Technically defined as LED-backlit LCD TVs, the fact that most of us know the latest flatscreen idea simply as “LED TVs” is largely down to brands like Samsung. But even though LED backlighting is merely an update to existing LCD TV technology, this 19-incher is proof that LED, as an idea, can be well worth its salt.
Samsung refers the thinner and cheaper Edge-lit LED array on the UE19C4000, the smallest of the Korean company’s Series 4. A “rose black” tint to an otherwise gloss black frame looks typically Samsung, though it’s a look that is beginning to look rather dated.
A smidgen less than 30mm in depth, the UE19C4000 fulfils its brief on that front, although the downside of that is the TV as a whole feels flimsy and prone to falling over despite its desktop stand.
The UE19C4000 does a great job as a digital TV for a bedroom or study. Saddled with an 8-day electronic programme guide that shows programme information for six channels at a time, the good-looking page includes a thumbnail of whatever live TV channel was previously being watched.
Responding fast to commands from the excellent remote, the Freeview offering is bolstered by a Common Interface slot, so a Top-Up TV viewing card can be added.
There’s no online dimension as found on high-end Samsung TVs, but the attractive GUI also hosts media player software for playing digital files from a USB memory stick or external hard drive. In our tests we managed to get every file we tried to play successfully - and that includes DivX HD video files in the MKV format.
Connections are a mixed bag, with two HDMI inputs the highlight (you’ll only find one on the vast majority of small LCD TVs). Elsewhere dedicated ins and outs have had to be replaced by adaptors to prevent - oh the horror - the UE19C4000 ballooning by a few millimetres. Still, Scart, Component video and Composite video are catered for, as are PC audio, analogue stereo audio and optical digital audio for hooking-up the UE19C4000 to a separate sound system.
If you can, you’ll want to attach it to a neighbouring Hi-Fi or similar since the UE19C4000 does suffer from very poor speakers. Squeezed into the slim frame without much thought given to bass or mid-range sound, the result is thin and unconvincing.
Picture quality is excellent, with the LED backlighting proving really effective. Edge-lit sets can often be disappointing because of the lack of local dimming in the centre of the screen, but the small size of the screen on the UE19C4000 means inky blacks and excellent contrast ratio all over the panel.
Even better, there’s no noticeable blur or streaking across the panel during fast-moving footage - another rare attribute at this size and price.
High-def does look significantly better than standard definition fare, though Freeview channels appear to be upscaled well and retain a lot of detail.
One of the best-specified and most effective 19-inch TVs around, a top quality Edge LED-lit LCD panel helps this Samsung be as impressive as its behemoth brethren.