Other notable bits and bobs the LE40A656 offers include a 120MHz mode designed for purer playback of 24fps sources (as 120MHz is a straight x5 multiple of 24fps, helping to keep the necessary processing algorithms simple), three levels of black level boosting, gamma controls, colour space adjustment, flesh tone adjustment, edge enhancement, noise reduction, and picture in picture features.
Moving on to the analysis of the LE40A656’s picture quality, there’s one thing I need to get cleared up right away: the concerns I raised earlier about this TV’s 100Hz processing are completely unfounded. For the 100Hz engine actually proves to be not only good, but one of the best in the business.
Deciding to push it hard right away with some HD football coverage, I was pretty much blown away by just how sharply and fluidly the screen portrays the players as they charge around the pitch. There’s practically no trouble at all with the usual loss of resolution or edge blurring, even when the camera pans to track the ball.
Even better, provided you stick with the 100Hz system’s Low or Medium settings, the processing making this motion handling possible does its job with minimal side effects; an occasional little halo effect here, a flash of edge flicker there, but nothing at all significant in the context of all the good work the processing is doing.
The same striking motion sharpness and fluidity crosses over to film playback too, especially if you’re watching a 24p feed from a Blu-ray, leaving you freer to appreciate another key LE40A656 benefit: excellent fine detail resolution. A really high quality HD source like, believe it or not, the Sky HD premiere of ”The Italian Job”, looks immaculately crisp, textured and sharp, with no pixel left unturned in delivering the ultimate HD experience. There’s really no overstating just how great it is to find this traditional Samsung detailing strength at last being laid truly bare thanks to the lack of any motion blur to detract from it.
Also enjoying a substantial improvement over many Samsung LCDs of the past is the LE40A656’s black level response. For starters, the automatic contrast system is far more subtle than any Samsung has delivered before, so that you aren’t distracted by obvious brightness ‘jumps’. And, furthermore, the screen can deliver much deeper, richer blacks than the vast majority of its current rivals. Needless to say this works wonders on your typical, contrast-rich movie.
Good black levels usually accompany good colours, and that’s certainly the case here. Saturations are fearsomely intense, while tones are comfortably the most natural Samsung has ever produced on an LCD TV.
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