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Samsung LE52M87BD 52in LCD TV - Samsung LE52M87BD

The LE52M87BD’s groundbreaking HDMIs are joined by plenty of other connection goodness, including the component video feed demanded by the HD Ready specification, a D-Sub PC port, a CI slot to support what’s clearly a built-in digital tuner (that’s one lesson learned from the 40F71, then), and a digital audio output for passing on to a suitable AV receiver any digital audio tracks that might be brought in by the HDMIs.

All these features already, and we haven’t even touched the LE52M87BD’s well-presented onscreen menus yet. Highlights among the options there include a dynamic contrast feature that adjusts the backlight output automatically so that dark scenes can enjoy better black levels; a Movie Plus mode that supposedly adjusts the set’s progressive scan processing to produce clearer, smoother motion (thus tackling a key LCD technology weakness); and Samsung’s proprietary Digital Natural Image Engine processing for boosting colours, contrast, sharpness and fine detailing.

One last important feature we need to cover on the LE52M87BD is its new Super Clear panel design. This apparently radically reduces the amount of colour and light diffusion that occurs as light emerges from the LCD screen, resulting in more vivid colours and deeper black levels.

This new panel design in conjunction with the dynamic contrast feature allows Samsung to claim a frankly phenomenal contrast ratio for the LE52M87BD of 15000:1 – the highest such figure we’ve ever seen on an LCD TV.

Before we get TOO carried away by this it’s worth reflecting that contrast figures produced by backlit screen technologies like LCD TVs are never as ‘pure’ as those of self-illuminating technologies like plasma TVs, since the backlit ones depend on reducing brightness to hit their deepest blacks. But that doesn’t stop us from expecting black levels from the LE52M87BD that at least break new ground by LCD standards.
And we’re happy to report that this is exactly what it does. Dark scenes genuinely look black, avoiding LCD’s common tendency towards grey or blue tones over black areas.

In fact, the LE52M87BD’s black levels during run-throughs of notoriously dark footage such as Superman’s night-time tour of Metropolis with Lois Lane tucked under his arm in Superman Returns really do look more authentic and cinematic than we’ve ever seen them on any other LCD TV.

The latest 50in plasma turns from Panasonic, Pioneer and actually Samsung itself arguably still offer deeper, or at least more subtly detailed black levels than the LE52M87BD. But many other plasma brands’ black levels are left trailing in the LE52M87BD’s wake, meaning it makes a serious dent in this traditional plasma defence.

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