Samsung LE40C650 review

Digital-savvy LCD TV with Freeview HD and great pictures

Samsung LE40C650
The quality styling of the LE40C650 belies its budget TV status amongst Samsung's TV lineup

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Samsung le40c650 side

Despite its multimedia skill, we're willing to bet that most buyers of the LE40C650 are after its Freeview HD tuner. Although a cinch to set-up and use, it didn't prove a very sensitive tuner during our test.

It tuned-in most channels but failed to pick-up the HD channels during the first scan. It later succeeded, but other (minor) digital TV channels didn't tune in completely and instead we were presented with a bizarre 'not for sale' message on channels it couldn't tune-in.

The set's eight-day electronic programme guide is stylishly presented with a Freeview HD logo above a small thumbnail of the current live TV channel. Alongside are programme details and a short synopsis, though the latter is only given one line – the 'info' button on the remote must be used to access the full synopsis.

With around a third of the screen's real estate already occupied, listings are set out below for just six channels over two hours, though it's possible to swap to an entire evening's schedules on a single channel.

Although the EPG can appear a little cluttered, the software is fast and responsive to commands from the remote control; changing to a different day and skipping between time periods takes place in a flash.
Press 'Content' on the remote and you're led to a screen that displays rolling icons for Internet@TV, Media Play, and AllShare (DLNA).

The latter is nicely presented and relatively reliable with music, photos and video, but as usual with DLNA offerings, Samsung's AllShare feature only worked with a PC during our test.

Media screen

The wallpaper of the Media Play home screen can be swapped and files read in simple folder view as well as by title, date etc, but it's the file support and performance that really impress. Only MP3 music files and JPEG photos are played, but video is exhaustive; DivX, DivX HD (MKV), MP4, MPEG, WMV and WMV HD (pictures only, no audio) are all played quickly and spotlessly.

While playing, files can be fast-forwarded/rewound in three speeds, though presentation of file lists isn't perfect; the software displays moving thumbnails of each video file in a list, though only after you've played them, which surely defeats the object.

As a default, the Internet@TV service is powered by the set's wired Ethernet LAN port, which does mean trailing a cable to the rear of the TV from your broadband router. If that's impractical, Samsung does make a wireless dongle available. The WIS-09ABGN costs around £40-£50 and plugs directly into one of the two USB ports.

Predictive text is new to Internet@TV, as is the dedicated and busy home screen that sees clutters of icons for each service. There's a useful window for either Blu-ray or live TV, though annoyingly Internet@TV itself shuts down and returns to that source if left untouched for a minute or so.

New for 2010 is Lovefilm, Twitter, Google maps and some on-demand History Channel programmes, with other apps available for YouTube, Picassa, AccuWeather, GettyImages and USA Today. There's also a host of minor apps such as Sudoku, Quizz Master and Texas Hold 'Em.

Samsung le40c650 remote

During our test we occasionally got a 'network interference' message despite using a 10-meg broadband line, but the main problem was speed – or lack of; the remote is slow to operate the home screen and this does hamper its attractiveness. Our main issue, though, is the lack of apps for on-demand TV hubs such as BBC iPlayer or the ITV Player.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),