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Samsung LE55A956 55in LCD TV - Samsung LE55A956
Actually, although I'm conscious that I seem to be using a lot of hyperbole in my latest two or three reviews, I really have no option but to say that the LE55A956 delivers the single most dynamic picture we've ever seen on a flat TV.
For while standard LCD TVs can do ultra-vivid colours and extreme brightness, they can't deliver that alongside deep, deep black levels. And while the best plasma TVs can do extreme black levels, their pictures aren't as bright as those of LCD. On the evidence of the LE55A956, as we'd hoped from the early promise of last year's LE52F96, LED really can put ultra-bright next to ultra-dark in a way not previously seen outside of a cinema. And the effect is stunning.
Another benefit of LED technology is its potential for delivering a wider colourscape. And here too the LE55A956 delivers on its promise, as the colour range on show from the excellent Pirates Blu-ray is intense, dynamic, and just somehow more expressive than we're used to seeing it.
Indeed, initially I felt that colours were a little too rich, that they started to look slightly unnatural. But happily, adjusting the set's Colour Space to Auto or Custom away from the Native factory preset (which seems to expand a source's colours to fill the full gamut possible from the LED system) soon sorted that out, leaving me staring agog at probably the most colour-rich, punchy image I've seen in a testing environment.
For a while I still occasionally felt that one or two colours looked slightly wrong. But after a little judicious tweaking of the colour settings via the LE55A956's impressive suite of colour adjustments I sorted nearly everything out to my satisfaction.
Another benefit of LED backlit TVs I've not mentioned yet is their potential for portraying motion more successfully than standard LCDs, since the ability to activate areas of luminance in the picture on an individual basis has the potential to reduce the ‘step and hold' effect that blights motion on normal, single-backlight LCD TVs. And here again the LE55A956 doesn't let us down.
The various fights at the beginning of Batman Begins on Blu-ray take place on the Samsung with scarcely a trace of the blurring or stuttering effects witnessed on so many ordinary LCD TVs - especially if you call in the 100Hz engine to further help out the screen's motion handling.
The relative clarity enjoyed by motion on the LE55A956 is backed up in emphatic fashion by the amount of noise-free detailing in its HD presentation, as the inevitable Full HD resolution joins forces with the clear motion and extreme screen size to do a jaw-dropping job of bringing out every last pixel of detail from the superbly coded Batman Begins Blu-ray.
It is possible to damage the LE55A956's generally outstanding HD performance if you're not careful with some of the TV's settings. For instance, the Edge Enhancement tool causes edges to look over-stressed; the 100Hz MotionPlus engine can cause flickering and twitching interference if you set it higher than its Low level; and the digital noise reduction tool can soften pictures up - something you really don't want to happen with HD.