Few if any brands play the specification numbers game better than Samsung. For as well as a full HD pixel count of 1,920 x 1,080, the LE40M87BD boasts a remarkably - if not dubiously - high, claimed contrast ratio of 15,000:1. This is only 1,000:1 shy of the figure Pioneer quotes for its KURO plasma TVs, with their practically revolutionary black level response. Hmm.
Obviously achieving such a figure on an LCD TV requires the use of a dynamic backlight system whereby the picture's brightness can be reduced when dark scenes are detected in order to make black levels look deeper. But also playing a part is the LE40M87BD's employment of one of Samsung's new ‘Super Clear' LCD panels, with their various light-leakage filters.
Sitting quite high up the Samsung LCD TV ‘tree', it's no surprise to find the LE40M87BD pretty well stocked with features. On the image processing side, you get Samsung's Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) to improve colours, contrast, motion handling and detailing; Movie Plus which interpolates extra frames of image data to reduce LCD's traditional resolution loss over moving objects; and the self-explanatory ‘edge enhancer'.
There's plenty of fine-tuning available in the attractive onscreen menus too, including almost infinite degrees of colour adjustment, MPEG and standard noise reduction tools configurable to various levels of potency, black adjustment, gamma adjustment, white balance adjustment… Really it's hard to think of an option Samsung hasn't provided.
We do report this with a slight sense of irony, though. For with so much thought having gone into putting so many adjustments at your disposal, it frankly beggars belief how little thought appears to have gone into the TV's factory presets. Clearly designed just to grab attention in a bright shop environment, the LE40M87BD's out-of-the-box pictures threaten to damage retinas at home and leave most sources you pipe in looking essentially pants.
Happily, though, provided you're careful and selective with all those fine-tuning features (we'd suggest you arm yourself with the (Digital Video Essentials disc and its helpful test signals), you can get the LE40M87BD to deliver some really very nice pictures indeed.