As the TV market leans towards ever-bigger screens, the relatively small 32-inch market is undergoing a process of ever-increasing commoditisation.
By which I mean that more and more screens are focussing on cutting costs ahead of providing loads of features and high performance standards. Happily, though, Samsung's UE32H6200 is an exception to this rule – even if, ironically, this opens it up to price competition from some larger rivals.
Its exterior doesn't give much of a hint about the quality of its innards, mind you. It's a rather plasticky affair by Samsung's usually high build quality standards, and nor does it do much to differentiate itself from the masses with its combination of a metallic silver cross-shaped stand and plain black bezel.
Its connections provide more of a hint that the UE32H6200 has ambitions beyond the norm, though – particularly its provision of four HDMIs, three USBs, smart device screen mirroring support and LAN/integrated Wi-Fi options for streaming multimedia of almost any sort from DLNA-enabled devices or heading online with Samsung's new smart TV content platform.
This platform is also a significant attraction of the UE32H6200, predominantly because it manages to provide all four of the UK's main terrestrial broadcaster catch-up TV services (BBC IPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand 5) – a feat that currently only Panasonic can match with its new Freetime TVs.
Smart TV attractions
This sort of catch-up TV flexibility is especially useful, we've always felt, on relatively small screen TVs like the UE32H6200 that could well find themselves doing second-room duties in bedrooms, studies, kitchens and conservatories.
Other highlight services on the UE32H6200's Smart TV service include Netflix, Amazon Prime/instant, Blinkbox, Wuaki.tv and the British Film Institute's new movies-on-demand service.
Further notable attractions of Samsung's latest smart engine include a new hub screen devoted to games and apps, Samsung's impressively sophisticated recommendations engine (based on an on-going analysis of your viewing history), and an improved attempt to equalise different kinds of content in the content-finding process.
There remain some issues with the new Smart TV interface, as I'll discuss further in the usability section. But for the most part the UE32H6200's smart features are a considerable attraction at this level of the market – especially as they zip along thanks to the TV's quad-core processor.
The UE32H6200's pictures are unusually well specified for a 32-inch TV. There are an extremely comprehensive set of picture adjustments including white balance, gamma and colour management controls. The full HD panel also boasts a 200Hz-like motion handling system (unusual for such a small TV) and an active 3D playback system that can deliver full HD 3D pictures from 3D Blu-rays.
Unusually for Samsung the UE32H6200 doesn't ship with any free 3D glasses, making me question in all seriousness whether it truly deserves to call itself a 3D TV given that watching 3D without any such glasses is impossible.