|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 find it amazing how far video quality has come in such a short amount of time. It seems only yesterday that I was reading and lusting over flat panel EDTVs that cost more than I made in a year to today’s endless buffet of HD sets at prices my 16-year-old brother can afford. It appears, at least for the time being, that 1080p is the Holy Grail for all things HD video. However, not wanting to rest on their laurels, manufacturers have pioneered new ways of making 1080p stronger, faster, better. Now, your 1080p display has to have 120Hz refresh rate and be able to accept a native 24p signal from today’s leading-edge HD sources.
I was first introduced to 120Hz earlier this year with the Sony Bravia KDS-55A3000 rear-projection TV, which I thought was utterly fantastic. I was so smitten by the improvements 120Hz afforded me that I went out and purchased the Samsung LN-T407IF, reviewed here, for my bedroom system. Was it worth it? We’ll see …
The Samsung LN-T407IF retails for $2,399, which is a lot for a 40-inch HD LCD these days. However, many retailers are selling the Samsung for much less, as seems to be the case with all HDTVs these days. The Samsung LN-T407IF is a sexy-looking TV, among the most visually appealing ones I’ve come across in a while, with its piano black lacquer finish and flush-mounted, touch-sensitive controls. The Samsung LN-T407IF is stylistically minimal, to say the least, but there is a sort of design oneness that makes it far more elegant than most of the competition. The Samsung LN-T407IF measures 43-and-one-eighth inches wide by 24 inches tall and four inches deep. It comes with an attached (but removable) table stand that increases its depth to just over 11 inches. The Samsung LN-T407IF weighs a manageable 43 pounds without its stand and 52 pounds with it. Needless to say, this isn’t the sort of TV you’ll need a great deal of help moving around.
Outside of its physical dimensions, the Samsung LN-T407IF sports a 40-inch 16x9 LCD screen with a semi-gloss coating, boasting a pixel resolution of 1920x1080. The Samsung LN-T407IF claims a six-millisecond response time, as well as a reported contrast ratio of 25,000:1 in Dynamic mode. The Samsung LN-T407IF also states a 178-degree viewing angle with fluorescent backlighting for a wider viewing sweet spot for the whole family to enjoy. The Samsung LN-T407IF comes with built-in side-mounted stereo speakers that aren’t all bad, believe it or not. Turning my attention to the rear of the Samsung LN-T407IF, I noticed a host of connection options, as well as a few more mounted along the left side of the display. Suffice to say, those still rocking the yellow, white and red cables of yore are covered, but for those a bit more with the times, you’ll find two 1080p-capable component video inputs, as well as three 1080p HDMI 1.3 inputs. A word on the Samsung LN-T407IF’s HDMI inputs: two are located on the back, with one resting along the side for those impromptu HD demonstrations. Most HDMI cables are so damn thick that they don’t allow for a great deal of flexibility, and even with my most flexible cable, I could see the connector dangling off the side of the display, which marred the Samsung LN-T407IF’s otherwise flawless appearance. So if you’re going for a more professional-looking installation, you’re going to want to use the back inputs, saving the side one for when your kids want to play Nintendo Wii. There is also a PC input, as well as analog and digital audio inputs for each of the video connections. Lastly, there is a USB 2.0 input on the side for those of you who like to view digital photos on your TV.
Behind the scenes, the Samsung LN-T407IF has quite an arsenal of features that keep in line with, if not ahead of, the ever-changing competition. For starters, the LN-T407IF features a 120Hz refresh rate with Samsung’s own Auto Motion Plus “anti-blur” technology, which interpolates and creates unique frames between the existing ones for a more lifelike and flicker-free presentation. Samsung’s version of this Auto Motion Plus technology is not unlike Sony’s MotionFlow and similar incarnations from other leading manufacturers. Like the others, Samsung’s Auto Motion Plus technology has several settings, ranging from low to high, each affecting the image differently in both good and bad ways – I’ll get into that later. The LN-T407IF has built-in digital and analog TV tuners for snatching up over-the-air broadcasts, as well as single-tuner picture and picture capability. The LN-T407IF also features x.v. Color Technology, which is the new color standard, developed by Sony for HDMI 1.3-capable HDTVs. Do not fret about the x.v., for it’s not really anything new, but rather a re-branding of Sony’s xvYCC color standard, which many HD manufacturers use today. One notable feature that the LN-T407IF has that does nothing to enhance picture quality, but does enhance daily livability is its Anynet+ HDMI capability. In a nutshell, Anynet+ HDMI connections allow you to control compatible HDMI-connected components from a single remote without having to utilize expensive control systems or signal boosters. Anynet+ is a cool concept and, if you own a barrage of other Samsung gear, like their Blu-ray player, you’re in business. However, after doing a few Google searches for other Anynet+ products, I was unable to find any outside of Samsung’s own brand. Still, system control via HDMI is an interesting concept.
Which brings me to the remote. While complete system control without line of sight via HDMI is cool and all, it would help if the remote was a bit more user-friendly to facilitate that dream. The LN-T407IF’s remote is long, narrow and as cluttered as they come. It features some of the smallest buttons I’ve seen in a long time and has the most useless backlighting I’ve ever come across. I’m not opposed to push-button backlighting, but when the button is never illuminated, you have a huge problem. The only buttons that light up are channel and volume, which are about as useful as a third tit when watching a Blu-ray disc in the dark.
The Samsung LN-T407IF took the place of the Sony KDS-55A3000 in my bedroom system. While not as large as the KDS, the LN-T407IF proved to be a much better fit. Connecting it to my associated equipment was a snap, for I’m currently between 5.1 audio systems in my bedroom, so I only had to connect my Playstation 3, AppleTV and Dish Network receiver to the LN-T407IF via one-meter runs of UltraLink HDMI cables.
I went ahead and brought my Toshiba HD-A20 HD DVD player into the room for calibration purposes, as I own Digital Video Essentials on HD DVD only. From a calibration standpoint, the LN-T407IF proved to be rather simple. The LN-T407IF’s menus were clear and legible, and navigating them was simpler than most. My particular LN-T407IF came from the factory in Dynamic mode, which on LCD TVs is a bit like looking into the sun, especially in a darkened room. LCDs have their share of calibration woes due to their need for backlighting, which differs from standard picture controls like brightness, picture, etc. that you’ll find on plasma TVs. I ended up tweaking the LN-T407IF’s Standard setting and arrived at a custom setting roughly between Samsung’s own Standard and Cinema factory presets. All in all, I was up and running in roughly an hour or so.