Hands-On With The Samsung UN40KU6300 4K UHD TV

Samsung UN-KU6300 Series 4K UHD TV
Samsung UN-KU6300 Series 4K UHD TV. Image provided by Amazon

TVs have certainly taken a leap in the past few years with increased incorporation of 4K resolution display capability. In fact, 1080p TVs are becoming less numerous as the prices of 4K Ultra HD TVs plunge.

One example in the trend of affordable 4K TVs is the Samsung UN40KU6300 UHD TV (Samsung refers to their 4K Ultra HD TVs as either QLED, SUHD, or UHD TVs).

Although sporting a modest 40-inch screen size, the 40KU6300 still delivers some noticeable improvements over 1080p TVs in the same screen size.

The UN40JU6300 is also visually pleasing when turned-off, courtesy of slim cabinet design and a thin bezel frame encasing a flat LCD panel with a surface that minimizes screen glare.

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Core Features of the Samsung UN40KU6300

Samsung KU6300 Series UHD TV - Angle View
Samsung KU6300 Series UHD TV - Angle View. Image provided by Amazon.com

Hidden within its attractive frame, and behind its 40-inch screen, the KU6300 incorporates 4K native display resolution, and Direct LED backlighting with Local Dimming (UHD Dimming). This provides more precise brightness and contrast control for specific areas (or zones) of the screen when displaying bright or dark objects.

Other core features include:

  • Clear Motion Rate 120 processing (combines 60Hz Screen Refresh Rate with additional color and image processing) for clear moving images.
  • 4K video upscaling/processing, to facilitate improved viewing results for 1080p and lower resolution content sources.
  • QuadCore processor and Tizen Operating System to facilitate easy and fast menu navigation.

    Built-in tuners for reception of over-the-air and unscrambled high definition/standard definition digital cable signals.

  • Built-in 20-watt 2 channel speaker system (10 watts x 2) for use in lieu of the outputting audio to an external audio system (However, connecting to an external audio system is highly recommended). Built-in audio compatibility and processing include Dolby Digital Plus and DTS Premium Sound 5.1.
  • Samsung's Smart Remote control is provided that eliminates most buttons, and, instead, provides key buttons for volume and channel scrolling, as well as access to onscreen menu system - but does not provide direct number access (in other words, you can't type in channel numbers - you have to either scroll through them, or access an onscreen keyboard). A photo of the remote control is presented later in this review.

    The TV is also compatible with universal remote control systems, and if you are on cable, you can use your Cable TV remote to access channels directly.

    You can also control the TV and compatible HDMI-connected source devices (such as Blu-ray Disc player or home theater receiver) in tandem, using the HDMI-CEC feature.

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Samsung UN40KU6300 - Wired and Wireless Connectivity

Samsung UN40KU6300 4K UHD TV - E-manual and Connections
Samsung UN40KU6300 4K UHD TV - E-manual and Connections. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Connection options for the 40KU6300 include 3 HDMI inputs. 1 HDMI input is DVI-compatible via adapter, and another is Audio Return Channel (ARC) enabled. All HDMI inputs are 4K and HDR compatible (more on HDR later).

Three USB ports are provided. These can be used to access compatible audio, video, and still image content from flash drives, as well as for plugging in an external windows keyboard and/or mouse. This is convenient when using the built-in web browser and typing in account login information that may be required to access some TV and App features.

Additional connections include a set of shared composite/component/analog audio inputs, and RF input for connection of an indoor/outdoor antenna, or the RF output of a cable/satellite box.

Note: In order to save space, the analog audio/video inputs/outputs use 3.5mm connections, rather than the traditional RCA style - Samsung provides the needed analog audio/video cable adapters as part of the TV package.

Ethernet and WiFi are included for easy access to a variety of internet streaming serves, as well as audio, video, and still image content stored on network-connected devices, such as PC or media server.

Another practical feature is wireless sharing/screen mirroring (Miracast), which Samsung refers to as Smart View. This allows direct media sharing from compatible portable devices directly to the TV without going through a home network router

The Samsung UN40KU6300 is also Bluetooth-enabled, which provides two capabilities. The first capability allows users to directly stream audio from compatible portable devices and hears it through the TV's speakers. The other capability is where sound originating from the TV can be streamed directly to a compatible Samsung Sound Bar, Home Theater-in-a-box system, or wireless Bluetooth speaker or headphones.

To guide you through all of the setup and operating features of the UN40K6300, Samsung provides an onscreen-accessible user guide (e-Manual) as shown in the top portion of the above photo.

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Samsung UN40KU6300 - Video and Audio Performance

Samsung UN40KU6300 Series 4K UHD TV - Picture Quality Example
Samsung UN40KU6300 Series 4K UHD TV - Picture Quality Example. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Video Performance - 4K

After getting the KU6300 up and running, the color was found to be very accurate out the box, with well-balanced flesh tones and good saturation. Also, black levels, although not as deep as you will find on an OLED TV, are fairly good, without the corner spotlighting issues that you often see on edge-lit LED/LCD TVs.

The UN40KU6300 does a great job displaying native 4K content and despite its small screen. Sitting at a distance of 6 feet, there is still a slight detail improvement over a typical 1080p TV.

For those that don't have access to a lot of 4K content, the 720p/1080i content from broadcast TV stations, and 1080p content from Blu-ray Disc and select media streaming sources still looked great as a result of excellent video upscaling. Standard resolution DVD sources look better than you might expect. Using standardized video performance tests, the video processing and upscaling proved to be consistently good, with no excessive unwanted edge jaggedness, pixelation or macroblocking issues unless already present in the original content source

However, if you still access TV programming via analog cable or still play VHS tapes - be warned - you will not see much improvement. Even 4K upscaling can't improve those sources to a significant degree - there just isn't enough video information to work with and they also suffer when magnified to large screen sizes.

Video Performance - HDR

The UN40KU6300 provides HDR display capability. This provides increased brightness and wider contrast (which, in-turn, also improves color). HDR is more precise than just using your TVs brightness/contrast/color controls as it takes specific portions of the image into account.

However, there is a catch. To get this extra picture quality boost, the source content has to be HDR-encoded so that the TV knows which portions of the image need to be enhanced. When the TV detects the presence of HDR-encoded content, it automatically activates that feature.

For more details on HDR, refer to my article Dolby Vision and HDR10 - What It Means For TV Viewers

Samsung implements HDR on its TVs in three ways.

  • Its high-end SUHD and QLED TVs incorporate "HDR1000" (Samsung's labeling), which fully meets full HDR specifications for both brightness and color.
  • Their standard UHD TVs - such as the UN40KU6300, include HDR Premium. HDR premium falls short of full HDR standards compliance (narrower brightness range and color depth) but still provides visually noticeable enhancement in those areas than a standard non-HDR enabled TV. As a result, the difference between HDR and non-HDR viewing is more dramatic on Samsung's higher-end TVs, than on its standard UHD TVs.
  • Samsung throws in one additional twist - HDR+, which is available on both it's high-end and standard UHD TVs (including the KU6300 series).

    HDR+ allows additional fine-tuning HDR-encoded content, as well as provide HDR-like results for content that is not actually HDR-encoded (such as standard Blu-ray, internet streaming, or TV/Cable sources).

For the Samsung UN40KU6300, HDR enhancement is definitely not as dramatic as on their higher-end sets, but there is a noticeable improvement.

When testing HDR on disc-based content, it was found that films containing HDR encoding displayed brighter highlights (without looking washed out or overexposed), as well as revealing more detail in darker areas of the image. The combination of the two reveals more color texture in objects as well.

Where you see the difference the most is in scenes with sunrises/sunsets, fire at night (such as campfire or torch), lamps in hallways, and light reflections off metal (such as armor and exterior car detailing). When you go back and view the same content in standard Blu-ray, bright sunlight, fire, lamps, and metal reflections are duller, and the color tone of the entire image is not as rich.

Of course, while watching standard Blu-ray Disc on a good 1080p or non-HDR 4K Ultra HD TV looks really good, viewing HDR-encoded Ultra HD Blu-ray or streaming content, adds more vibrancy and realism to the image - the KU6300 gives you a taste of this difference. However, since the KU6300 doesn't meet full HDR specifications, it doesn't take full advantage of what HDR has to offer.

With reference to HDR+, while it does boost brightness and contrast, it is more global in nature since it is using algorithms to guess how to enhance non-HDR encoded content. In other words, the effect is not consistent across content, especially when using it to view TV programs, where there is source quality variation from program-to-program, channel-to-channel, and between programs and commercials.

Audio Performance

As mentioned earlier, this 40KU6300 comes equipped with a built-in stereo sound system.

To tailor the sound, a selection of pre-set sound settings is provided: Standard, Music, Movie, Clear Voice (emphasizes vocals and dialog), Amplify (emphasizes high-frequency sounds). For added support, when selecting the Standard audio preset, the TV also provides access to a 5-point frequency equalizer.

However, although the provided audio setting options provide better-than-average sound quality for a built-in TV speaker system, and voice clarity is actually very good, there just isn't enough interior cabinet space to provide a powerful home theater-type listening experience.

For the best listening result, especially for watching movies, an external audio system, such as a good sound bar, paired with a small subwoofer or full system featuring a home theater receiver and 5.1 or 7.1 channel speaker system are better options.

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Samsung UN40KU6300 - Smart TV Features and Performance

Samsung UN40KU6300 4K UHD TV - Smart Hub and Apps Menus
Samsung UN40KU6300 4K UHD TV - Smart Hub and Apps Menus. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Via its Smart Hub-labeled onscreen interface (shown in detail above in four screenshots), Samsung provides easy-to-use Smart features, allowing to from both the internet and a home network.

Some of the accessible services and sites include Netflix, Pandora, Vudu, Hulu, HBOGo, HBO Now, NatGeo, Plex, Pluto TV, and more...

The TV is also able to access online social-media services, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Users can also add more content services via the Samsung Apps Store, but the selection for the KU6300 series TVs is limited in comparison to some competitors. Of the apps that are available, some are free, and others require a small fee or the app may be free, but the associated service may require an ongoing paid subscription.

The video quality of streamed content varies, due to both the quality of the streaming content source and the speed of the internet connection.

Quality ranges from Low-res compressed video that is hard to watch on a large screen to high-def and 4K video feeds that look at least as good as DVD, and, with 1080p and 4K content, approaching Blu-ray Disc quality. The UN4KU6300's upscaling and video processing capabilities also help, but as pointed earlier, if the source is of really poor quality, there is only so much that can be done, and, in fact, in some cases, video upscaling and processing can actually make poor quality content look worse.

DLNA, USB, and Screen Mirroring

In addition to content from the internet, the UN40KU6300 can also access content from DLNA compatible media servers and PCs connected in the same home network. Access content stored on the PCs connected through the home network used, as well as the ability to access audio, video, and still image files from USB flash drive-type devices was straightforward,

Accessing content from the network and USB plug-in devices was easy, but, it is important to note that the UN40KU6300 is not compatible with all digital media file formats (consult the eManual via TV's menu system, for details).

Also, streaming audio and video content from an HTC One M8 Harman Kardon Edition phone to the TV was easy, using Screen Mirroring/Samsung Smart View (Miracast) and DLNA options available on the phone.

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Samsung UN40KU6300 - The Bottom Line

Samsung UN40KU6300 4K UHD TV - Remote Control
Samsung UN40KU6300 4K UHD TV - Remote Control. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

With stylish edge-to-edge panel design and minimally reflective matte screen, the UN40KU6300 looks good in a home environment. Also, with its 40-inch size, those that desire a 4K TV, but do not have a large space for a TV (or are viewing in a small room) have a viable choice.

Video performance is bolstered by direct LED backlighting and UHD dimming, and the addition of HDR tech adds boost to brightness and contrast with compatible content.

The UN40KU6300's built-in speakers sound better than average for a thing-profile LCD TV (although an external audio solution, such a sound bar or full multi-speaker system would provide a better listening experience - especially for movies).

For the finishing touch, the UN40KU6300 includes easy-to-use Smart TV features that provide access to internet and local network-based content, and added bonus of Miracast. If you are looking for solid UHD TV for not a lot of cash for a small viewing space, the Samsung UN40KU6300 UHD TV is definitely deserves a spot on your TV shopping list.

For those that feel that it is waste to buy a 4K TV with such a small screen, when you combine its 4K display capability, video upscaling, color, and contrast capability, it is still an improvement over 1080p TVs in similar screen sizes. However, if you are shopping for an 4K Ultra HD TV and you have both the budget and the space, going with a larger screen size is definitely an advantage.

The Pros

  • 4K and HDR included.
  • Very good onscreen uniformity - Even black levels across screen surface.
  • Very good video processing/upscaling of lower resolution content sources.
  • Minimal "Soap Opera" effect when engaging motion settings.
  • Easy to use onscreen menu system.
  • The Apps platform provides access to popular internet streaming options (including access to some 4K Netflix, VUDU, and YouTube streaming).
  • Lots of picture adjustment options - can be set independently for each input source.
  • Thin profile and thin bezel edge-to-edge screen styling
  • Matte screen surface reduces unwanted glare from light reflections.
  • Better onboard sound than expected - but an external sound system (sound bar or surround system) would provide better results.
  • Stable WiFi suitable for video streaming (Ethernet recommended for 4K streaming).

The Cons

  • While the TV is HDR compatible, it does not fully adhere to the HDR10 specifications and is not compatible with the Dolby Vision HDR standard.
  • Off-axis color fading - As you move away from the center seating position, although the image is viewable, you will notice varying degrees of color fading and brightness/contrast loss. This is a typical issue with LCD-based TVs.
  • Internet streaming selection not as extensive as some competitors (even within Samsung's own TV and Blu-ray player product lines).
  • The Built-in audio system was better than expected for a thin TV, but an external sound system is really needed for a good home theater listening experience.
  • There is a Shared Component/Composite video input. This means that you cannot connect a component and composite video source into the TV at the same time.
  • No onboard controls except for a single button on the back of the TV that serves as both a power on/off and menu navigation control.
  • No 3D viewing option.

The UN40KU6300 UHD TV reviewed in this article was purchased off-the-shelf at a publicly advertised price.

NOTE: The Samsung UN40KU6300 was introduced in 2016 and may now be in limited supply. For similar, periodically updated suggestions, check out our listings of Best 4K Ultra HD TVs and 4K Ultra HD TVs Under $1,000.

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