Samsung UN32H5500 LCD TV Review

Calibration Details

Pre-calibration the Movie mode in the Samsung UN32H5500 is very accurate. With the Warm 2 color temperature preset and adjusting the contrast and brightness correctly, you get a very good image. As with all our reviews, we aim for a light output of 35-40fL on a TV for a moderately dark room and use CalMAN software with a i1Pro and C6 meters and either an AJA T-Tap or DVDO AVLabTPG pattern generator. Our targets are the Rec. 709 HDTV colorspace and the BT. 1886 gamma formula.

The largest flaw in the Samsung UN32H5500 pre-calibration image is the 100% grayscale reading. Contrast is set to maximum here as it doesn’t clip the 235 value, but it does introduce a red tint at the very top. This is because past 90 the LCD panel runs out of blue and adds this tint. If you dig deeper into the numbers you’ll see that only 100% white has an error above a dE2000 value of 3.0 in saturations, and only a couple of the color checker values approach 3.0 as well. So while there are some errors, they really all fall below the visible level of 3.0 and you probably won’t notice them.

The default gamma is very close to 2.2 and taking it down one step gets it very close to 2.4. BT. 1886 isn’t available but 2.4 tracks it closely except from 0% to 10% where BT. 1886 works very differently. You can’t dial in the BT. 1886 gamma without a 10-point white balance either, so this preset is what we use.

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Pre-Calibration Measurements courtesy of CalMAN

The only calibration controls used here are a 2-point grayscale, gamma, color and tint. The reason the contrast ratio drops is that we have to reduce the contrast control to not clip blue to properly use the 2-point white balance control. Doing so we get a grayscale dE2000 average that is better, but not remarkably so. It is also not so much better that I would ever spend the money to have this display calibrated. The color and tint controls help a slight bit as well, with the saturations error level falling in half, but it was already well below the visible level. The color checker values, which I consider much more important for real-world use, stay basically the same.

Without a full 10-point white balance control, or Hue, Saturation and Lightness controls for the color points, it is really hard to improve upon the pre-calibration numbers. Thankfully those are already very good, so there really isn’t much reason to bother. You can just pull the Samsung UN32H5500 out of the box, select the movie mode, and be happy. Just use a disc like World of Wonder to get the basic controls set correctly.

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Post-Calibration Measurements courtesy of CalMAN

Video processing works well, with both 3-2 film content and 60i HDTV content being deinterlaced correctly. The scaler works fine with 720p content by not introducing jaggies as well. For gamers you have a dedicated game mode that has only 33ms of input lag using the Leo Bodnar Lag Tester. If you use the calibrated movie mode you have 50ms of lag, which isn’t awful either.

Calibration Summary
Measurement Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Contrast Ratio: 2561:1 2118:1
White Level: 38.1 fL 36.5 fL
Black Level: 0.0149 fL 0.0172 fL
Gamma Point: 2.43 2.46
Average Grayscale dE2000: 1.93 1.26
Average Saturations dE2000: 1.99 1.00
Average Color Checker dE2000: 2.1 2.0
Summary: There is no reason to pay for a calibration on the Samsung UN32H5500. The Movie mode is very accurate out of the box, and 95% of the improvements are from setting the Contrast, Brightness, Color and Tint correctly. All of this can be done with a test disc for $15-20 and you can enjoy a very good image.

  • I haven’t used the H5203 so I really don’t know. Given that the main difference seems to be the software and not the panel, it is probably fine to save money and go with the H5203 but as I said, I can’t be sure.