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Samsung LE52F96: LEDs make black even blacker

Samsung has decided to shake up the world of LCD backlighting by removing the boring old fluorescent tube and replacing it with more exciting LEDs. Contrast ahoy!

Yes, it's true: Samsung thinks the kerazee world of audio-visual entertainment doesn't have enough three-letter acronyms, so it's decided to bring LEDs to LCD TVs. The massive LE52F96 is one of the first TVs to feature an LED backlight, which replaces the traditional cathode-based system.

The result of the LED backlight is that the TV can selectively dim areas of the screen that are showing black. Imagine a sci-fi movie such as perennial Crave fave Serenity, which features a far amount of messing about in the inky blackness of space -- the Samsung can do a far better job with this sort of thing than a traditional LCD.

Indeed, Samsung claims that the dynamic contrast ratio is a whopping 500,000:1, which is a remarkable figure and certainly light years ahead of the competition. The F96 also has all the other trimmings we've come to expect from a high-end TV. It's 1080p-ready, and offers three HDMI 1.3 sockets, hidden speakers and a cool blue standby button that glows seductively when the TV is on -- you can turn it off if it isn't to your taste.

Obviously all the usual features are present too. There's a built-in Freeview receiver, a bundle of analogue inputs including S-Video, a pair of Scart sockets and component. It can also send digital sound to your AV receiver via its optical digital out.

The LE52F96 costs a moderately hefty £2,600, but if you're patient we're certain the price will fall as time goes on. If the 52-inch model isn't big enough for your palace/mansion/castle then there's a 70-incher -- surprisingly called the LE70F96 -- available, but at £28,000 it costs about the same as a car and is a similar size.

Update: A full review of the Samsung LE52F96 is now available. -Ian Morris