Part time Group II
A few weeks ago Senior Editor David Katzmaier reviewed Samsung's LN46A950 LED-backlit LCD TV and declared it, "The most advanced television money can buy." He also said it "represents the peak of flat-panel LCD performance and picture quality." But then the Sony KDL-55XBR8 arrived and stole the crown from the Samsung.
In the world of LCD TVs, the hot feature is LED-backlighting--and it doesn't come cheap. The Sony KDL-55XBR8 costs a whopping $7,000. Samsung's A950 series, which contains the aforementioned 46-inch model and a 55-inch model, retail for more than double what typical LCDs of their size cost. And LG will be joining the LED crowd with its upcoming 47LG90. They incorporate something called "local dimming," a bit of circuitry that allows individual LEDs behind the screen to be dimmed or turned off as needed. That tech wizardry produces extremely deep black levels that are closer to those produced by the best plasma displays. Until now, of course, LCDs have had a reputation for mediocre black-level performance compared to that of plasma.
At $5,000, Sony's 46-inch model is even more expensive than the Samsung. (LG's 47-incher will list for $3,700.) We're not sure how many takers there will be at these prices, but in a couple of years, we can expect to see these top-of-the-line LCD TVs at more midrange prices.