Mini Review: Samsung LNT4065F 40″ 1080p LCD

June 7, 2008

LNT4065This might come as a shock but it’s been almost three years since I’ve owned a “TV” , don’t get me wrong we watch movies and television all the time we just do so with a front projector. It’s not that I ever really made a conscious decision to not have a television, it’s just that once we got our projector it took a backseat and I eventually tossed my old direct-view JVC out; in hopes someone else wanted it (luckily they did).

So long, boring story short we finally got motivated to get a TV that we didn’t have to worry about replacing the lamp in every few months, (yeah we’re sort of what you’d call power users I guess) that television as it turned out was a Samsung LNT4065F. I guess a quick feature run-down is needed, so in no particular order the 40” 1080p display has a contrast ratio of 15,000:1 (and it looks every bit of it), features off-air ATSC and Clear-QAM tuners, 10bit color processing and three HDMI inputs.

No the set doesn’t have a LED lamp or 120 Hz refresh rate (yes even I have to pinch pennies on A/V gear) but it looks damn good. I say this to illustrate and remind everyone that yes, certain advancements come along from time to time that do warrant an upgrade, but that doesn’t mean you have to jump on every one of them. This isn’t home theater heresy, I just like to see people (especially myself) make buying decisions that give the maximum bang for the buck. Let me give you a few examples.

We’ve “needed” a television for years now, just about anything I could have bought, scratch that, anything I could have bought would have been an improvement. Ok bad example but if I were to turn around and trade in this 1080p LCD for another with a LED lamp, 120hz refresh rate etc. etc., would I really get the same bang for my buck? Well, considering that I’d have to spend another $600-$800 doing so, I think not. Where I’m really going with this is, don’t get caught up in the “specs”, if the specs don’t truly offer you something valuable or rather something tangible.

But getting back to the LNT4065F, after a week of pretty consistent viewing I’m still quite pleased with the display. It’s not perfect, there’s a slight hotspot in the top left corner and its dropped signal on me a couple of times (I can’t rule out my source gear on that last one just yet) but it produces a gorgeous image. Actually it is perhaps a tad more revealing than I would have liked, I’ve started to notice some noise and dot crawl in HD channels that otherwise looked fine with my 720p display. But such is the price of progress.

Where the display really shines is (not surprisingly) recent HD broadcasting and meticulous film transfers on Blu-ray. As an example ‘Lost’ season three on Blu-ray looked better on the LNT4065F than just about anything I’ve seen recently and that includes top of the line 1080p plasmas and LCoS based projectors. The video really pushed the boundaries of what I would have assumed possible just a few short years ago. I was honestly beginning to wonder if detail like this was possible from consumer based displays, it clearly (no pun intended) is.

Like I’ve said a thousand times, no display is perfect but if you’re willing to take out a second mortgage you can get something that comes close, as for myself I’d rather have something nice and have enough left over to pay the electricity bill. I’ve never really verbalized that here before; that’s my basic philosophy when it comes to electronics, and of course that philosophy scales with your bottom line, but it’s still a good general rule of thumb to consider.

It’s kind of like what one of the people responsible for me getting into A/V once said, “A/V is about the suspension of disbelief, it’s a means to an end not the end itself, if the gear allows you to forget where you are, or even perhaps who you are for just a moment its worth its weight in gold”. I’m happy to say my most recent A/V purchase satisfies that criteria quite nicely.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under High Definition Televisions, Reviews


Comments

  • Bob Z

    I own 2 of them and love ’em. Bought them end of last year from crutchfield when they had their free bracket deal. However, as prices continue to drop, I’ll be moving one of them into the office for the ‘puter and upgrading the den unit

  • Bob Z

    I own 2 of them and love ’em. Bought them end of last year from crutchfield when they had their free bracket deal. However, as prices continue to drop, I’ll be moving one of them into the office for the ‘puter and upgrading the den unit

  • Adam Griffith

    Oh, and by the way – don’t sweat not having 120hz/AMP. I studied it with different sets for hours. It is over-rated. Most I know who have the feature leave it off most of the time. It seems to honestly be one of those things that seems amazing at first but less cool as soon as you own it and sit with it. I say the word “honestly” because I had to go through it all myself before I could be convinced it wasn’t a godsend either.

    It truly is only good for a small handful of the content out there (HD documentaries, 3D animation, what have you). And most of that reason is because none of its implementation runs glitch-free yet. I don’t think it ever really will either since the frame-extrapolating/guessing stuff it has to do is no exact science. It will be like noise reduction in DVD players – despite years of adjustment – it only works so well, even in the best models.

    I don’t know about you but I can’t watch a movie and not nitpick when I see a stutter here, some ghosting there, some wierd frame speed up there. Even if those things only occur every 5 minutes or so – that kind of stuff takes me right out of the movie. And saying they only occur in that length of time is being generous. Seems to me, like such glitches occur practically in ever scene or angle change (maybe a slight exagerration, yes – but its so annoying it seems like such…).

    Oh, and I’ve said nothing of the likeablity of the “soap opera” effect yet. I’ve found that the effect seems awesome on an in-store display but the longer you sit with it at home the more you reach for the button to just turn it off so you can watch your movie in the “normal” way without such artificiality. “Plastic” movies like Fantastic Four for example, look so wierd – so much like a soap opera, that you could swear you are watching some low-budget Days of our Lives remake of the movie.

    IMO, most of the time, 120hz/AMP is a hinderance more than a benefit.

  • Adam Griffith

    Oh, and by the way – don’t sweat not having 120hz/AMP. I studied it with different sets for hours. It is over-rated. Most I know who have the feature leave it off most of the time. It seems to honestly be one of those things that seems amazing at first but less cool as soon as you own it and sit with it. I say the word “honestly” because I had to go through it all myself before I could be convinced it wasn’t a godsend either.

    It truly is only good for a small handful of the content out there (HD documentaries, 3D animation, what have you). And most of that reason is because none of its implementation runs glitch-free yet. I don’t think it ever really will either since the frame-extrapolating/guessing stuff it has to do is no exact science. It will be like noise reduction in DVD players – despite years of adjustment – it only works so well, even in the best models.

    I don’t know about you but I can’t watch a movie and not nitpick when I see a stutter here, some ghosting there, some wierd frame speed up there. Even if those things only occur every 5 minutes or so – that kind of stuff takes me right out of the movie. And saying they only occur in that length of time is being generous. Seems to me, like such glitches occur practically in ever scene or angle change (maybe a slight exagerration, yes – but its so annoying it seems like such…).

    Oh, and I’ve said nothing of the likeablity of the “soap opera” effect yet. I’ve found that the effect seems awesome on an in-store display but the longer you sit with it at home the more you reach for the button to just turn it off so you can watch your movie in the “normal” way without such artificiality. “Plastic” movies like Fantastic Four for example, look so wierd – so much like a soap opera, that you could swear you are watching some low-budget Days of our Lives remake of the movie.

    IMO, most of the time, 120hz/AMP is a hinderance more than a benefit.

  • Adam Griffith

    Yes, this is a very good set – one of the best LCDs, I feel. I owned one for a while before I ultimately “upgraded” to a Kuro. Obviously, the Kuro beats it but its a plasma and a Pioneer. Still, with some tweaking these new Sammy’s have a very strong black level for what we’ve had to endure with LCDs for so long. Speaking generally about how deep the average AV fan wants black, I’ve found that most LCDs (including many of the ones that have come out recently too) barely can achieve even an “acceptable” level. However, these new Sammy LCDs are solid. And LCDs are so good at everything from use as long-term PC monitors to general TV use. They don’t run as hot and handle ambient light so much better than plasma too.

    The primary reason I use the Kuro is only because I want to get the most out of HD media movies. I rarely use it for much else. I have a 4:3 36″ SD CRT I use to watch all my SD DVDs (I find any kind of HDTV just doesn’t handle SD content as “cleanly”/well as a decent old SD set will, due to the forced upconversion).

  • Adam Griffith

    Yes, this is a very good set – one of the best LCDs, I feel. I owned one for a while before I ultimately “upgraded” to a Kuro. Obviously, the Kuro beats it but its a plasma and a Pioneer. Still, with some tweaking these new Sammy’s have a very strong black level for what we’ve had to endure with LCDs for so long. Speaking generally about how deep the average AV fan wants black, I’ve found that most LCDs (including many of the ones that have come out recently too) barely can achieve even an “acceptable” level. However, these new Sammy LCDs are solid. And LCDs are so good at everything from use as long-term PC monitors to general TV use. They don’t run as hot and handle ambient light so much better than plasma too.

    The primary reason I use the Kuro is only because I want to get the most out of HD media movies. I rarely use it for much else. I have a 4:3 36″ SD CRT I use to watch all my SD DVDs (I find any kind of HDTV just doesn’t handle SD content as “cleanly”/well as a decent old SD set will, due to the forced upconversion).