- Extremely sharp image in both standard and high definition, good colour reproduction, great design, three HDMI ports
- Some noise issues, lots of interference when running D-Sub, reds are quite strong
Samsung's LA40N81BD offers a good choice for users looking to take the leap into high-definition video. While there were some minor aliasing and noise issues during gaming tests, high-definition playback was impressive on the whole, and standard definition was rendered crisply considering the amount of scaling required.
Price$ 2,899.00 (AUD)
Past Samsung 1080p models haven't greatly impressed us, so we were eager to see what the company's latest offering, the LA40N81BD had in store for us. It was a definite improvement. There were some noise and aliasing issues, particularly during gaming and standard definition content, but the high definition image produced was quite impressive and should suite users looking to take the plunge into HD-DVD or Blu-ray.
It has a default resolution of 1920x1080, meaning it can display 1080p content at its native size. During our high definition tests it did this well for the most part. First we ran our Blu-ray version of Casino Royale, which exhibited the crispness and clarity we've come to expect from high-definition films. There was a little noise in block colours and backgrounds, but it wasn't particularly severe.
Next we ran some game demos and video clips at 1080p and 720p via the Xbox 360. Here we spotted a little aliasing and pixelation on some diagonal edges. It was mostly evident in the Xbox interface, but also reared its head during other tests, particularly gaming. There was also a little motion jitter in fast-paced scenes, but colour reproduction was impressive and black levels were deep and rich. Sporting an 8ms response time we expected no major ghosting issues, and even during games with swift action proved to be the case. Overall we felt high-definition playback was the LA40N81BD's strongest area.
Standard-definition footage was not as well rendered, but that is understandable for a 1080p panel. This display has to scale up 576p to its native resolution, almost doubling the amount of information, so some issues are expected. The main problem was a rather large increase in the noise spotted in earlier high definition tests. It was most noticeable in block colours which were quite grainy at times, but the overall picture was still crisp and sharp, and we were impressed with the lack of aliasing or aberrations. Those with large DVD collections should be satisfied with this model, and the problems encountered are merely the trade-off necessary for good 1080p playback.
PC connectivity was a mixed bag. We ran DisplayMate Video Edition at a standard PC resolution of 1920x1200 and when connected via D-Sub, there was a lot of interference and noise across many of the moire test patterns. Running via HDMI provided a better image, but this isn't a solution available to all PC users. Aside from that issue the DisplayMate tests were well rendered. There was great separation between bars on the intensity ramps and only mild stepping on the black and white contrast chart. Colours were bright and vivid and while reds were particularly strong, it seems like Samsung has gone some way to correct the over-abundance of this colour seen in past panels.
Aesthetically the unit is stylish, sporting a piano black bezel that curves slightly downwards at the base. It is simple and elegant and makes a perfect centrepiece for your home entertainment setup. Contributing to this are the speakers, which are cleverly hidden behind the bezel itself. Despite this they produce crisp clear audio and while it won't rival a regular home theatre system, it does the job.
Tech enthusiasts are well catered for here, as this panel sports three HDMI ports. Meanwhile for older devices two component, one composite and a D-Sub connection are included. It also has an HDTV tuner so no set-top box is required.
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