Samsung QN55Q70RA

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When we ordered Dirona back in 2009, we replaced the standard port-side settee with a custom TV lift sized to handle a 46-inch flat-screen. And during commissioning in Seattle, we installed a Samsung LN46B750 46-inch TV, which was reasonably state-of-the-art at the time. While we’ve had some troubles with the TV lift, the Samsung TV has worked flawlessly.

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Over the past couple of years, however, we’ve become more and more interested in replacing the TV. It has developed intermitment IR issues, and ten years is getting fairly dated in a fast-evolving product group. Newer TVs are available that have a better quality image and a smaller bezel, allowing a larger screen in the same footprint. The current TV didn’t come close to filling the space in the TV lift box, so we could easily move up to a larger screen. We are partial to Samsung, and their 49-inch was a good candidate that would just barely fit in the existing TV enclosure.

The Samsung 49-inch would be a perfect upgrade for us, but James kept studying 55-inch models, looking for a way to make them fit. The vast majority of the 55-inch TVs from any manufacturer in market are wider than the space between the TV lift tracks, so they weren’t going to fit under any circumstances. We did find one model of the Samsung product line, a QN55Q70RA, that would just barely fit between the TV lift tracks. But there would be only an 1/8 to a 1/4 inch on either side, so it would be really tight. And, of course, it is much wider than the box that holds the TV so big changes would need to made there.

A major stumbling block in our goal is that we need a 60Hz unit that supports the NTSC video format used in the Americas. We’ve been in Europe for the past three years and neither the NTSC format nor 60Hz units are in common use. So we couldn’t easily source a TV locally. That left us with two problems: 1) how to get a US TV to Amsterdam and 2) how to precisely mount a flat-screen TV that extends beyond the edge of the lift box and just barely clears the lift tracks.

We discovered that (US) will ship a small subset of their items internationally and when the Samsung 55-inch QN55Q70RA became available for shipping to the Netherlands, we jumped on it. The box arrived right on time, but it was in really rough shape, showing lots of wear on the outside of the box. And inside, the rigid styrofoam packing had been broken up. Obviously it had been dropped many times. Since the TV took a real beating, the first thing we did was plug it in to see if it still worked. The good news is, as you can see, it lit up and tested well. Looking super-carefully at the bottom left hand corner, we could see a tiny line. It’s not visible in the picture below, nor when watching the screen unless you’re a couple of inches away from it, but the TV did take some damage. It looks beautiful, we’re not going to worry about it, and we sure hope it stays that way.

By “just fit” the enclosure, we really meant it. The plan for mounting the TV was to have it extend beyond the sides of the lift box, so we’d need to cut the wood to allow the TV to sit down inside the box while extending on either side beyond it. And because there’s a complex curve on the back of the TV, the opening for the TV needed to be cut at an angle to accomodate the curvature at the back.

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The next problem was that the mounting holes were closer together on the new TV, so we needed to determine the positioning for the new holes. In order to clear the lift rails on either side, it had to be dead-center in the box as we had little tolerance for error.

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When we finally had the lift box ready for the new set, we were bang on for position, but dangerously close to the lift mechanism on either side. The lift box does have a little free play in the enclosure and the TV would shatter if it ever shifted far enough to allow contact between the side of the TV and the lift track. We know from past experience that the TV lift is enormously powerful and wouldn’t break the TV rather than jam up. It’s not very likely, but to ensure it can’t happen, we installed wedge-shaped shims that force the TV box to be central between the rails.

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The old TV was secured with bolts that were inserted through back of the lift box, into spacers, and into the TV. One of the challenges of installing the old TV was locating the holes to insert the bolts behind the lift box—it’s a bit of dance to find the hole and not dislodge the spacer all the while keeping the heavy TV in position. With the more central hole positioning on the new TV, we’d have an even more difficult time running bolts through and into the TV without dropping the spacers. And the new TV was so thin that it had only a few threads for the bolts to catch. It would be really easy to over-tighten the bolts and damage the screen.

So for the new TV we came up with the idea of using studs cut to the exactly the right length, rather than bolts that have to be located through spacers and screwed into the TV. So installing the TV is just screwing the studs into the back of the TV, sliding the spacers over the studs, and placing the TV into the lift box with the studs sliding into the box behind. Once the TV is in place, we can secure it by tightening nuts onto the ends of the studs behind the lift box. This is much easier to get right.

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It was a big job, and there was risk that the TV wouldn’t fit at all, but we’re very happy to have taken it on. The new TV is beautiful and we’re loving having a modern and much larger screen.

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8 comments on “Samsung QN55Q70RA
  1. Alex Goodwin says:

    James, where was Spitfire in all of this? I can see at least one cavity – the TV storage – that he would want to investigate.

    Is Spitfire a fan of cardboard boxes?

  2. Paul Wood says:

    Happy New Year to you both. Nice work, James!

    We’ve not long swapped our 37″ Plasma for one of these 50″ Smart TVs. Absolutely brilliant connectivity and picture quality. There was nothing wrong with the plasma, mind. So I decided to put it upstairs in the guest bedroom. Jaysus, what a job! I’d forgotten just how heavy the early plasma TVs were. I reckon I could tie a rope around it, climb out of the window and abseil down the wall :D

  3. John S. says:

    When it comes to TV’s, bigger is better! Especially watching football and other sports.

    Quite an intricate bit of maneuvering to get the new TV to fit and to go up and down. Well done.

    • We love it. I’m a bit worry about the tiny crack in the corner from shipping damage but, as long as it doesn’t spread, we’re good. It’s close to invisible right now and the TV really is exceptional.

      • Stephan Sturges says:

        If you’re looking for a fix, may I recommend this stuff?

        (actually it works for a whole bunch of small things, you might end up ordering a bunch of it ;) )

        • In this particular case, there is no external damage. Just a small internal crack in the internal substrate that makes up the screen. But, thanks for the pointer to what looks like a versatile adhesive product.

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