Friday, October 24, 2008

Sammy and Worlds End

Film watched:

Pirate of the Caribbean: At Worlds End

Not terrible, just not good. Sloppy convoluted film


I’ve been meaning to write about my Samsung LE55A956 55" LCD TV (named “Sammy” for some time now, just haven’t had too much time… But anyway, here is a summary of my thoughts:

I previously owned (and still – do, haven’t sold it yet) a 50” plasma, so the jump in size by 5” isn’t too big, although it is definitely still noticeable. Also, even though it is slightly bigger than my plasma, it is actually slightly lighter. It was still, however, rather difficult taking the LCD up two flights of stairs to reach my lounge (which in my house is actually situated in a converted attic room).

The most important aspect of this LCD though is the picture quality, and in this area it really does excel. Compared to my plasma and also my smaller LCD (now sold), it really is a marvel. The blacks are deep and inky and the colours vibrant. In fact the blacks are so black that it is a little disconcerting at first. 100Hz motion plus handles fast motion beautifully, certainly better than any other plasma or LCD out there. Obviously, with most top end TV’s the picture quality is vastly dependant upon the source, i.e. if you have poor quality SD output, the LCD will show all it’s faults, but with high quality HD output the result are absolutely stunning. Blu-ray is always an absolute winner. I have also found that SD DVD’s upscaled by my PS3 are also absolutely stunning, some of them are even nearing Blu-ray quality.

What I have found, however, is that I’m constantly tweaking the settings. I’ve had the LCD for some time now, and still on a daily basis, I’m amending the settings pretty much whenever I watch anything. This is just me, playing with a new toy, trying my best to reach the perfect balance and perfect picture. I’ve settled down a bit now, but still make the odd adjustments here and there.

Now I’ll address a couple of issues about the LCD and my thoughts in regards to these:

LED Blooming:
I have read that some people have issue with LED bloom, namely when there is a single bright object on the screen and a black background, that this creates a halo like effect around the object (because the individual LED’s cover a larger area than the pixels in use. I must say that this is rarely noticeable and viewing the LCD from dead centre, is barely an issue at all. In my opinion what very little blooming there is, is FAR outweighed by the benefit of deep and an incredible contrast ratio.

Off axis viewing:
Like most LCD’s, the picture quality of this set diminishes depending upon the viewing angle, however, this is exaggerated by the LED backlighting. As such to get the best from the picture you really need to be sitting dead centre in front of the TV. If you move 10 feet either way the benefit of the LED backlighting begins to diminish. This isn’t really an issue with me, as I will generally sit in front of the TV and have my settee arranged with the TV in mind (because I’m that sad). This could only really be an issue for people with big families, or with lounges arranged without the TV in mind.

Input lag:
Because of the LED backlighting, 100Hz motion plus and various other bells and whistles with the TV, there is a slight input lag on the LCD. Namely, when playing games on the LCD there is a delay between the controller and the action on screen. This has been measured to be around 60 milliseconds, so it’s not that great and in all honestly I don’t notice it at all generally. The exceptions to this are very time critical games such as Guitar Hero, where it is slightly noticeable. Thankfully there is a game mode which drops the input lag dramatically to around 30 milliseconds, which is similar to most top end LCD’s. The only frustrating part is that you are unable to change the settings of game mode, and as such, I am unable to adjust the contrast to my liking. This is, however, only a minor niggle and otherwise I’m perfectly happy with the LCD for my gaming needs.

So to summarise, I’m extremely pleased with my purchase. It is a fantastic LCD which undoubtedly has some of the riches colours and deepest blacks on the market. What’s more, compared to the price of the Sony, Philips and Sharp LED backlight set due to be released soon, it seems like a bargain.

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