Samsung LN-T4671F LCD TV Real-World Performance
Pioneer created a Blu-ray demo disc to show off its Kuro line of plasmas, but that material is great for evaluating all types of displays, especially in terms of black level and shadow detail. The Samsung's blacks were certainly not on par with the Kuros', but no one should expect them to be, especially an LCD with conventional backlighting. Still, they weren't bad by any means, and shadow detail was surprisingly good—that is, once I had set the TV's brightness and backlight controls correctly. Colors were beautiful, and detail was razor-sharp.
Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Radio City on Blu-ray looked fantastic. Colors were gorgeous, with natural skin tones and blonde wood guitars. Detail was likewise superb—Matthews' beard stubble was crisp and clear, as was the pattern on the Asian rug on the stage. Blacks were well-differentiated—for example, Reynolds' black T-shirt and black guitar strap.
Shadow detail was excellent, including dim details at the back of the stage and in audience shots. I prefer a relatively quick rise out of black, so I set the gamma control to +3, its highest setting, which helped the shadow detail even more, though purists will probably want to knock it back a couple of notches from there.
Turning to Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl on Blu-ray, the Samsung produced a smooth, natural image with exceptional color and detail. Shadow detail in night scenes was similarly excellent. As with the Dave Matthews concert, the effect of AMP was subtle at best.
AMP had more impact on the Cars Blu-ray disc, especially during the quick pans across the signs that line the track in the opening race scenes. The text in those signs was significantly sharper when AMP was turned on, and I was starting to really like it—until the scene in which Lightning McQueen is imagining his triumphal success, which includes a shot of the car with stacked tires in front of a tight array of small blue lights. With AMP on, that array looked all smudged and shimmery, which was very distracting. Otherwise, the color and detail on this spectacular Blu-ray title were, well, spectacular.
I didn't see much effect from AMP on the THX-certified DVD of Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi—that is, until the shot of Darth Vader's shuttle approaching the Death Star's landing bay, which has some fine vertical stripes outside the actual hanger. Those stripes exhibited quite a lot of shimmering when AMP was on, but not when it was off.
AMP had no effect on the shimmering in the scrolling back-story as it fades into the distance at the beginning of the movie, a problem I also saw in bright points of lights, such as stars. At least the black of space was fairly deep, and the shadow detail in scenes such as Jabba the Hutt's dim lair gave it a three-dimensional look. As with all other material, color and detail were first-rate.