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Reviewed: 22 March 2007
Samsung's M87 series of LCD TV's is distinguished from the M86 series by a small silver strip at the base of the screen. We think this adds a nice touch to what is already an outstandingly beautiful piece of kit. With its perfectly smooth round edges, the LE40M87 makes most other LCD TVs look like square slabs of plastic. Silver brushed finishes have given way to glossy blacks some time ago, and while the sometimes garish effect doesn't appeal to everyone, the LE40M87BDX retains an air of chic sophistication that will bring admiring glances.
Three HDMIs, 2 Scarts, Component, S-video and PC input are complemented by digital optical port alongside analogue audio output.
Screen size & shape: 40in 16:9 Tuner: Digital Sound system: Stereo Resolution: 1920 x 1080 HD Ready: Yes Contrast Ratio: 15000:1 Brightness: 550cd/m2 OTHER FEATURES: Movie Plus, 127% PAL colour gamut, Wide Colour Enhancer, DNIe. SOCKETS:3 (HDMI 1.3; 2 rear, 1 side), 2 Scart, Component, Digital Audio Output, S-video, PC input.
The LE40M87BDXs biggest selling point is a full HD enabled 1080p screen with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. This enables the panel to map a 1080i source such as Sky TV exactly, pixel for pixel onto the screen with a potentially far superior picture than an LCD which has to scale 1080i to fit.
Samsung has lead an impressive technological charge in recent years, and a host of proprietary technologies are now employed to enhance the capabilities of their LCD panels.
The LE40M87BDX sports Samsung's 'Super Clear Panel' which has been designed to boost (an already impressive 15,000:1) contrast ratio and improve colour reproduction.
Samsungs trusty Digital Natural Image Engine (DNIe) forms the picture processing heart of the LE37R87BDX. The technology focuses on improving black levels, improving colour saturations and tone and sharpness and tone.
DNIe has four main feature areas, Motion Optimizer, Contrast Enhancer, Detail enhancer and Colour Optimizer, and has a track record of producing impressive results on previous Samsung screens.
Complementing DNIe is Samsung's Wide Colour Enhancer which has been designed to deliver more vibrant colours, especially around the edge of panels where they are more likely to appear washed out. By adding a full 27 per cent more of the real worlds colour gamut, Samsung claims a four times as many colour gradations than you would normally see from a PAL picture.
Movie Plus, another proprietary technology has been designed, by improving the video signal, to eliminate a bug bear of LCD TVs, motion judder, and to speed up response times and produce a sharper picture for gamers the LE40M87BDX sports something called 'Games Mode'.
Another recent Samsung innovation, HDMI-CEC technology, enables a single remote control unit to operate for example, a screen, a Blue-ray disc player, home theatre system or other HDMI-CEC compatible A/V product.
A video camera connected to the TV via HDMI for example would see the TV automatically switch to the camera's input displaying the content with the user now able to control the camera through the TVs remote, with no extra cabling.
Two 10-Watt speakers form the audio capability of the LE40M87BDX with SRS TruSurround XT technology promising simulated 3D effect enhanced dialog and powerful bass.
By far the most impressive aspect of the LE40M87's performance is the incredible black level performance. The depth and richness of blacks on this panel is well into Plasma territory. The achievement is due in no small part to the presence of Samsung's 'Super Clear Panel' and the option to adjust the LE40M87's backlight.
With Standard Definition (SD) sources such as Freeview, the LE40M87BDX inevitably suffers from trying to fit a 576 signal onto a 1080 screen. This is a problem all flat screens face however, and the LE40M87BDX compared to its rivals is a decent performer.
Fast paced sporting action or movie scenes do suffer from the bugbear of LCD TVs 'Motion Smear' but the effect is negligible and the LE40M87BDX is at least a match for most its competitors in this area.
With 1080i sources such as Sky however we start to see the benefits of the 1920 x 1080 resolution. A level of subtle detail is apparent that is just not available on lower resolution screens. Get close to the screen and the improvement becomes all the more obvious.
When we move on to High Definition (HD) sources, the sharpness and level of detail are stunning. The full 1080p standard really does make a difference on the LE40M87, especially when you get close up. Never before has Sky HD material looked so stunning and realistic - as close as we have got yet to that 'looking through a window' effect.
The one big criticism of the screen's picture is the colour reproduction. Even with considerable tweaking, colours often appeared over saturated and skin tones sometimes less than realistic.
Audio performance on the LE40M87BDX can only be described as adequate. This is a result of 2 10w speakers being hidden in the bottom panel of the screen with a design which pushes the sound down and backwards only.
The Samsung LE40M87BDX is notable in that it has blurred the lines which separate good LCD TVs from good Plasmas. Its black level performance rivalling many a good plasma.
The all round performance of the LE40M87BDX is extremely good, and let down only by a slightly disappointing colour performance. This is a shame because despite this the LE40M87BDx is up there with the best.