Samsung LN46A950 LCD HDTV Reviewed

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Samsung_LN46A950_LCD_HDTV_review.gifThe 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.

Additional Resources
• Read more LED HDTV reviews from the staff at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Check out our Blu-ray Player Review section to find the ideal match for the LN46A950.

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.

HTR Product Rating for Samsung LN46A950 LCD HDTV

Criteria Rating

Performance

4

Value

4

Overall

4

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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The LN46A950 also features three entertainment modes called sports, cinema, and games; each offers fixed video and audio settings meant to suit that type of entertainment. So, if you don't wish to wade through all the video and audio parameters we just described, you can simply select an entertainment mode and let the TV make the adjustments for you.

High Points
• The local-dimming LED backlight system allows this LCD to produce better blacks and have a better overall contrast than many traditional LCD TVs.
• The second-generation LED models add Auto Motion Plus 120Hz technology, which effectively reduces motion blur and offers multiple settings to tailor the motion to your liking. Those who do not like the effects of Auto Motion Plus motion interpolation can instead use the LED Motion Plus feature to reduce motion blur, or you can use both technologies together for best results.
• The Ultra Clear Panel's reflective screen does help blacks look darker and create better contrast in a room with some ambient lighting.
• This TV has a 1080p resolution and will accept 24p sources via its HDMI inputs.
• The TV has numerous connection options and picture adjustments.
• The Ethernet port allows for media streaming and access to news, weather, and stock information.

Low Points
• The Ultra Clear Panel makes reflected images more visible (even more so than many plasmas), which can be distracting when trying to watcher dark content in a very bright room.
• Because of the LED technology, this TV is more expensive than many other 120Hz 46-inch HDTVs.

Conclusion
The LN46A950 represents the finest that Samsung has to offer in the LCD realm, but its excellent performance and full complement of features will cost you. That said, this 46-inch model is less expensive than the similarly sized LED model from Sony, which is currently its only performance rival in the world of LCD HDTVs.

Additional Resources
• Read more LED HDTV reviews from the staff at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Check out our Blu-ray Player Review section to find the ideal match for the LN46A950.


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