Heading up the 46A656’s other features is 100Hz processing, which doubles the normal PAL refresh rate in a bid to reduce LCD’s problems with portraying motion, whereby resolution is lost over moving objects.
While this sounds good news on paper, we have seen one or two 100Hz systems cause more nasty processing side effects than we’re comfortable with. Even more scarily, some previous Samsung stabs at improving the appearance of motion on its LCD sets, such as Movie Plus, have proved distinctly unimpressive.
On the upside, the 100Hz system has proved pretty effective on the 32in and 40in A656 models, so hopefully it will stretch that bit further and also hold up to scrutiny at 46in.
Other notable adjustments and options the 46A656 offers include a 120MHz mode designed for purer playback of 24fps sources (120MHz is a straight x5 multiple of 24fps, helping simplify the necessary processing algorithms), three levels of black level boosting, gamma controls, colour space adjustment, flesh tone adjustment, edge enhancement, noise reduction, and picture-in-picture features.
Settling myself down for a few hours in front of the 46A656’s colossal but still oh-so-cute screen, two things become apparent right away. First, the 100Hz engine is still very good indeed. But second, the picture overall doesn’t look quite as pristine as with the smaller A656 models.
To test out the 100Hz fully, I fed the set a combination of the recent England/New Zealand test cricket and the Blu-ray release of the kinetic ”Pirates of the Caribbean”. And I’m happy to report that with the cricket, as the ball scooted away to the boundary for Four, its motion was smooth and crisp, and it wasn’t affected by the sort of ghosting artefacts seen with some rival 100Hz systems. And with Pirates, Johnny Depp’s swashbuckling foppery never puts a blurry foot wrong.
The 100Hz system isn’t completely perfect; some edges gain an unwanted gentle halo around them at times, and one or two really, really fast patches of movement can flicker. Plus the system can make pictures look over-processed if you choose its ‘High’ option. But on the low or medium setting the positives far outstrip the negatives, and that’s enough to make this reviewer at least very happy.