The Samsung LN55A950 has got a lot of connections, analog and digital. The
inputs are grouped at the back and along one side of the screen where they are
easy to reach, although the lack of swiveling stand makes getting to the rear
inputs more difficult than it should be.
HDTVs are the hub for peripherals like Bu-ray players, VHS decks, digital
cameras/camcorders, game consoles and occasionally pull double duty as computer
displays. The hallmark of a good HDTV is a variety of connections that will work
with all of your home electronics - old and new.
Inputs on the Samsung LN55A950 55" LCD TV are numerous. You can connect a
broad variety of devices (new and legacy) to the screen.
On the back we find (1) coaxial antenna connector, (3) HDMI inputs, two sets
of Component Input (Y, Pb, Pr) with L/R audio input, one 15-pin Analog VGA
computer monitor cable hook up and associated mini-headphone jack for audio from
a PC. There is but one S-video input, which you may as well avoid because
s-video has horrible video quality. Finally, we find an additional L/R coaxial
audio input associated with one of the HDMI inputs.
Outputs include one optical SP/DIF and one pair of RCA audio outputs. The
RJ45 Ethernet LAN port is used to connect the 950-series screen for media stream
(Wiselink Pro DLNA) and also to stream news stories, weather and stock
information directly to the TV. Ex-link is for an optional motorized wall mount.
On the side panel we find a HDMI,
USB, composite (RCA) video and L/R coaxial audio inputs and mini-headphone
On the left hand side of the Samsung 950 is an auxiliary
side panel full of commonly used connections. On it we find an HDMI input, a USB
port that used for firmware updates or WiseLink Pro, and a legacy inputs for composite video/audio. There is a single 3.5mm stereo headphone jack
for private listening.
Altogether that adds up to four HDMI inputs, two
component inputs, RCA and S-Video inputs, an ATSC/VHF RF antenna, a VGA input
with an additional optical input, as well as LAN and Wiselink Pro USB
connections. Unfortunately the LN55A950 lacks a DVI input, which means that most
PC owners will need to use either a HDMI or VGA adapter to get the signal from a
DVI-based video card onto the HDTV.
Samsung Wiselink Pro and Infolink
The Wiselink content playback system remains the same
from the Samsung 850-series. This firmware application has the ability to access
media off a USB thumb drive and use the HDTV's built-in hardware decoder to play
compressed music, photos and movie files in a number of formats. Wiselink Pro
can also connect via ethernet to a media server (any PC with Samsung's PC Share
Manager software) to stream content effortlessly. For more information, check
previous article on Wiselink Pro which includes a very handy guide to
setting it up in DLNA and USB mode.
The Wiselink Pro menu can be used to
access content over a USB mass storage device, like a thumb
drive, or in DLNA mode using a network connection, as seen here. The
three supported content modes are Photo, Music and Movie, with an
additional Setup menu for configuring network and display options.
Movie mode Wiselink Pro can play AVI, MP4, MPG
and VRB/VOB files. The files are displayed as thumbnails in the main movie
content menu, and can be organized by folder, title, timelines, and preference.
The Wiselink Pro Music
player supports MP3 files only. Songs are automatically parsed for
metatags, and can be sorted and filtered according to mood, genre, title,
artist and folder. Music can be added to simple playlists for sequential
The Photo menu works with JPEG files
only. Photos can be zoomed and rotated using the Option menu, and supports a maximum resolution of 15360x8640. Like the other menus,
photos can be filtered by title, folder, date, orientation and colour
PCSTATS' opinion of Wiselink
Pro remains positive. The content playback
system manages to recreate a lot of the functionality of a home theatre PC,
although it lacks some critical file format compatibility for movie playback, and
its limited ability to track and skip through movies keeps it being a true
replacement for an HTPC. As a built-in feature though, it offers tremendous
versatility to the Samsung LN55A950 LCD HDTV.
Infolink and the Content Library
Both the Infolink and the content library remain unchanged
from the Samsung 8-series of LCD televisions. The InfoLink service takes advantage of
the Samsung LN55A950's ethernet port to stream news stories, stock information
and weather directly to the TV.
The content library has a variety of simple applications
that are built into 8GB of onboard storage on the LN55A950. These applications
include a photo gallery that can show stock photography or scans of classical
paintings, a small recipe book which can be useful if the HDTV is places within
viewing distance of the kitchen, a couple of games, karaoke songs and storybooks
for children and some exercise and massage tips. For more information you can
check PCSTATS' Samsung