What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 1 Dec 2008, 1:00pm

Samsung LE55A956

Tested at £3000
80100
4

Not everyone has the room or money to accommodate this monstrous 55-inch TV, but it still delivers a fine big-screen picture

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For

  • Great design and styling
  • feature-packed
  • excellent black reproduction
  • superb Blu-ray picture

Against

  • On-screen noise infiltrates DVD and Freeview pictures
  • colours can be tricky to balance

We've covered TVs from virtually every range that Samsung has to offer, but this is the first screen we've seen from its new 9 Series.

The attractive LE55A956, which boasts the company's Crystal design, features an LED backlight and Samsung's Smart LED technology: the set analyses the video signal and alters individual lights in the backlight to help give better blacks.

The backlit remote is bejewelled with chunky buttons – our only reservation being that the combined D-pad and scroll wheel isn't too intuitive. We'd prefer either one or the other.

Feature-count impresses
As you'd expect with a Samsung set, the LE55A956 is overflowing with features. It packs in Full HD, 1920x1080 resolution and 100Hz Motion Plus technology.

The Ethernet connection allows you to take advantage of the TV's DLNA certification – hook it up to your home network and you can stream content to it through other devices.

Blacks are rich and deep with Blu-ray – the LED backlight makes light intrusion a non-issue.

When Hellboy ventures into the dark, dank troll market in Hellboy II, the Samsung picks out much detail. It also handles motion very well for a screen this big, although the colour balance appears a touch unnatural compared to the class-leaders.

Scaler struggles with DVD
With DVD, the internal scaler struggles to upscale standard-def content to match its resolution. Detail levels are okay, but the The Love Guru appears noisy, and it's a similar story with Freeview.

As for sound, this set is very impressive. The 2 x15W speakers (powerful by TV standards) fire out  coherent, solid audio.

The LE55A956 is an attractive premium TV. It just doesn't have the all-round picture prowess of a five-star set.

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