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New Samsung LCD TVs boast thinner bezels, LED backlights

Full details on the just-announced Samsung Series 8 and Series 9 LCD TVs.

Samsung Series 9 LCD TV
Samsung Series 9 LCD TV Samsung

Samsung today ushered in new high-end models to its LCD TV lineup: the Series 8 and Series 9 flat-panel LCD HDTVs. They're the step-ups to the Series 6 and Series 7 models, both of which garnered high marks when reviewed by CNET earlier this year (the LN52A650 scored an Editors' Choice). Full details follow.

Samsung Series 8 LCD HDTVs

Samsung Series 8 LCD TV
Samsung Series 8 LCD TV (with blue Touch of Color accent) Samsung

  • Samsung LN-46A850 (46-inch; $2,700; September 2008)
  • Samsung LN-52A850 (52-inch; $3,400; September 2008)
  • Samsung LN-46A860 (46-inch; $2,800; September 2008)
  • Samsung LN-52A860 (52-inch; $3,500; September 2008)

Key features of the Samsung Series 8 line:

  • native 1080p resolution
  • 120Hz refresh rate with dejudder processing
  • 4 HDMI inputs (3 rear, 1 side)
  • slim "Touch of Color" bezel (rose accent on the A850 models, blue on the A860s)
  • InfoLink (access to online RSS content from USA Today, including news, weather, and stock quotes)
  • digital media playback via USB and DLNA network sources (play MP3 audio, JPEG photos, XviD and MPEG4 videos)
  • Energy Star compliant

At first glance, the Series 8 line doesn't look too terribly different than the Series 7. The main step-ups here are the thinner bezel (1.9 inches at its widest point) and the fact that you can opt for the midnight blue color, which a lot of folks will likely prefer to the rose red accent. One note on the so-called DLNA compliance: in the Series 7 model, we found that the TV only recognized digital media from a PC running Samsung's own server software. That's fine, but that doesn't measure up to our understanding of the DLNA standard, which is supposed to provide for streaming from any DLNA-certified device, such as network hard drives.

Samsung Series 9 LCD HDTVs (pictured at top)

  • Samsung LN-46A950 (46-inch; $3,200; August 2008)
  • Samsung LN-55A950 (52-inch; $4,200; August 2008)
Key step-up features of the Samsung Series 9 line:
  • LED backlit LCD screen
  • "Touch of Color" bezel (charcoal gray accent)

The big step-up for the Series 9 is the LED backlighting (as opposed to the compact fluorescent backlights on standard LCD models). It'll be interesting to see if Samsung has improved its LED backlight technology beyond the level we saw implemented in 2007's LN-T81F line.

All of the above models are equipped with an Ethernet port for accessing the Internet or network-based digital media and information. However, the $35 Wireless LinkStick accessory will add Wi-Fi access as well (to the Series 8 models, at least).

CNET will strive to review these latest Samsung TVs as soon as they're available. In the meantime, for those who don't need the streaming media features, thinner bezels, or LED backlight, the Series 6 models continue to deliver the best bang for the buck in the Samsung 2008 LCD lineup.

Source: Samsung press releases (Series 8, Series 9) via EngadgetHD