It might boast one of the most extensive ranges in town, but Samsung’s UK flat TV offering has nonetheless got something missing; a little something called ‘Full HD’.
The brand may have given us ultra cool designs, wide colour gamut technology, specialist game modes, a wide viewing angle system, special filters for soaking up ambient light, and loads more besides… but squeezing 1,920 x 1,080 pixels into a panel has just not been on the Samsung menu. Until today.
Samsung’s first Full HD LCD TV is the LE40F71BX – and as with all Samsung’s current models, it looks a million dollars. The build quality is impressive, the gloss black finish is sublime, and the little silver strip angled back along the bottom is exquisite.
It’s suitably well connected too, with twin HDMIs and a component video input leading the HD charge, backed up by a PC jack, two Scarts and even slots for JPEG-carrying USB devices or any of nine different multimedia card formats. There’s even a PictBridge output for sending pictures to a printer, for heaven’s sake!
Heading back to the 1,920 x 1,080 full HD resolution, we’re pleased to find Samsung making the most of its pixel count by supporting playback of the new 1080p format now gaining currency thanks to its appearance on many Blu-ray HD film discs.
Aggravatingly, though, the set doesn’t go the extra full HD mile by supporting 1:1 pixel mapping with video sources. In other words, if you feed a 1,920 x 1080 source into the 40F71BX, it automatically applies overscan – and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.
This matters because ‘overscanning’ a picture means pushing the extremities of it off the screen to hide any ‘mess’ a broadcaster or DVD masterer might have left around the edges. But if you push the edges of a 1920x1080 high definition picture off the edges of a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution screen, it follows that you’re having to use scaling software to adjust the incoming picture’s size. So even though this size change to the image might be tiny – around three per cent in the case of this Samsung – it still means you’re no longer showing the picture in its pristine, scaling-free pixel to pixel form and so you’re potentially introducing all kinds of noise and artefacts caused by your scaling system.