The 32R74BDX’s features are pleasingly numerous, though. For starters, as with all the TVs we’re covering in our World Cup run-up it’s fully HD Ready, adding to its HD connectivity a suitably high native resolution of 1,366 x 768 and compatibility with the key 720p and 1080i HD formats. Early word from Samsung had suggested the 32R74BDX might also handle the new 1080p HD format, but experiments with our resident 1080p-upscaling Marantz DV9600 DVD player suggest this is not actually the case.
The 32R74BDX also sports a built-in digital tuner for Freeview reception, and helpfully backs this up with a slot for adding payTV subscription cards and a digital audio output ready for if/when Freeview gets round to broadcasting Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks.
Staying with the digital tuner, we can also report that it offers full support for the Freeview 7-day electronic programme guide (EPG), and lets you set timer events simply by selecting programmes directly from the listings. Rather crazily, though, the 32R74BDX only lets you skip ahead through the EPG a maximum of a couple of hours at a time, making looking for programmes a few days ahead tedious in the extreme.
As with nearly all Samsung TVs these days, the 32R74BDX sports the Digital Natural Image engine picture processing system. This contains algorithms for improving contrast, colour brightness/tone, motion and fine detail response, and hopefully it will impress us here as much as it has on previous Samsung sets.
More picture assistance comes from a new way of letting light through the LCD pixels. Called Super Vertical Pattern Alignment, the system refracts the light from each LCD pixel more widely, meaning you can watch the picture from a much wider angle without experiencing the customary drop off in contrast and colours.
Elsewhere there’s a 10-bit colour processing engine that allegedly serves up a stonking 12.8 billion different colours, and an outrageously high (by LCD standards) claimed contrast ratio of 5000:1.