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
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-certified LCD sets, and measure just 1.2 inches thick.
The downside is that they're extremely expensive. The cheapest model, the 32-inch
According to Samsung, a UN46B7000 is on its way to CNET for review. Until then, here are the sets' estimated street pricing and availability.
- UNB6000 series, entry-level LED TV
32-inch UN32B6000(available June, $1,699) 40-inch UN40B6000(now, $2,299) 46-inch UN46B6000(now, $2,799) 55-inch UN55B6000(now, $3,599)
- UNB7000 series, step-up adds Yahoo! widgets
40-inch UN40B7000(April, $2,499) 46-inch UN46B7000(now, $2,999) 55-inch UN55B7000(now, $3,799)
- UNB8000 series, step-up adds 240Hz refresh rate
46-inch UN46B8000(May, $3,299) 55-inch UN55B8000(May, $3,999)