Samsung LN46A950 Review Yellowknife NT
Samsung LN46A950 Review
January 23, 2009 By David Birch-Jones
Within minutes of setting up Samsung’s top-line 46” LCD HDTV (they also offer a 55” version), I knew that this was no ordinary LCD flat-panel, as the picture quality, with just a few picture control adjustments, looked startlingly un-LCD-like and much more reminiscent of what I’m used to seeing with better plasma sets.
The LN46A950 isn’t Samsung’s first LCD flat-panel with LED backlighting, but this latest series improves upon earlier offerings by combining 120 Hz screen refresh with interpolation (Auto Motion Plus) and multi-zone LED backlighting (Smart LED).
It’s also packed with a variety of step-up features, including LAN connectivity, along with an optional Windows Media Extender box.
While the Samsung’s out-of-the-box Standard picture mode is neither overly bright nor terribly bluish, the set’s Movie mode is the go-to choice here, as that mode’s settings are dialed in at the factory to come closest to the recommended values for optimum high-def picture quality, and a check with the color analyzer shows a color temperature that is indeed quite close to the D65 ideal neutral white point.
Adjustments in the Detailed Settings menu allowed me to further tweak the grayscale to get the Samsung even closer, with a fairly consistent result over most of the range. Once done with the adjustments, I was rewarded with a very good looking picture, with natural flesh tones and very good deep blacks.
Samsung’s Auto Motion Plus 120 Hz feature, together with the LED Motion Plus function, seeks to eliminate motion blur, a traditional bugaboo of LCD sets. The set offers three levels of processing, and also provides a Demo mode that produces a split screen with one side processed, the other side not. Using test Blu-ray discs that feature slow lateral pans, I can clearly see marked improvement with the processed side, even from a normal viewing distance.
With the feature activated, blur is substantially reduced, if not outright eliminated, and I can clearly see details that are totally blurred out on the unprocessed side. I then watched a horse race in 1080i HD I had recorded on my DVR, and during slow pans, there was a noticeable sharpening of the picture. During fast-moving scenes, I noted little to no difference, but some motion blur is inevitable with every source (and will be visible on any type of display), and can’t really be fixed by post-processing.
If one doesn't like the motion interpolation caused by the Auto Motion Plus 120 Hz, LED Motion Plus can be used without it (and vice versa).
As with their Auto Motion Plus, Samsung provides a Demo split screen mode for the LED Motion Plus feature. When activated, the LED backlighting cycles on and off in horizontal groups, cycling at least once from screen top to screen bottom every 120th of a second.
This provides more of a visual separation between frames, reducing the sample-and-hold visual effect that contributes to LCD moti...