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Edge-lit LED-based LCD by Samsung explodes--photos

Edge-lit LED technology allows LCD TVs to shrink to just over an inch thick, use less power, and--according to Samsung--preserve or improve upon the picture quality of standard LCD. Here's a look at an "exploded" edge-lit LCD, with all the nitty-gritty exposed.

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David Katzmaier

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1 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung edge-lit LED-based LCD exploded

Here's the "exploded" view of the edge-lit LED-based LCD display. In the foreground is the frame, followed by the LCD element, then the LED lighting assembly.
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2 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung edge-lit LED-based LCD; LED lighting assembly

The heart of the beast is the LED lighting assembly. The LEDs themselves are arranged in strips on all four sides of the panel (the bottom strip was removed for this display). A series of filters, a "light guide," and a reflecting back serve to translate the LEDs' light toward the LCD display itself.
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3 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung edge-lit LED-based LCD; LED lighting assembly

Here's a closer look at the assembly. The rightmost, thinner three panels are the color filter, polarizing filter, and diffuser. The leftmost, notched white panel is the reflecting back, the only one of the five elements that sits behind the row of LEDs (top).

Second from the left is the clear-looking, thicker "light guide," a proprietary Samsung development that uses a series of tiny lens-like refractors to send light from the LEDs along edges toward the middle of the screen. The company claims its edge-lit LED-based LCDs have the same uniformity characteristics as its standard backlit LCD displays. If true, that would be an improvement on the only other edge-lit display we've reviewed so far, the Sony KLV-40ZX1M.

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4 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung edge-lit LED-based LCD; LEDs

Here's a closeup of the LEDs themselves, which are visible along the strip at the top. Despite their yellowish appearance, each produces white light, which is filtered and sent through the LCD panel. According to Samsung, the advantage of using white LEDs, as opposed to the multicolored "triluminous" LEDs in Sony's XBR8 models, is purer reproduction of color-corrected primary and secondary colors at low luminance levels, as well as better energy efficiency.

Here's where we mention that, unlike so-called local dimming LED based displays we've reviewed in the past, these edge-lit models can't dim or turn off the LEDs selectively. That's why we expect that the black-level performance of edge-lit LED-based LCD displays won't match that of local dimming models, such as the Sony XBR8 or Samsung's own A950 series.

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5 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung edge-lit LED-based LCD; LCD panel

The LCD panel is the 1080p variety, containing the liquid-crystal elements that create the image from the filtered LED light.
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6 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung edge-lit LED-based LCD; circuit boards

Samsung slimmed down its circuit boards to fit inside the display's ultrathin chassis.
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7 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung edge-lit LED-based LCD; connectivity

Even the connection bay is slimmed down, although it looks like there's still room for all but the thickest cables.
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8 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung edge-lit LED-based LCD; power consumption

Samsung claims the displays use 40% less power than conventional Energy Star-certified LCD TVs of similar size.
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9 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung edge-lit LED-based LCD; overview

Seen from the front, they look like normal LCD TVs.
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Samsung edge-lit LED-based LCD; side view

Seen from the side, the thinness of the edge-lit LED-based LCD is readily apparent. The sets measure just 1.2 inches thick.
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11 of 11 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung edge-lit LED-based LCD; asking for review samples

Apparently Samsung is sending a UN46B7000 to CNET for review. Until then, here's what we know.

Samsung edge-lit LED-based LCD product info:

UNB6000 series

UNB7000 series

UNB8000 series

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