|Samsung LN-T4071F LCD HDTV|
|Home Theater Flat Panel HDTVs LCD HDTVs|
|Written by Andrew Robinson|
|Saturday, 01 March 2008|
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I kicked things off with some SD material starting with the anime follow-up to Ghost in the Shell, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (Go Fish Pictures). Ghost in the Shell 2 is one of those films that you inevitably have to watch a few times in order to fully understand it, unlike its predecessor, which was digestible after a single viewing. Beyond the story Ghost in the Shell 2 features some stunning visuals and eye-popping colors, which on the LN-T407IF was quite a treat. I played Ghost in the Shell 2 through my AppleTV and ripped it (yes, I own the DVD) at full DVD resolution and turned the AppleTV’s internal up-sampling off for a true 480i image. Keep in mind the LN-T407IF’s internal processors scale all content to 1080p via its HDMI and component video inputs. The colors were magnificent, punchy, well-saturated and among the best I’ve seen this side of Pixar’s Ratatouille on Blu-ray. I can’t call them natural, for this is an animated flick and everything takes on a bit of hyper-realism, but nevertheless, animated or not, the color rendering was awesome. Black levels were good, although absolute black did escape the LN-T407IF’s grasp on this particular selection. Absolute black is a hard pill for many LCD TVs to swallow and the LN-T407IF proved to be no different, but in comparison to budget LCDs, the Samsung faired exceptionally well. White levels were brilliant and well-composed amidst the copious amount of detail crammed into every frame. Edge fidelity was better than what I expected from a 480i signal and there was clarity and depth to the image that bordered on feeling more HD than SD. Motion was smooth and digital artifacts and jaggies were kept to an absolute minimum. I experimented with the Auto Motion Plus settings, but with this particular film, they seemed to be more of a hindrance than an advantage, so I left them off.
Next, I cued up the James Cameron epic, Titanic (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment) on my AppleTV. This time, I set the full resolution transfer to 1080i. Again, the LN-T407IF took the 1080i signal and converted it to 1080p for this test. This time around, the colors were less hyper and more real, albeit a bit stylized for effect but true to the theatrical presentation. Skin tones were warm and hard-to-render colors, like metallic surfaces, looked like the real thing. Getting back to skin for a moment, the LN-T407IF didn’t smooth over the details, presenting lifelike texture in the characters’ faces, as well as in the period clothing and costume design. From my viewing position, I could easily tell the difference between the various textiles that made up many of the elaborate costumes. Black levels remained about the same as in Ghost in the Shell 2, as did the white levels. Edge fidelity remained strong and, while the image didn’t posses quite the same depth, it was nevertheless impressive and had more to do with the cinematography than with the LN-T407IF itself.
Satisfied with the LN-T407IF’s internal processing on standard-definition material, I fired up my PlayStation 3 for some Blu-ray fun, starting with the remake of 3:10 to Yuma (Lionsgate Home Entertainment), starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. With my PS3 set to 1080p/24, 3:10 to Yuma proved to be a visual treat. Black levels improved as the LN-T407IF inched towards achieving absolute black. While I’d say the LN-T407IF got 98 percent of the way there, it was the level of detail in the darker regions of the picture that got me excited. Transitions from dark to light were smooth, with no signs of the banding that you find on cheaper LCDs. White levels were brilliant and showed no signs of blooming, even when faced with the neutral colors of the desert on a hot summer’s day. Fine details, down to the grains of sand and dirt on the canyon floor, were present and accounted for. Once again, the LN-T407IF’s color rendering was exceptional. As with Titanic, details and colors in the actors’ skin and clothing were lifelike and the whole presentation was enhanced by the LN-T407IF’s already stellar edge fidelity. During the film’s wide shots, the depth to the image was among the best I’ve seen in an LCD display. I went ahead and turned the Auto Motion Plus setting on and achieved some interesting results. With the setting maxed out, the motion was overtly smooth, resulting in a not-so-lifelike presentation. Focusing on things like the wagon wheels with the Auto Motion setting on High was rather jarring, much like focusing on a single fan blade on your ceiling fan and watching it yank endlessly around in a circle. Turning the Auto Motion to Low proved to be much more acceptable. Fast-moving action smoothed out a bit and the sense of separation from the surrounding elements improved without seeming like a bad green screen composite. I ultimately left the Auto Motion on Low when viewing Blu-ray discs, but left it off for everything else.
I ended my time with another Blu-ray disc, Spider-Man 3 (Sony Home Entertainment). With the Auto Motion setting on Low, Spider-Man 3 was a visual blitzkrieg. The film itself was horrid on nearly every level and suffered the third installment of the franchise disease I’ve come to loathe in Hollywood. Not much changed performance-wise between Blu-ray discs that caused me to take note. Once again, the LN-T407IF’s attention to detail was excellent, as was its rendering of color, especially when presented with the almost Crayola-inspired color pallette of Spider-Man 3. Spider-Man 3 possessed the best blacks I’d seen so far through the LN-T407IF, showcased successfully in the CG-rendered character Venom, played by Topher Grace. The Sandman looked equally impressive on the LN-T407IF, with seemingly every grain of sand and debris appearing on the screen with terrific dimension and detail.