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Samsung LCDs promise six-figure contrast

Samsung introduced two lines of LCD HDTVs, one of which has the highest contrast ratio spec seen yet on a flat-panel HDTV.

(Update 11-14-07) Since this post first published, we have reviewed the 46-inch model from each series described below. For complete details check out the full reviews of the Samsung LN-T4671F and the Samsung LN-T4681F . For further information on the company's less-expensive lineup of flat-panel LCD HDTVs, check out our roundup.

Samsung LN-T71F series

Samsung LN-T71F series
Samsung LN-T71F series Samsung

The big step-up feature for this series is a 120Hz refresh rate, which is said to cut down on the motion blur sometimes seen by sharp-eyed viewers in fast-moving scenes -- although in our tests of 60Hz LCDs, motion blur hasn't been an issue. Samsung's processing also smooths out judder inherent in film-based sources, a feature found on 120Hz LCDs from Sony and Toshiba, among others. Compared to the less-expensive 65F series, the 71F series also boasts a higher contrast ratio, which might mean better black-level performance, but we doubt if the improvement is all that noticeable despite the very high 25,000:1 spec. Styling is also a bit different, too, incorporating chrome plating to accent the standard glossy black. Of course, these models include the same shiny screen we complained about in the LN-T4665F review, which Samsung calls "Super clear panel."

Models (estimated selling prices)

Step-up features (over the LN-T65F series)

  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • anti-judder processing
  • 25,000:1 contrast ratio
  • chrome plating

Samsung LN-T81F series

Samsung LN-T81F series
Samsung LN-T81F series Samsung

Samsung's highest-end LCD-based HDTVs for 2007, the LN-T81F series, includes the first widely distributed flat-panel LCDs that replace the traditional fluorescent backlight (the TV's light source) with LED technology. The benefits, according to Samsung, include more-accurate color and better black-level performance, to the extent that the company is claiming a 100,000:1 contrast ratio, the highest yet for a shipping flat-panel set. The TVs are said to achieve these deep black levels because the dark areas of the display can be turned off completely--traditional LCD backlights are always on, which causes "black" areas of the picture to brighten a bit as the light leaks through--with so-called local dimming technology. All this pretty-sounding technology costs a pretty penny compared to the 71F series (from $300 to $600 extra depending on screen size), but it has the potential to really improve picture quality. Needless to say, we're excited to review one of the 81F series and check out the claims for ourselves. As we mentioned above, the 81F series lacks the 120Hz scan rate of the 71F series, but does offer anti-judder processing.

Models (estimated selling prices)

Step-up features

  • LED backlight
  • local dimming
  • 100,000:1 contrast ratio