In addition to the component inputs we have three HDMI inputs.  HDMI is a newer standard than component and uses a digital signal as opposed to analog.  That being said, digital is not always better and you would probably be hard pressed to notice a difference between a 1080p signal from component and one from HDMI.  The main differences would start to make themselves known as you get into larger cable runs.  However HDMI does have an important advantage especially for HD equipment manufacturers and broadcasters in that you can copy protect a signal that is transmitted over HDMI.  It’s always about control.  In this case the broadcaster wants to control you – the viewer – and make sure that you are not copying that HD movie you are watching. (You wouldn’t do that now would you?)  If you aren’t using HDMI you have a very good chance that your HD player will downscale the content you are watching to a much less impressive level.  All in all HDMI is a very good thing to have.  I did come across one small anomaly while using the HDMI inputs on this unit to connect a Playstation 3.  I was unable to use the HDMI signal from the PS3 unless it was connected to HDMI port 1 on the TV.  The manual has this to say about HDMI port 1.

“When using an HDMI/DVI cable connection, you must use the HDMI IN 1 jack.” 

 

DVI and HDMI are very close in terms of their format, but something is different enough that Samsung only chose to implement this functionality on HDMI port 1.  This probably won’t concern you very much, however if you are thinking about hooking both your Home Theatre PC (HTPC) and your PS3 (or Xbox360 HDMI) at the same time, you may run into some problems.  There is a VGA port for connecting your PC to this display but as in previous models this port is very limited.  The only widescreen resolution that is supported is 1920x1080 and that could pose a problem if you are trying to play a game using your PC. We will take a look later on and see how well the PC performs when connected through the HDMI port. Moving away from HD video in the realm of CV (interpret as you will) you will find this unit sporting both composite and S-video inputs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svideo While these input methods are terribly dated, you may still need them if you have an elderly VCR requesting some attention.  Just bear in mind that a composite signal blown up to 46” will look like something your neighbor’s dog left on your lawn yesterday.   That wraps up the inputs in regards to a video signal. Whoops, I forgot, there are also jacks for hooking up to an analog cable service or some fancy Rabbit Ears.

There are also plenty of other inputs for getting sound in and out of this TV.  While most people will not be using the built-in speakers on a TV of this size an occasional few people probably will.  The optical audio output could also come in handy if you are transmitting sound to the TV through an HDMI cable and you want a way to separate that audio signal so that it can go to your Home Theatre amplifier.

There are plenty of features that Samsung shares across its TV line and one of these is the ability to plug a flash drive into the unit to view pictures and listen to music.  I found this feature to be handy but only in a limited sort of way.  Most people that purchase a TV this large will have a sophisticated set-top box that plays media or an equally capable home theatre PC that could handle this functionality with much more aplomb.  I do have to give credit to Samsung for making this feature quite easy to navigate and use.

 

Construction:

As per usual I have to give Samsung full points for the design and build quality of this unit.  Of special aesthetic interest is the main power button which is not really a button at all but a long touch sensitive switch with a blue strip LED. To activate it you simply touch the plastic in the general area of the switch and “poof” the TV turns on.  While this may prove to be only mildly amusing to an adult with an average IQ, it is intensely fascinating to a child.  We have friends with a young child and they were over for dinner one night.  During the course of the evening I think she must have turned it on and off at least 30 times.  Perhaps a locking feature might be order in the next revision.

Eden And The TV
Eden And The TV

 

I do have one caveat about the construction though.  Samsung has been known recently for switching the LCD panels around in the models they sell.  As you can see from picture of the back sticker, this is an “S” model.  The things that you read about this TV in the rest of this review are applicable to the “S” model but they may not be true if you get a different panel.   Hopefully the day is coming soon when all Samsung models will meet the same quality control standards.

 Sticker Picture
Sticker Picture