Samsung's Series 8 - which features models ending in the numbers 850 or 860 – boasts the slimmest form factor in the company's LCD repertoire, with a cabinet depth of just 1.9 inches. The line includes four models (two 850, two 860) with screen sizes of 46 and 52 inches. This higher-end line boasts similar connectivity and features as Samsung's top-shelf Series 9 models, minus the LED backlighting. These models use a traditional fluorescent backlight. We have not performed a hands-on review of the LN52A850, but here is an overview of the TV's features. This 52-inch, 1080p LCD features Samsung's Auto Motion Plus 120Hz technology to reduce motion blur and judder in film-based sources. The 52LNA850 uses Samsung's Ultra Clear Panel, which is designed to reject ambient light to help improve contrast and black levels in brighter viewing environments. It also sports the Touch of Color design, with a red accent around the edge of the gloss-black cabinet, and has less bezel than previous Touch of Color designs, which further reduces its overall footprint. (The 860 models feature a blue ToC accent instead of red).
The LN52A850's 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 2.0 port (the 860 models add a second 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, an adjustable backlight, and digital noise reduction, the LN52A850'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. 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. The LN52A850 has six aspect ratios, including a Just Scan mode that displays 1080i/1080p sources with no overscan.
On the audio side, the TV features two down-firing speakers with an integrated subwoofer. The setup 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 LN52A850 on Page 2.