Samsung announced its new lineup of "LED TVs" at CES in January, and gave CNET editors a walk-through today to preview the technology. The company also set prices, and as expected, it'll cost you a fortune to take one of these thin models home.
The name "LED TV" sounds simple enough, but it's important to remember that these inch-thin sets are actually otherwise normal LCD (liquid-crystal display) TVs that use LEDs (light-emitting diodes) instead of the standard fluorescent backlights. But it gets even more confusing. We've reviewed LED-based LCD displays before, most recently the Sony KDL-55XBR8 and Samsung LN46A950--the two best-performing LCD TVs we've ever tested. A lot of the credit for those TVs' excellent picture quality can be attributed to their local dimming technology; groups of LEDs behind the screen can be dimmed or turned off to achieve those deep, inky blacks we all love so much.
The 2009 Samsung LED TVs we're previewing here do not utilize local dimming, so we don't expect them to match the picture quality of the local dimming sets. Of course, we'll know more once we can review one. In the meantime, we'll refer to the new displays as "edge-lit LED-based LCDs." More complex, we know, but also quite a bit more accurate.
The slideshow above goes into the nitty-gritty behind, or along the edge of, the technology. The short story is that the LEDs themselves are arranged along all four edges of the screen, and a special "light guide" sends light toward the middle. The result, according to the company, is similar uniformity characteristics to standard backlit LCD displays.
Edge-lit LED-based displays are also 40 percent more energy-efficient than standard Energy Star-certified LCD sets, and measure just 1.2 inches thick.
The downside is that they're extremely expensive. The cheapest model, the 32-inch UN32A6000 ($1,599), will cost more than twice as much as the company's standard 1080p 32-incher, model LN32B530 ($749) does.… Read more