Review: A Clear Display From Samsung

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Interest in the digital signage market is surging and display vendors are paying attention. The Test Center received a 460DX large format display from Samsung.

With a 46-inch screen size, the 460DX can be used in video walls of up to 25 displays in a 5x5 matrix. The video wall can be in two modes " full or natural. The full mode has the video wall ignore the cabinet bezel and just display the image across the screens. The natural mode allows the user to adjust the video wall image on each screen to take into account placement and hardware. The customer doesn't need to get an additional device to distribute the input signal to create the video wall -- the 460DX can do it all.

The 460DX offers 720p source resolution (1366 x 768) and includes a range of video inputs, including AV, S-Video, Component, and HDMI. The rear panel has ports for DVI-HDCP, RGB input and output, Component (separate for BNC and RCA) video inputs, RCA audio line-in, Composite video/audio (RCA) input and output, and S-Video input. There are also two serial ports on the back.

While the type of connectors is nicely varied, it is a bit problematic that they are all in the back. Having front connectors would be helpful for customers interested in mounting this unit on the wall.

Video on this screen is vivid and bright. The text is sharp. The viewing angle is at 178 degrees for this screen. While viewing a high-definition movie on a Blu-Ray disk, the picture was sharp and no streaks were visible. The Digital Natural Image engine optimizes motion to remove blur and color to bring out fine details. DNIe also enhances sharpness and contrast. The various Magic presets, such as Magic Rotation, Magic Contrast (crisp images), Magic Color, and Magic Speed (8ms) present a crisp and clear image on the screen.

There is a lot of control over the display, such as selecting the input source, power consumption, and types of image settings to be used. Samsung includes Picture in Picture and Picture by Picture functions that allow images from different sources to be displayed at the same time. The display can also be locked to enable or disable the remote control signal. There's also a status view to see whether the display is properly communicating with the content server as well as specific information for the screen.

Samsung bundles the free MagicInfo digital signage software with the 460DX. The software is installed on a single server and it distributes, manages, and monitors all the content for multiple screens. There is no need to have a dedicated PC for each display. This centralizes management and also makes it easy to expand the digital sign network.

MagicInfo is easy to use, with very well-laid out menus and a click-point-drag interface that simplifies creating schedules for pushing content to the screens. At the time pre-defined using the three-step scheduler tool (that resembles a timeline), MagicInfo transmits files on the server directly to the screen over the LAN. MagicInfo can handle different files for each screen, as well, so each display can show unique content, all from one interface.

MagicInfo can also support remote management, and control multiple displays over the WAN.

Unlike displays from other vendors, the screen can be rotated 90 degrees into portrait mode using the pivot function. The anti-glare coating makes the screen usable even in bright settings and Samsung has built in protection against screen burns.

While smaller than some other displays the Test Center has reviewed this year, the 460DX stands on its own. The colors are bright, and the screen size is a good fit for customers considering investment in digital signs. While it is available as a tabletop unit, a wall-mounting kit is available. Any third-party installation company can mount these approximately 60-pound screens using the kit. Prices are reasonable for this screen size, with street prices of about $2,399.

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