Heading into the LE40C650’s onscreen menus, it’s reassuring to find many of the picture tweaks and features that have graced Samsung’s flagship LED models. These are far too numerous to cover in full, but there are a few highlights we definitely have to mention.
Samsung has equipped the set with 100Hz/Motion Plus processing, and happily it’s gone to unusual lengths to make the ‘strength’ of this processing customisable. For as well as the expected Off, low (‘Clear’), Standard and high (‘Smooth’) options, there’s a Custom setting that lets you adjust with surprising finesse the extent to which the processing works on the separate judder and blur elements of the picture.
This is an excellent idea given that while pretty much everyone hates motion blur, there are plenty of people who find a bit of judder not only tolerable but actually preferable - at least when watching films - to the rather artificial smoothness that heavy duty motion processing can generate.
Other excellent calibration aids are a series of gamma settings, and the facility to adjust the offset and gain of the red, green and blue primary colour components, as well as the RGB balance of the red, green, blue, cyan, magenta and yellow colours.
Samsung has even gone so far as to include a 10-point white balance adjustment, allowing for some remarkably precise greyscale adjustments right across the dark-to-bright spectrum.
You might also want to play with the set’s noise reduction options, flesh tone adjustment, edge enhancement and shadow detail tools, as they each have a quite profound impact on the way pictures look. Actually for us they had a little too brazen an impact - especially the edge enhancement - so we switched them all off. But don’t be afraid to try them for yourselves, and if any of them work for you, then hey, last time we checked, it was a free country.
It only takes a few minutes actually watching the LE40C650’s pictures to realise that they are indeed much improved over those of the 32C580.
These improvements come in no less than three absolutely crucial areas, the most immediately striking of which is black level response. After careful calibration - which included knocking the Backlight setting down to around its 10 level - there’s far less evidence of LCD’s familiar grey clouding over black image parts than there was with the C580 model. In fact, there’s hardly any greyness at all, which makes the LE40C650 one of the best contrast performers in the CCFL LCD TV firmament. Especially since the white point correction system allows you to fine-tune your preferred balance between blackness and visible shadow detail.