The Samsung T24A350 is an LED monitor with NTSC and ATSC TV tuners in it, meaning it can pull in analog and digital television signals. It's meant for those who want to watch TV at the same time as they're working on their computer, but I bought it for its TV capabilities alone. A monitor with an HDTV tuner in it is way cheaper than a same-sized LED (or LCD) TV. And, as you probably know, the best HDTV picture comes over the air not through cable or satellite -- so a good digital tuner is essential.
It's black, so it's not as elegant as the Philips LCD TV I had. It has a glass bezel round the edge and a shiny black stand that allows you to tilt the screen forward or back, but it's still black. Its remote control is black with those softish plastic buttons and reminds me of the Rogers cable remote control. Again, not elegant like the Philips TV's remote control but like almost every other boring remote control out there. The buttons don't glow in the dark, which would be useful. I think this HDTV monitor may come in white, and if I had found one on sale and available, I would've bought that. So black it is.
As another downer, the energy consumption seems to be almost as high as an LCD monitor, although it does have energy conserving features. Anyway...
When you first turn it on, the Plug & Play menu appears. It is defaulted to cable, so you'll need to switch it to Air if you have the TV attached to an outdoor antenna or rabbit ears.
If you do not run this or turn the TV off before running it, then turn it back on so that it doesn't come up automatically, the first channels you will see are the analog ones. I did that and thought this picture is BAD. But I was looking at an analog signal. The T24A350 doesn't pick up the digital channels automatically like it does the analog ones. You have to run Auto Program for it to scan the signal range and find them (under Menu/Channel or Plug & Play).
The two most important things you need to know about the Plug & Play setup: ensure you change from Store to Home when you get to that screen, and if your picture and sound settings revert to default after either 30 minutes or you turn it off and back on again, rerun Plug & Play and set it to Home mode again. The second thing is when you select Air under Auto Program, you have to use the down arrow to select Search then click Enter key on the remote to get it to search for channels. Just because it looks like Search is selected after you click Enter over the Air button, doesn't mean it is. If nothing happens but a Next button appears greyed out, repeat Air selection and navigate down to Search button then hit Enter.
The day I installed my new HDTV monitor, an American station added another sub-channel to its digital signal, and so my Samsung received 30 channels instead of the 29 I had been getting. When I had to rescan later, it picked up another one it shouldn't be able to, and I'm told there are four more (two stations, one digital channel each, one or two sub-channels each) that it could pick up. I was told Samsung and Sony had the best tuners, and it seems to be true for this HDTV monitor.
I connected my PC with a VGA cable (included) and audio cable (included). It didn't get the signal at first, but when I moved the mouse, after a few seconds, it showed the display that was on my laptop. When I played with the graphics settings, to see if I could get Windows to recognize the higher resolution of the HDTV monitor, it switched itself off and reset itself entirely. I had to rerun Plug & Play, including reselecting Home mode.
The component cable connection from my old VCR/DVD box did not work, the picture was green and flashed on and off. I was too hot and bothered (I set this up on the hottest day of the year in a room with no A/C) to figure out what was wrong, mostly because I knew that to see my videos, I had to use the AV connections. However, Samsung doesn't include the AV connector -- both component and AV cables have to be plugged into a connector that plugs into the HDTV monitor. It makes for a tighter, cleaner back, but is a pain to have to go find the AV connector to buy it.
The sound was weak from the computer until I changed the Sound settings from standard to Movie. I could hear that!
I then connected the laptop with the HDMI. With each connection, I had to change the Source to the appropriate connection and then set the picture settings. The first setting you have to change is Dynamic to standard unless you're in a super bright room. The default picture setting is awful, even after you do that. I also turned off Edge and turned on Motion, as well as adjusted Backlight, Contrast, Brightness, Colour, and RGB. The Lean Back feature under Samsung Magic Angle works well for when you're way below the HDTV monitor like lying on a couch, but for some reason there's no single button to switch this feature easily on and off or between its three options. You have to go into the Menu then Picture Settings. This is true also for checking signal strength. The converter and tuner boxes had a button to easily check for signal strength. Here it's Menu, Help, Self Diagnosis, Signal Information -- then you see it. What a pain, especially when you're trying to compare signal strenghts of 30 channels to ascertain if you need to move the antenna and which way.
The Exit button takes you back immediately to the TV show, the Return to the previous Menu level.
Once it has Autoscanned for channels, if you buy this before end of August 2011 in Canada, you may have a whole bunch of analog channels memorized along with the digital ones in your Channel List. How to delete these is not in the simple paper manual. Press the E.MANUAL button on the remote control to bring up a comprehensive manual on all the Samsung features.
To delete analog channels or any digital ones you don't want, press the Content button, use the Down Arrow key to go to Channel Manager, and you'll see a list of channels. Use the arrow keys to navigate to the channel you want to delete. When it is selected (highlighted), press the Tools button and navigate with arrow keys down to Delete. Press the Enter key to delete.
The Channel List button shows you all your memorized channels, along with the info on each channel. Note: as long as the broadcaster has enabled it, and not all Canadian ones have, the digital TV signal includes all programming info for the day. But the Channel List won't show the info for all the channels until you've actually watched every channel. So another person said the first thing he does is flip through all the channels, so then the Channel List becomes useful beyond telling you what channels you have memorized. Dumb Samsung bug.
So, all in all, in terms of quality of product only, a decent HDTV monitor, and for the price, way more affordable than a straight TV.
But then there's Samsung technical support. Someone online said it sucks. That's being kind. My experience with hp was that anything above "did you plug it in?" is beyond them. But they don't call you names if plugging it in doesn't fix the problem.
First problem: Samsung's technical support didn't understand English -- her accent sounded like from the southern US, so it wasn't a language issue. It took me so many tries to get her to understand that my picture settings were resetting to default that by the time she got it, I'm amazed I wasn't yelling epithets at her. In fact, I never called this Angelica person names, despite her utter unwillingness and inability to help me. But she labelled me uncooperative for giving her the model name on the manual and code on the back of the TV that was not in their database and refused to pass me on to her manager because she said I wasn't giving her the information. It never occurred to her to look it up on the web or that this was a new model not in their database. Instead she defaulted immediately to insulting me. In fact, as I learnt later, the T24A350 is so new that Samsung obviously didn't think it necessary to update their technical support database yet.
After I ranted on Twitter and calmed my adrenaline rush, I called again; this time I got thinking technical support. By not insulting me or calling me names, he didn't shut himself off from the possibility of finding my HDTV monitor in some other way, he kept the conversation going long enough to learn I'd bought it in Canada. He soon thought to look it up on the website and find both the HDTV monitor and the correct model code that way (which is different than what is on the back of my HDTV). He solved my simple problem quickly.
But I have to wonder why does Samsung -- unlike every other equipment manufacturer out there -- not allow one to provide the model name, but instead requires the customer to look at the back of the unit for hard-to-read model codes? When I called Philips for support, I wasn't insulted and I wasn't asked for some obscure code. Giving them the model name was good enough. So even with hp.
So, bottom line, if you want to buy a Samsung, ensure you know someone who has one so if you have problems with it you can call them instead and save yourself a very bad afternoon. If technical support is something important to you, don't buy a Samsung. The picture and tuner quality are not worth the hassle. Period.