The Series 9 HDTVs are the second generation of LCDs to utilize Samsung's LED SmartLighting technology, first available in the now-discontinued 81 Series. This premium Samsung line includes two models, sized at 55 and 46 inches, and adds Samsung's Auto Motion Plus 120Hz technology, which was not offered in the first-generation LED line. We have not performed a hands-on review of the LN46A950, but here is an overview of the TV's features. While a traditional LCD employs a fluorescent backlighting system, this TV uses clusters of LED backlights; the system's local-dimming design allows the LEDs to respond dynamically to the content onscreen, turning off certain LEDs to create deeper blacks in areas of the picture that call for it. Local dimming is more successful than a standard backlight at allowing black areas to look black while still letting bright areas remain bright, which gives the picture excellent contrast. Samsung's LED Motion Plus technology sequentially scans the backlights to help reduce motion blur, and LEDs also lack the mercury found in fluorescents, which makes this a more environmentally friendly TV. The 46-inch, 1080p LN46A950 also features Samsung's Auto Motion Plus 120Hz technology to further reduce motion blur and to reduce judder in film-based sources. The 46LNA950 uses an Ultra Clear Panel designed to reject ambient light to help improve contrast and black levels in brighter viewing environments. It also sports Samsung's Touch of Color design, with a patterned charcoal-gray accent color around the edge of the gloss-black cabinet.
The generous connection panel includes four HDMI, two component video, and one PC input, plus an RF input to access the internal ATSC, NTSC, and Clear-QAM tuners. The HDMI inputs accept both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 signals, and one is located on the side panel for easy access. Picture-in-picture functionality is available. Samsung has also included a number of connections that will appeal to the digital photo/music fan and Web user: Enjoy MP3s, JPEGs, and digital video via the side-panel USB port; or, thanks to the addition of an Ethernet port, you can stream digital content from a PC or DLNA-certified server. The Ethernet port also lets you utilize Samsung's InfoLink RSS service to access news, stock, and weather information. The TV has onboard flash memory and comes preloaded with artwork, recipes, games, children's music, and more.
Samsung has incorporated a number of video and audio adjustments to fine-tune the TV's performance. In addition to three picture modes (dynamic, standard, and movie), five color-temperature options, and digital noise reduction, the LN46A950's menu features advanced white-balance, gamma, and fleshtone controls, plus multiple color spaces with the ability to independently adjust six color points. Samsung has added a Blue-Only mode that makes it easier to correctly set the TV's color and tint. You can enable or disable LED Motion Plus to address motion blur, while the Auto Motion Plus 120Hz menu offers multiple settings, each of which affects the image quality differently. The off mode simply repeats frames to create 120Hz (which many film purists prefer), while the low, medium, and high modes perform varying degrees of motion interpolation to create smoother movement with film-based sources. Using LED Motion Plus and Auto Motion Plus together will most effectively reduce motion blur. The LN46A950 has six aspect ratios, including a Just Scan mode that displays 1080i/1080p sources with no overscan.
On the audio side, the menu includes five preset sound modes, and an equalization feature lets you further tweak various frequencies within each mode. SRS TruSurround XT processing is offered, and an Auto Volume function reduces level variations between TV shows and commercials.
Read about the high points and the low points of the LN46A950 on Page 2.