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Samsung LE52F96BD Review

by Vincent Teoh
25 September 2007

Samsung LE52F96BD

Black level has – until recently – been one of the Achilles' Heel of LCD televisions due to the way this particular technology derives its "blacks" from using polarised films to "twist" the liquid crystal material within so that the constantly-on backlight is blocked. However, structural physics dictates that light leakage inevitably occurs (remember there are over 2 million pixels on a full HD LCD TV), contributing to the greyish blacks we see so often on LCD televisions.

Then someone smart somewhere started asking the question, "What if we could reduce the luminosity of the backlight to cut down the amount of light that could be leaked in the first place, and achieve better blacks?" This is the premise behind using LEDs as backlight, the brightness of which could be adjusted in clusters (including being switched off completely to achieve true black) depending on what's required on screen.

Canadian outfit Brightside Technologies was the first to unleash its patented individually modulated LED (IMLED) technology on the world back in 2005. A 37" television sporting their IMLED backlight would have cost a prohibitive USD 50,000 then, which was why they focused much of their efforts on licensing their technology to major manufacturers. Since then Brightside had been acquired by Dolby Laboratories, the world-famous audio company.

Fast forward to the third quarter of 2007, and it's Samsung's turn to introduce their version of LED-backlit LCD TV (dubbed "LED SmartLighting") to the scene. You'll be pleased to know that the Samsung LE52F96BD I'm reviewing today would cost you less than £2500, which is far more affordable than what Brightside charged for their 37-inch two years ago.

Let's get down to it...

Update 20 May 2009: The latest incarnation of LED-backlit LCD TVs from Samsung is the UE40B7020. However, the Samsung UE40B7020 uses an Edge LED system (the LED units are deployed at the edges of the screen) rather than the local-dimming version found on the LE52F96BD.

Full Specifications

Physical Measurements

Screen Size (Diagonal) 52 inches
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Dimensions Without Stand (in mm) 1372 x 780 x 120
Dimensions With Stand (in mm) 1372 x 845 x 320
Weight Without Stand 36.8 kg
Weight With Stand 42.0 kg


Native Resolution 1920 x 1080
Dynamic Contrast Ratio 500,000:1


HD Ready Yes
Maximum Supported Input 1080p
Special Features LED SmartLighting, DNIe, Wide Colour Enhancer, Movie Plus

TV Tuner

Analogue PAL
Digital DVB-T (Freeview)
Stereo Reception NICAM, A2


HDMI 3 (HDMI 1.3; 2 rear, 1 side)
VGA 1 (HD-15; rear)
Component 1 (YPbPr 3 x RCA connectors for video & L-R 2 x RCA connectors for audio; rear)
Scart 2 (21-pin; rear)
S-Video 1 (4-pin; side)
Composite (including audio input) 1 (1 x RCA video & 2 x RCA audio; side)
Analogue Audio Output 1 (L-R 2 x RCA connectors; rear)
Digital Audio Output 1 (Optical; rear)
Headphone Output 1 (3.5mm stereo minijack; side)
USB 2.0 Port 1 (side)
Common Interface Slot 1 (rear)


Speakers 2
Output Power 15 watt + 15 watt
Sound Effect System SRS Surround XT


Source AC 220V-240V, 50Hz
Power Consumption 310 Watt (<1 Watt Standby)



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