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Samsung LE40M87BD 40in LCD TV - Samsung LE40M87BD
Take, for instance, the LE40M87BD's black levels. During a run-through of Poseidon on HD DVD, the black level response in dark scenes, like those outside the ship at night as it finally sinks, is stunning - possibly the best we've seen on an LCD TV, in terms of both the sheer depth of blackness and the amount of shadow detail retained in dark areas.
The full HD pixel count, meanwhile, earns its corn by the way it renders with pin-point precision all the remarkable textures in the walls of the huge upside-down set of the Poseidon's ball room. It's noticeable, too, how this detailing is delivered without any serious signs of noise - a likely benefit of the TV not having to rescale HD images (provided you use the set's 1:1 pixel mapping mode, called ‘Just Scan' in the onscreen menus).
Colours benefit from the full HD situation, too, in the form of unusually subtle blends to accompany the sort of full-on brightness and rich saturations we usually expect to see from Samsung TVs. Furthermore, during Poseidon's many low-lit sequences, it's clear how well the LE40M87BD copes with skin tones compared with many previous Samsung LCD sets.
There is, it has to be said, room for improvement with the LE40M87BD's motion handling. With the set's Movie Plus mode activated, moving objects look reasonably sharp but suffer with shimmering, flickering noise at their edges. Yet with Movie Plus deactivated, there's a noticeable loss of resolution as objects pass across the screen. We'd also recommend that you deactivate the Edge Enhancement feature, as it over-stresses harsh edges.
In terms of audio, although the TV is perfectly solid sonically, in an ideal world we wouldn't have minded a bit more power from the set's speakers to meet the considerable challenges of Poseidon's ‘wave hitting the boat' sequence.
Although we ended on a little run of negatives, it really doesn't make sense for us to get too churlish about the LE40M87BD. For the simple fact remains that it's a superbly well-featured TV that also happens to produce frequently excellent 40in LCD pictures, especially with HD sources - and if all that isn't worth considering spending just £800 on, we don't know what is.