How to buy the best Samsung TV

We run you through the main features of each Samsung TV series

Korean LCD, LED and plasma TV manufacturer Samsung makes an entire range of TVs, from small-screen cheap TVs to huge plasma and LED TV behemoths, as well as 3D TVs. You can buy one for as little as a few hundred dollars, all the way up to $10,000.

Some new, very shiny Samsung TV models are coming out in the next few months, which means prices for the company's current line-up should take a nosedive. We don't expect any huge improvements or groundbreaking feature changes, so if you can snap a cheap deal, go for it.

Check out what we thought were the best TVs of 2010 (hint: Samsung makes a couple of appearances).

Read our LCD vs LED vs plasma TV buying guide.

Samsung Series 3

Samsung's Series 3 is the cheapest range of TVs from the company, and only includes a single, 19in LCD TV model. The $349 Series 3 TV doesn't have any of the bells and whistles you'll find in a more expensive LED or plasma screen. It's not Full HD either, with a 1366x768 resolution and no 100Hz motion smoothing.

Samsung Series 4

Samsung's Series 4 TVs include plasma, LED and LCD models. The LCD models are cheapest, with 22in, 26in and 32in TVs ranging from $499 to $649. Series 4 LED TVs are available in the same sizes, with prices ranging from $649 to $949. The range includes two plasma TVs (42in and 50in), which can be bought for $949 and $1149. The 50in Series 4 is the cheapest big-screen Samsung plasma you can buy, while the 42in is also a good mid-sized purchase.

Samsung Series 4 TVs have USB 2.0 ports for playing back music, photos and movies, as well as HDMI-CEC — a feature that lets you control other Samsung devices like Blu-ray players or home theatres using your Samsung TV remote control. These Series 4 TVs aren't Full HD, so if you want an excellent picture you'll need to spend a bit more money.

Samsung Series 5

There are five models in each of Samsung's LED and LCD Series 5 ranges, as well as a 50in Series 5 plasma. The Samsung Series 5 LCD TVs are still cheap, ranging from a $799 for a 32in TV to $1399 for a 46in panel, while the 32in, 37in 40in and 46in LED TVs range in price from $1099 to $2399. The 50in Samsung Series 5 plasma is a steal at $1599.

Samsung's Series 5 models are all Full HD TVs, so their 1080p resolution allows the playback of Blu-ray movies at their highest quality level. All TVs have USB ports and Ethernet ports for Samsung's AllShare service, which lets you view movies that are stored on your PC or laptop (once set up) — the Series 5 50in plasma TV also has wireless networking built in. You also get four HDMI ports so multiple digital video devices can be connected simultaneously.

Samsung Series 6

Samsung's Series 6 is the company's mainstream TV range, with seven LCD, six LED and two plasma TVs. Again, the LCDs, and the series includes a 55in and a 60in. LCD prices range from $1049 to $3299. The Series 6 LED TVs are more expensive compared to LCD televisions of teh same size, with a 32in screen priced at $1299 and a 60in screen for $4699. The 50in and 58in plasmas cost $1899 and $2699 — again, excellent prices for two large screens.

Samsung's Series 6 models include Internet@TV, the Samsung range of Web-enabled applications like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, streaming video on demand and other frivolities to waste your time with. The TVs also have thinner panels and more attractive bezel designs and materials than cheaper Samsung TVs. Series 6 models are 100Hz compatible (LED and LCD models, at least; plasma TVs are naturally good at displaying motion) which means motion appears smoother and cleaner than on cheaper Samsung TVs.

Samsung Series 7

We think that Samsung's Series 7 TV series offers a good compromise between price, features and picture quality. The series includes Samsung's top LCD and plasma TVs are available in; the 50in Samsung Series 7 (PS58C7000) 3D plasma TV is one of the best TVs we've tested, and was our top TV for 2010. You can pick up LCD, LED and plasma models for prices from $2299 for a 40in LED model to $4499 for a 63in plasma.

All of Samsung's Series 7 TVs can display video in 3D — this is the most important differentiator between them and cheaper models. They can display motion clearly thanks to a 200Hz refresh rate on the LED and LCD models. All the usual AllShare, Internet@TV, USB and other malarkey is included, but if you're looking to join the 3D revolution this is the place to start. Check whether the TV comes with 3D glasses included, and see if you can get a deal where a 3D Blu-ray player and some 3D movies are bundled.

Samsung Series 8

There are only three Series 8 TVs available, and they are only LED models — the big 46in, huge 55in and gargantuan 65in. The TVs are priced at $3799, $5299 and $6999, respectively.

The Samsung Series 8 LED TVs are, in our humble opinion, more stylish than the Series 7 TVs, but the big difference is in picture quality. Series 8 models have ‘local dimming', an LED TV feature that boosts on-screen contrast by dimming LEDs in dark sections of the screen but not bright sections. It's the same concept that gives plasma TVs excellent black levels but simultaneously bright whites. Series 8 models also let you use the TV as a PVR, by plugging in a USB stick to record digital TV.

Samsung Series 9

The Samsung Series 9 LED TV is the Main Event — it's the most expensive LED TV Samsung has ever produced, and it's packed full of the coolest features. The series only includes a single, 55in TV, and it costs a wallet-mutilating $10,000.

If you want to learn all about the Series 9 we'd suggest you read our Samsung Series 9 LED TV review. Here are some features we thought were pretty cool: 200Hz motion smoothing; a colour, touchscreen remote control; LED local dimming; Full HD 3D playback; an LED panel that's 7.98mm thin. If you've got money to burn, why not?

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Campbell Simpson

Campbell Simpson

PC World
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