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Samsung LE46F86BD 46in LCD TV
Although we (nearly!) always welcome new technologies at TrustedReviews, when seemingly countless new innovations continue to appear around one particular core technology, as is currently the case with LCD TVs, a cynical little voice inside us sometimes wonders whether any technology that requires so much obvious effort to get working right is really the best one for the job in the first place.
We tell you this now not - we promise - as the introduction to a thorough slating of LCD as a TV technology. Our intention instead is to give you some indication of our ever-so-slightly jaded mindset as we took receipt of Samsung's new 46in LCD TV, so that you can appreciate just how hard it had to work to earn the sort of marks you see splashed across the top of this review.
The ‘new' technology Samsung is crowing about on its latest 46in LCD TV - the LE46F86BD - and which led to our momentary scepticism, is 100Hz. Regular readers will realise, of course, that this isn't a new technology to LCD in general at all. A number of brands have tried it before, with varying degrees of success. But the LE46F86DB is certainly Samsung's first stab at 100Hz - and given that the Korean megacorps allegedly refused to launch the technology earlier on the grounds that it couldn't get it working as well as it wanted to, there's definitely some pressure on it to deliver the goods.
Why does 100Hz matter anyway? It's all to do with LCD technology's problems showing moving objects without reducing their resolution. Essentially LCD pixels just can't react quickly enough to resolve motion properly in real time. So the idea with 100Hz is that by doubling the refresh rate of standard PAL images via processing, you can effectively reintroduce at least some of the motion resolution lost by LCD's response time issues.
The argument appears to hold water in principal, and we've seen some pretty decent evidence of it working very nicely. But we've also seen moments when the system rather falls down due to conflicts with other elements of a TV's picture processing, or a simple inability to work fast enough to keep up with the action. So here's hoping Samsung's processing system is up to the job.
Raising fears that it might not be is the full title Samsung has given to its 100Hz system: 100Hz Motion Plus. For this clearly refers to the Motion Plus system we've found fault with on previous Samsung LCD TVs. Motion Plus works in a similar way to 100Hz, by interpolating extra frames of image data to crispen up motion. But we've found that while Motion Plus does deliver on its promise, it only does so at the expense of some pretty distracting noise around the edges of moving objects. Hmm.