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LE40F86BD Calibration & Benchmark

by Vincent Teoh
10 September 2007

Baseline CCT (Correlated Colour Temperature)

Most manufacturers usually include a picture preset on their televisions to cater for those who yearn for realistic D65 images, and in Samsung LE40F86BDBuy this for £949.98 at Dixons
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's case, it's the [Movie] mode. When [Colour Tone] was left at its default "Warm2" setting in [Movie] mode, overall CCT measured slightly warmer than D65:

Warm2 CCT Warm2 RGB Tracking
[Movie] Mode "Warm2" CCT
[Movie] "Warm2" RGB Tracking

If you do not have access to any calibration equipment but wish to obtain a picture closest to D65 standard, you'd probably be better off switching [Colour Tone] to "Warm1" in [Movie] mode, which will give a cooler CCT between 6500k and 7000k from 30% stimulus onwards:

Warm1 CCT Warm1 RGB Tracking
[Movie] Mode "Warm1" CCT
[Movie] "Warm1" RGB Tracking

In general, a cooler colour temperature is more pleasing to our eyes than a warmer one, which is part of the reason why manufacturers have been churning out televisions set in hyper-blue "Dynamic" mode with total disregard for lifelike colours.

Greyscale Calibration

For the purpose of calibration, [Colour Tone] "Warm2" provided the best gamma profile so that was where I carried out my work. By adjusting [My Colour Control] > [White], and the RGB cuts and gains in the [White Balance] submenu, I got much closer to D65, but there remained some blue predominance between 40% and 70% stimulus that couldn't be dialed out. To be fair though this had no negative impact on the real-world picture quality as you shall read later on.

Calibrated CCT Calibrated RGB Tracking
Calibrated [Movie] "Warm2" CCT
Calibrated [Movie] "Warm2" RGB Tracking

Increasing the [Gamma] value under [Picture] > [Detailed Settings] would brighten up the midtones, and hence lower actual gamma. At [Gamma] 0, measured average gamma was 2.33; and at [Gamma] +2, 2.11. In the end it was [Gamma] +1 which yielded the desirable overall gamma of 2.22:

Gamma Calibrated Gamma Tracking
Calibrated [Movie] "Warm2" Gamma
Calibrated Gamma Tracking

Gamma tracking on Samsung LE40F86BDBuy this for £949.98 at Dixons
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(graph on the right) showed a dip in brightness below 20% stimulus similar to the LE40M86BD, which suggests that shadow detail would be slightly muddied.

Baseline Colour Chromaticity

[Colour Space] "Auto" on Samsung LE40F86BDBuy this for £949.98 at Dixons
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conformed to Rec.709 HD colour gamut (although it was slightly undersaturated); whereas "Wide" led to oversaturated green and cyan with significant hue shifts:

Colour Space Auto Colour Space Wide
Baseline [Colour Space] Auto Baseline [Colour Space] Wide

Colour Calibration

Given its wildly inaccurate green, I discarded [Colour Space] "Wide" straight away. [Colour] and [Tint] were the only controls I could use to tweak the colours in [Colour Space] "Auto", as Samsung LE40F86BDBuy this for £949.98 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £50.00 discount
did not offer any CMS (colour management system) like those found on Pioneer plasmas and Toshiba LCDs. After bumping up [Colour] to boost saturation (stopping just short of introducing decoder error), and rotating [Tint] to map two secondary colour points at the expense of one (magenta in this case), this is the final result:

Calibrated [Colour Space] Auto
Calibrated [Colour Space] Auto CIE chart with reference to REC 709

Benchmark Test Results

Dead/ stuck pixels 0
Screen/ backlight uniformity Mild clouding reducible to negligible levels
Overscanning on component 0% when [Just Scan] is enabled (over 1080i)
Blacker than black Passed
Black level Excellent
Black level retention Stable with DNIe off
Colour chromaticities Average
Scaling Average
Video mode deinterlacing Average; limited jaggies reduction
Film mode deinterlacing 3:2 passed only in 1080i
Viewing angle 90°
Motion blur [100Hz Motion Plus] minimises motion blurring, but introduces interpolation artifacts
Digital noise reduction Average
Sharpness Defeatable edge enhancement
1080p/24 capability (PS3) Accepts 1080p/24 from PS3 without telecine judder
1:1 pixel mapping Yes, when [Just Scan] is enabled

Screen/ Backlight Uniformity

As my Samsung LE40F86BDBuy this for £949.98 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £50.00 discount
review sample sported an SPVA panel, I guess it shouldn't be surprising that I noticed some clouding straight away in low ambient light condition even in [Movie] mode where the default [Backlight] value was 5. Fortunately lowering the backlight attenuated the clouding to negligible levels... I've certainly seen much worse cases than on Samsung LE40F86BDBuy this for £949.98 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £50.00 discount
.

Black Level & Contrast Ratio

The M86/ 87 range already boast the deepest blacks in the LCD TV business, but somehow Samsung has managed to improve matters even further. Calibrated (i.e. without impinging on shadow detail or peak brightness) black level on the Samsung LE40F86BDBuy this for £949.98 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £50.00 discount
measured 25% lower than that on the LE40M86BD, which would go some way towards explaining the increased quoted dynamic contrast ratio. Subjectively the difference was much smaller, as we're talking about extremely low luminance that could probably only be appreciated by our naked eye in a side-by-side comparison with zero ambient lighting.

Detail & Resolution

With [Just Scan] enabled, the Samsung LE40F86BDBuy this for £949.98 at Dixons
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fully resolved every single pixel field resolution both vertically (1920) and horizontally (1080) over HDMI and component. But as the latter exhibited some noise and shimmering, you should always use the HDMI inputs whenever possible to obtain the most pristine picture.

Needless to say, 1:1 pixel mapping could only be achieved when [Just Scan] was engaged.

Video Processing

To my delight, the Samsung LE40F86BDBuy this for £949.98 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £50.00 discount
successfully deinterlaced 1080i to 1080p without any loss in resolution, and also detected 3:2 cadence and applied film mode deinterlacing correctly over HDMI in 1080i ([Just Scan] enabled) when tested with HQV Benchmark Blu- ray Edition . If you've been following the developments in the HDTV arena, you'd probably know that most televisions on the market would fail the 3:2 cadence test in 1080i, so well done to Samsung for getting it right.

Things are less rosy when it comes to standard definition resolution. In 480i and 576i over component (the lowest signal the LE40F86BD would accept over HDMI is 480p/ 576p), the Samsung not only failed to perform 2:2 pulldown (although this can be easily forgiven as not many TV does it), but also the more common 3:2 pulldown, resulting in persistent moire in the racetrack test scene.

Because scaling and jaggies reduction on the Samsung LE40F86BDBuy this for £949.98 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £50.00 discount
were only average as well, outsourcing these video processing to an external device (such as a PS3 or an Oppo DVD player) would most definitely give you a better picture.

1080p/24 Capability

The Samsung LE40F86BDBuy this for £949.98 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £50.00 discount
accepted 1080p/24 signals from the PS3 with the [BD 1024p 24 Hz HDMI] set to either "Automatic" or "On". While I am not exactly sure of ultimate screen refresh rate, panning shots and scrolling credits in 1024p/24 were noticeably smoother than both 1080i/60 from the Toshiba HD-E1 and 1080p/60 from the PS3.


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