Please discuss the LE40M86BD review article in this thread, including technical questions, personal opinions and price talks.
I have been reading many reviews... credit to this site, this is the first ever reply / contribution. The hands on approach of this site gives a deep understanding and reliable conclusions.
Having searched and researched for the past few months, here is my summary:
1. There is no glove-fits-all given that each of the competing technologies has its own shortcomings.
2. My ultimate trade off contrasts picture quality, cost and connectivity.
3. The cost issue should probably include energy usage and possible maintenance costs [applies to Sony SXRD - see below]
4. 1080p and 1:1 mapping are especially an important quality issue for me given that I am an avid MediaCenter user.
5. I would like a larger set to feel the difference with HD. a 50"+ screen would be ideal, but for a better quality / performance combination I might opt for the 40" option.
I have opted not to go for plasma given the lack of an affordable 1080p model. Plasmas offer close to CRT quality for TV viewing but use most energy and require some care in moving and guarding against burn in issues.
LCD technology always had promise but acceptable performance in terms of contrast and speed is only now coming closer to acceptable levels. The new X-series from Sony is quite expensive and, although much better than earlier models, they are by no means perfect.
Samsung is moving fast to make their panels, which are good enough for Sony, better with improved software and control systems. The latest M-series promises to make up for the many shortfalls of their most recent foray into the 1080p world - which brings me to this review. Until very recently, I had my eyes set on a third alternative: that of Sony's SXRD. While most people are afraid of an apparent step back into rear projection, this set at 55" and now going for close to 1100 pounds on the web, offers incredible value. This is taking into account the fact that this set has plasma-like black level performance as well as 2.5 seconds response rates. The set further improves on standard LCD technology by having virtually no screen-door effect. When watching it with a good source it is like having the material printed on a high quality poster! But I am willing to give the new Samsung a go if the review confirms that they have solved their problems and now have a winner! The final decision would be balanced by the fact the the SXRD at 55" offers nearly 90% more screen area. This might be of interest to some so here is a brief discussion of size and how sets compare:
1. The simple formula to compare two screen sizes from the quoted diagonal size is to divide the square value for each size so: 55^2 / 40^2 = 1.89.
2. This might offer a way to see how manufacturers charger for the extra screen 'acreage'. Bear in mind that actual costs of manufacture are probably not linear with size and that, ultimately, marketing strategies and other market factors dictate prices.
For the M-series in full 1080p we compare three sizes: 40, 46 and 52". 46 is 30% bigger than 40 and 52 is 30% bigger than 46 and 70% than 40. Coat wise (quoting the prices from one of the web stockists: 46 is 80% more expensive and 52 is 230% more expensive when both are compared to the base 40" model. but the 52 is only 30% more expensive than the 46 - same ratio as their screen area! To make this simpler, and given that all the sets have 1080p resolution, below is the price per square inch of screen (full area formula is approximately 0.396*s^2 where s is the screen diagonal length quoted typically):
1. Samsung M86/87 series: 40" = £1.80; 46" = £2.48; 52" = £2.50
2. Sony SXRD (KDSA2000) 55" = £0.92
I know that the Sony is thicker and cannot be hung on walls. It also requires a lamp replacement after about 8000 hours of usage. It does use less electricity than both plasma and standard LCD sets however. The viewing angle is the smallest compared to both plasmas and good LCDs - although much improved from earlier projection technologies.
Before many of you jump on these points with criticisms, this is only a discussion based on my own trade offs. Absolute numbers in each of these categories would vary by person. For those who have been researching the issue, I am certain you have already made your mind up on which technology you would go for. For many the physical size is also affected by the room size and personal decor preferences. One day soon new technologies would give us a great trade off at an affordable price - some of you might have heard about things like SED, laser projetion, ... but even your bog standard LCD and plasma are heading for better processing power to provide higher bit rates for colour and sound, etc. This M series Samsung is one of the earlier models to have HDMI 1.3 to allow for such inputs [Vincent: could you touch on this issue in your review - I know that there are probably not many sources out there to offer higher bandwidth , PS3 might be the exception. But does this set offer better bit rate processing and does it show in picture quality etc]
In the mean time, it is a joy to have such a forum and excellent feedback on new sets to help one enjoy a new TV for a few years to come. It is certainly fun to find out which one fits best.
Thank you Vincent and all.