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Samsung's New LED-based DLP Sets

April 10, 2007

Samsung's new LED-based DLP TVs are now on the market. And with them we now have the detailed specifications and two available levels of features.

Samsung's January 8 press release announced a new 87S LED series in three sizes -- 50", 56", and 61": the HL-T5087S, HL-T5687S, and HL-T6187S. These have now been joined by the 89S series in the same sizes. Physically, they look the same.

All three sizes are Full-HD TVs (1920x1080) with 1080p inputs. Refresh rate is 120 Hz.

The piano black bezel is very thin (0.6") as you can see from the photo.

Samsung DLP

The three LED arrays (red, green, and blue) replace the high-intensity white light source and the 5-segment spinning wheel. The LEDs have the advantage of not needing replacement (saving the periodic several hundred dollar cost of a new lamp), quick start-up, greater efficiency (less heat), and wider color gamut (more saturated colors).

Samsung DLP

The new LED sets have an advertised dynamic contrast ratio of 10,000:1, whereas the sets using the conventional white light and color wheel have a native contrast ratio of 10,000:1.

What that generally means is that the contrast ratio of the LED sets is lower than the conventional DLP sets. My guess is that's because the LED arrays are not as bright as the high-intensity white lamp.

Those conventional Samsung DLP sets are extremely bright. A friend of mine has one that was professionally calibrated, with the brightness turned down in the service menu.

Whether the lower contrast ratio of the LED sets (and lower brightness) turns out to be a bad thing or a good thing (perhaps depending on your ambient light levels) will have to be determined by a professional review. I expect a few will be forthcoming.

These Samsung micro-displays are keeping with the trend toward thin--the sets are about 13" deep more or less, depending on which size you're looking at.

The differences between the 87S series and the 89S series may or may not be significant, depending on how you want to use the set.

Both have three HDMI inputs, but in the 89S series they are HDMI version 1.3. The 89S has USB 2.0 while 87S has USB 1.1.

The 89S models have picture-in-picture capability: you can watch TV in one window and video or PC in the other (surf the web while watching Lost?).

The 89S models are also Bluetooth enabled, for using wireless headphones, etc.

How much, you ask? I did a quick price check for the 50" models and found them selling for about $1780 for the HL-T5087S and $2030 for the HL-T5089S.

Samsung DLP