Samsung LN55A950 LCD HDTV HT Labs Measures
Full-On/Full-Off Contrast Ratio: 12,833:1
For the picture settings used in this review, go to www.HomeTheaterMag.com. All the measurements here, unless noted otherwise, were taken in the Movie mode, through an HDMI input, with the set adjusted as needed for the most accurate picture in a darkened room.
The changes Samsung made to this display since our December 2008 review have raised the set’s black level. It no longer plunges to complete blackness with a full-screen black input (as it did in that review). It’s still impressive on dark material—just less so when surrounded on either side by the Sony and Pioneer, as it was here.
The set, as delivered, was very close to a correct calibration in its Warm2 Color Tone setting. It required just a few small White Balance adjustments to calibrate it to the D6500 color standard across the board, and it needed only minor tweaks in the Custom Color Space controls for a precise REC709 (high-definition) color gamut. (The new circuit board I mentioned in the report required a fresh White Balance calibration.) The post-calibration color gamut is so precise that the measured result, indicated by the white triangle in the CIE chart at left, almost exactly overlays the standard color gamut (shown by a black triangle, which is nearly invisible).
During the panel tests, the set’s Film Mode was inadvertently set to Off, and the Digital Noise Reduction was left in its default mode (Auto), while noise reduction was turned off in the other sets. The Film mode setting was a potential factor only on the 1080i tests, not with the 480p and 1080p sources that made up most of the program material. Subsequent tests with 1080i material, and the panel’s comments, indicated that this did not skew the Samsung’s test results in a negative direction. In fact, one judge commented that the Samsung had the lowest noise in the group on one test scene.
The Samsung’s resolution—HDMI or component, luma (black and white), or chroma (color)—was among the best we have ever measured across the board. It extended up to the maximum required frequencies of all the tested HD and SD formats: 1080p in HDMI and 1080i, 720p, 480i, and 480p in HDMI and component. (1080p component resolution was not tested.)
The HD overscan measured 0.5 percent or less on all sides in 1080i and 1080p in the Just Scan aspect ratio (a maximum image loss of less than 2 percent). The overall maximum overscan was at 480p: an average of just under 3.5 percent per side (just under 14 percent image loss).—TJN