Impressively it’s also got a built-in digital tuner. And yes, this digital tuner is fully supported by an unusually well-presented 7-day electronic programme guide that can be filtered according to programme genre and from which you can directly set timed recording events. What’s more, the LE26R41 also provides a slot for adding subscription cards for ‘pay TV’ services like TopUp TV.
Another unexpected feature discovery at this price point is Samsung’s Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) image processing system. This multifaceted beast is designed to improve a number of picture elements, including motion handling, colour response, contrast range and fine detail.
Elsewhere within the Samsung’s attractive onscreen menus, meanwhile, can be found a noise reduction system, a dynamic contrast routine that assesses incoming pictures and adjusts the TV’s contrast levels accordingly, a picture in picture facility, and the means to individually adjust up to six separate colour components.
Pretty much everything about the LE26R41 so far has confounded our price-based expectations of it. And we’re very happy to report that this winning trend continues with its picture quality.
The first thing to strike you – almost literally – is the intensity of the colours on show. Bright scenes look blisteringly vibrant and rich, as an unusually potent backlight drives them off the screen at the same time that some impressive colour processing gives them more natural tones than we’d usually associate with such an in-your-face presentation.
Helping reinforce the colour vibrancy, meanwhile, is one of the better black level performances in the 26in LCD world. This helps the LE26R41 paint deep black parts of the picture without the grey cloud hanging over them that we’ve witnessed on so many LCD TVs.
The LE26R41 also scores big marks with us for the sharpness and detail of its pictures, as they merrily go about portraying every last little pixel of image information from our various HD sources. Our Xbox 360 looks particularly pristine and clean, but the ‘true’ HD broadcasts from Sky’s new HD receiver also look the business.