LCD TV Guide - LCD TV Reviews - 2008 Samsung LCD HDTV Lineup - Part 1
Review Date: November 5, 2008
 Last Updated: November 1, 2013

2008 Line-Up of Samsung LCD HDTV Sets
Part 1

Samsung LCD Television Guide
Series 9 LED LCD TVs, Series 8, Series 7, and Series 6


Choosing among Samsung line of flat-panel LCD televisions can be a truly challenging task. Samsung HDTV line-ups have always been characterized by a never-ending list of models. The 2008 LCD HDTV lineup is no exception, with a total of 43 different sets - including two super performing LED LCD TVs - covering screen sizes from 19-inch up to 55-inch.

In this first part of our Samsung LCD TV guide, we look at the basic differences between the flagship and premium line series of Samsung LCD HDTVs. We hope that this will help make your choice a bit easier.


Samsung 2013 flagship LED TV with ultimate micro dimming backlight technology

Samsung UN60F8000 60-Inch 1080p 240Hz 3D Ultra Slim Smart LED HDTV

This high-end feature rich LED HDTV comes with Samsung's Micro dimming Ultimate LED backlight technology - among the best in its class for black level performance. It is also the TV with the best feature set.

Samsung New LCD TV Lineup: Spoiled for Choice!

Samsung is surely one of top leaders among LCD TV manufacturers. During the last years, Samsung LCD HDTVs have constantly rated among the best selling HDTV sets on the market. This has been possible thanks to their innovative design, extensive feature set, reasonably affordable price tag, and equally important, top picture performance.

The 2008 lineup of Samsung LCD HDTV sets released earlier on between March and July this year is no exception - representing significant improved performance over 2007 models and including Samsung's highly popular 2007 LCD HDTV, the 46" LNT4665F LCD TV we reviewed in September last year. At that time, the LNT4665F had proved capable of superb black level performance that surpassed even some of the best plasmas. Today, it still represents a great TV by any standard.

But the latest 2008 series of Samsung LCD HDTV sets represent a significant improvement over previous models. In particular, Samsung LN52A650 52-inch 1080p LCD HDTV pictured above, was awarded the prestigious Cnet Editor's Choice for its superb performance despite the LN52A650 is not part of the company's flagship series! Yet there is more to the 2008 lineup of Samsung LCD HDTV sets...  As already hinted earlier on, this year line of LCD TVs is among the most extensive every released by a single TV maker, with 43 different sets under seven main series. Screen sizes range from small desk-top 19-inch sets to home-theater size 55-inch HDTVs; the largest being the 55" LN55A950 120Hz 1080p LED LCD TV.

Improvements over last year are various and include a maximum dynamic contrast ratio of 50000:1 for CCFL backlight LCDs LCDs and 1,000,000:1 for LED LCD TVs, improved 120Hz operation dubbed Auto Motion Plus, improved response time, network connectivity with internet access for news feeds, content and weather information, and the much debated 'touch of color' styling on premium and flagship sets.

A significant difference over previous years arises in the naming scheme adopted by Samsung to refer to the never ending list of LCD HDTVs released for 2008. Admittedly, such a vast range of LCD TVs may turn out to be confusing to end customers - often rendering the job of choosing a Samsung LCD HDTV - to say the least - frustrating. This contrasts heavily with the rather simplified naming structure adopted by Samsung to refer to the different series, 'Series 3' to 'Series 9' LCD.

But as we will soon see in this Samsung LCD HDTV guide, the simplified naming scheme for 2008 is in itself not enough as some of these series include two to three other sub-series. For example, Series 5 LCD TVs come with three sub-series, labeled A550, A540, and A530. Similarly, Series 8 LCDs come under two versions - the A850 and the A860 sub-series. As such, choosing your Samsung HDTV from among the myriad of LCD TV sets available for 2008 will always remain a challenging task. We therefore hope that the information contained in this guide will help render the job of choosing a Samsung LCD HDTV less confusing.

Samsung LCD HDTVs - 2008 Lineup: A Detailed Look

Samsung 2008 Series start with the Series 9 LED LCD TVs - which represents Samsung flagship line, and ends with the Series 4 and Series 3 Samsung LCD HDTV sets, representing bare-bones entry-level HDTV models in this year Samsung lineup.  Series 6 and 5 are basically stripped down versions of Samsung premium line-ups - Series 7 and Series 8 LCDs.

2008 Guide Index:

Samsung Series 8 and 9 Update

Samsung Series 7: LN-xxA750

Samsung Series 6: LN-xxA650

Samsung Series 5: LN-xxA550/540/530

Samsung Series 4 and 3: LN-xxA450/451/330/331

Samsung Series 9 (A950) and Series 8 (A850 and A860):

Update 5/11/08: Samsung added the Series 9 and Series 8 LCD HDTVs in July 2008 just after the publication of the original write-up; this article has now been updated to reflect these changes.

Series 9: LN-xxA950 Samsung LED LCD TVs

Samsung new LED LCD HDTV - The 55-inch LN55A950

Series 9 represents Samsung second generation of LED-based backlight LCD HDTVs. This series comprises two models, the 46-inch LN46A950 and the 55-inch LN55A950.

Samsung first widely distributed LCD HDTVs using LED backlight technology came with the release of the LN-T81F series in September last year.

Samsung LN55A950 55-inch 1080p LCD HDTV with 120Hz refresh rate & LED backlight

At that time, the 81F series represented a major breakthrough in LCD picture performance with the most remarkable being a claimed 500,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. Cnet review of the LN-T4681F revealed that by far, the most important improvement accompanying the 81F LED LCD was its superior black level performance - to the extent that the LN-T4681F Samsung LCD TV literally disappeared in a darkened room when displaying dark content.

This is made possible thanks to the use of LED backlight local dimming technology whereby individual LEDs in the backlight can be dimmed or even switch off depending on the image content. Local dimming in LED-based backlight systems has its undesirable side effect as well due to light spilling over from light onto dark areas of the image leading to a sort of subtle blooming in high contrast scenes. In general however, overall picture performance is significantly better than in the case of LCD HDTVs using CCFL backlights. More on this in our guide to new developments in LCD panel display technology.

This year Series 9 Samsung LCD HDTVs represent a further improvement over last year 81F series LED LCD HDTVs. Samsung Series 9 comes with a rated dynamic contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1. Cnet confirms once again that the Series 9 is capable of displaying true blacks in contrast to the dark gray characteristics of CCFL based backlight LCDs.

But there is more to the Series 9 than just exceedingly deep blacks. These sets exhibit superb color accuracy, solid video processing, extensive interactive functionality, loads of picture controls, 120Hz refresh rate, superb connectivity, and an attractive menu system. All in all, it comes with a most complete feature set; it is as if Samsung has decided to put all the features one can dream of in an attempt to justify the rather expensive price tag. Expensive in that these sets are presently selling online at $4,000 for the 55-inch and $2,900 for the 46-inch. Interesting is that LED backlight apart, the Series 9 feature set is very much similar to what you find on the significantly less expensive CCFL-based Series 8 and Series 7 Samsung LCD HDTVs.

Mind you, when it comes to picture performance you get what you pay for and the LED backlight do make a great overall difference in picture performance. Published reviews show that overall performance is by far one of the best among flat-panel HDTVs. The only real competition here comes from another LED-based LCD - that's the latest Sony XBR8 Series LCD HDTVs.

On the negative side, the Series 9 comes with a non-swivel stand - rather strange when considering that all other Samsung LCD HDTVs within the 2008 lineup come with the more convenient swivel stand. Even more important however is the way the picture deteriorates with off-angle viewing even at just one seating position away from the center viewing seat. There is also the issue of the 'blooming' already referred to above and which seems to affect to some degree, all present-day LED LCD TVs. The blooming effect has been significantly reduced on the new Samsung LCD HDTV and comes only in the form of a subtle halo effect.

The latest Sony XBR8 LED-based backlight series of LCD HDTVs seem to do a slightly better job in this respect but then fail considerable when it comes to image deterioration with off angle viewing - this apart from the fact that the Sony LED LCD TVs are selling at a much higher price tag than the already expensive LED-backlight Samsung LCD HDTVs.


A detailed review of the Samsung A950 series is available here. We are also publishing a comparative review of the Samsung A950 vs. the latest Sony XBR8 series of LED LCD HDTVs.


Series 8 LN-xxA850 and A860 Samsung LCD HDTVs

This is the latest series in Samsung's premium line of LCD HDTVs. It comprises four sets that come in two screen sizes - 46-inch and 52-inch - as follows: LN46A850 46-Inch with RED Touch of Color and LN46A860 46-inch with deep blue trim, together with their 52-inch versions, the LN52A850 with RED Touch of Color and the LN52A860 with deep blue trim .

Both A850 and A860 Samsung LCD HDTV sets are characterized by Samsung unique slim design with the only difference between the two lines being the accent on the 'Touch of Color' bezel; the A850 comes with a red/rose accent while the A860 comes with a mid-night blue color accent infused into the set black frame.

The slim profile is no more than 1.9-inches at its widest point. In reality, it is this incredibly thin package and the option to choose the blue accent frame on the A860 line that differentiate the Series 8 from the less expensive standard 'design' adopted on the Series 7.

Other than this, the Series 8 sports the same key features available on the Series 7 - including:

1080p native resolution,

120Hz refresh rate with dejudder processing,

4 HDMI inputs (3 rear and 1 side),

InfoLink - with access to online RSS content from USA Today, covering news, weather, and stock quotes,

digital media playback via the set USB, and

DLNA network sources via the set Ethernet port to play MP3, JPEG, XviD, and MPEG4 files.

Samsung Series 8 Side View

For more information on the full supported feature set, please see also Samsung Series 7 below.

Equally important, Series 8 Samsung LCD HDTVs come with the same picture related specs as those of the significantly less expensive Series 7. We say significantly because 52-inch Series 8 LCD HDTVs cost anything between $500 (A850) and $800 (A860) more than their Series 7 counterparts while the 46-inch versions cost between $250 (A850) and S450 (A860) more than the Series-7 46-inch Samsung LCD HDTV.

This means that if the Series 7 overall design appeals to your tastes, then you can very well do your bank account a favor and save a few hundred dollars over the corresponding Series 8 Samsung LCD HDTVs. If on the other hand, the slim design is a basic requirement for your needs, then Series 8 Samsung LCD HDTVs can save you almost two inches over standard LCD TVs.

Best-selling HDTV within the Series 8 is the Samsung LN52A850 52-Inch 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV with RED Touch of Color. At the time of this write-up, this 52-inch Samsung LCD HDTV occupies a sales rank of #20 at amazon within the LCD TV category.


Samsung Series 7: LN-xxA750

The Series 7 LCD HDTVs comprises three models, the 40-inch LN40A750, the 46-inch LN46A750, and the 52-inch LN52A750.

Characterized by Samsung's unique 'Touch of Color' styling; this adds a subtle hue of reds into the glossy black frame - complementing the overall black finish of these sets.

46-inch Samsung LN46A750 Premium line 1080p LCD HDTV

This styling is more of a like it or hate it in that the red color itself is not for everyone. But if you like it and your room decor can take it, then it can render a unique touch to your room. Samsung had originally indicated that other colors will follow but till now, the only color available is RED.

Associated with this rather unique styling is the use of a clear plastic layer over the LCD frame and the now Samsung's trade mark, a shiny screen surface for the set display panel. At first glance, the shiny screen makes these Samsung LCD HDTVs difficult to distinguish from plasma TVs. The use of a shiny screen has its advantage but as with plasma TVs, it also makes these LCD TVs more prone to glare when used in a brightly lit room.

According to Samsung, this shiny screen is partly the reason behind the set deep blacks. Replacing the diffusing matt screen with a reflective screen surface appears to be the best way to increase the overall black levels so peculiar with Samsung LCD HDTVs.

Series 7 LCDs also come with an Ethernet connection to hook the TV to your home network with internet access. This makes it possible to get the latest news feed provided by USA Today through the set InfoLink feature. It is also possible to manage content on the TV onboard Content Library; additional material to the onboard content can also be downloaded and played back through an appropriate device using the set USB port. Network connectivity also supports streaming of MP3, JPEG, and MPEG-4 content direct from your PC using the set Wiselink Pro-DLNA.

However, CNET reported that despite the Wiselink Pro-DLNA is being labeled as Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA)-compliant, yet these Samsung LCD HDTV sets do not support third party DLNA server software like Windows Media Player 11. This implies that you will have to install the supplied Samsung DLNA application on your PC first. Still, this represents a great option that should simplify multimedia sharing in the home.

These Samsung LCD HDTVs also support the use of Samsung remote controlled motorized wall mount - a feature originally introduced on some 2007 Samsung LCD televisions. Using the 'Ex Link' port on the rear panel, it is possible to adjust the TV viewing angle via the TV remote control when mounted on an appropriate electric wall mount. Note however that last year motorized wall mount is not compatible with these new 1080p HDTV LCDs.

But there is more than just 'multimedia content, news feeds, shiny screens, and unique styling. These 1080p Samsung LCD HDTV sets come with an impressive feature set. Four HDMI Ver. 1.3 inputs with CEC (Customer Electronics Control) support top up the already excellent connectivity options. 120Hz Motion Flow frame rate doubling technology has been significantly improved through Samsung Auto Motion Plus; this helps eliminate virtually any motion blur and creates smooth transitions between frames.

On top of these, you will get full-HD native resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels), a rated 50,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, fast 4msec response time, and a full assortment of picture controls that would enable even the most demanding users to zero in on the best picture for their liking.

Note: The 50,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio is a class-leading rating. But as we have already remarked in various reviews last year, impressive as these ratings might be, yet remember that contrast alone does not make the picture.

In addition, it would be extremely hard for the naked eye to perceive any difference in picture performance for a display device with a contrast rating of say 10,000:1 against one with a 50,000:1. Improved dynamic contrast ratio does make a difference, but not as much as the numbers seem to imply. For more information, please see our article: 'The Contrast Ratio Game: Playing with Numbers!'

The table below summarizes the main specifications for Series-7 Samsung LCD HDTVs:
Model 40" LN40A750 46" LN46A750 52" LN52A750
Design Samsung's 'Touch of Color' concept with subtle red frame and shiny screen
Power 230W 240W 290W
Native Resolution

1920 x 1080 pixels

Dynamic Contrast 50,000:1
Response Time 4 msec
Auto Motion Plus 120Hz Frame Rate Doubling
Network Connectivity with InfoLink  - RSS News Feed by USA Today
Interactive Onboard Content Library augmentable via downloads
Wiselink Pro-DLNA for multi-media sharing over your home network
Connectivity includes

Four HDMI 1.3 compliant inputs with CEC support

Ethernet

USB 2.0 - labeled 'Wiselink Pro' to view movies and photos and listen to music files stored on a USB Mass Storage device; USB port also used for firmware upgrades.

Audio 10W x 2 channels; down firing speakers
Tuner

ATSC/Clear QAM (Cable TV) Tuner

Picture in Picture Yes Yes Yes
Model 40" LN40A750 46" LN46A750 52" LN52A750

Best-selling product in Series 7 Samsung LCD HDTVs is the 46-inch Samsung LN46A750 1080p LCD HDTV. At the time of this write-up, the LN-46A750 has an amazon sales rank of #89 within the electronics category and a 5-star rating out of 19 customer reviews.


Samsung Series 6: LN-xxA650

Samsung Series 6 LCDs comprises a total of six LCD HDTVs ranging in size from 19-inch to 52-inch as follows: 19-inch LN19A650, 22-inch LN22A650, 32-inch LN32A650, 40-inch LN40A650, 46-inch LN46A640, and the largest model in the series, the 52-inch LN52A650 Samsung LCD HDTV.

The Series 6 is basically a stripped-down version of Samsung Series 7; it also comes with the same TOC design concept employed on the flagship series.

The real significant differences being the lack of pre-loaded interactive content found on Series 7 LCDs, no DLNA support over the network connection, and the USB2.0 connection - in the Series 6 labeled as Wiselink instead of the Wiselink Pro for Series 7 LCD televisions - support only JPEG and MP3 files. In other words, there is no movie file support over the Wiselink port found on the A650 sets.

This means that in terms of picture performance, the less expensive Series 6 sets are as capable as the flagship line of Samsung LCD HDTVs. In particular, in a recent CNET review, the 52-inch LN52A650 Samsung LCD HDTV has proved to be capable of delivering exceptional performance on all fronts - from extremely deep black levels to highly accurate colors and equally important, clean video processing. This 52-inch Samsung LCD HDTV model is also turning out to be among the top sellers in the overall electronics category on the amazon storefront with a sales rank of #23. and a 5-star rating out of 121 customer reviews.

In other words, if you can live without those few Series 7-only features, then the Series 6 of Samsung LCD HDTV sets would represent better value for your money.

Except for the three smaller sets (19-inch, 22-inch, and 32-inch) in the Series 6 lineup, the remaining bigger sets in the series all share the same specs sheet. The Samsung 40-inch LN40A650 and the 46-inch LN46A640 are therefore expected to deliver the same level of picture performance as the 52-inch set. Furthermore, while the 32-inch, 40-inch, 46-inch, and 52-inch all come with full HD 1080p screen resolution, the two smaller sets in this series are 720p (in view of their smaller screen size which does not accommodate the larger number of pixel count necessary for full HD).

The table below summarizes the main specifications for Series-6 Samsung LCD HDTVs:

Model

19" LN19A650 22" LN22A650 32" LN32A650 40" LN40A650 46" LN46A650 52" LN52A650
Design Samsung's 'Touch of Color' design concept with infused subtle red color bezel and shiny screen.
Power NA 60W 200W 230W 240W 290W
Native Resolution

720p

1440 x 900 pixels

720p

1680 x 1050 pixels

1080p/1920 x 1080 pixels
Dynamic Contrast

3000:1

5000:1

15000:1

50:000:1

Response Time 8 msec

5 msec

4 msec

Auto Motion Plus       120Hz Frame doubling technology
Network Connectivity with InfoLink  - RSS News Feed by USA Today
HDMI I/P 1 x HDMI1.3 4 x HDMI 1.3 compliant inputs with CEC
Network Connection    

Ethernet

Wiselink USB2.0 Port supporting JPEG and MP3 files stored on a USB Mass Storage device; USB2 port is also used for firmware updates.
Audio 3W x 2 3W x 3 10W x 2
Tuner

ATSC/Clear QAM (Cable TV) Tuner

Picture in Picture     Yes Yes Yes Yes
MSRP $479.99 $649.99 $1299.99 $1899.9 $2299.99 $2999.99
Best Selling Price at amazon $468 $649.99 $900 $1300 $1550 $2000

Model

19" LN19A650 22" LN22A650 32" LN32A650 40" LN40A650 46" LN46A650 52" LN52A650

Top selling products in Series 6 include the 46-inch LN46A640 and the 52-inch LN52A650 Samsung LCD HDTV we already referred to above; both sets are enjoying top rankings as well as a five-star rating in customer reviews. The five-star is significant as it implies that all customers (230 in total) submitting their review at amazon, gave a top rating for these Samsung LCD TVs.



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