Originally reviewed for US News Rankings & Reviews (this is a separate review from that published)
By Kris Wellen (nee Kosach)
So you’re ready to buy a flat panel screen for your home, or office and you’ve decided upon a liquid crystal display. Congratulations, that’s no small feat. By now you know the pluses and minuses of choosing an LCD over plasma. On the one hand, there is LCD’s reputation for lasting longer than their plasma peers, and let’s face it- who wants to shell out big bucks for a TV with a reported five-year life span? On the other hand, LCDs are known for their less than perfect picture. Can there be a big-screen LCD that plays-up the positive and curbs the criticism? Yes. There can. It’s the 46-inch, Samsung LN-S4096D and its about as good LCD gets.
Out of the box, the Samsung LN-S4096D has a sleek, black design. Upon first glance, one notices a polished black bar running along the bottom of the screen. This design not only gives the LN-S4096D a modern look, but also allows sound to reflect nicely off the discretely placed speakers.
The biggest criticism LCD faces is that colors and blacks are sometimes muted, or at least not as sharp as they could be. Here, the LN-S4096D delivers- at least when viewing in Hi Def. It helps that the 46-inch screen, measured diagonally from its corners, offers the highest resolution possible for an LCD native display: 1,920×1, or 1080p.
Samsung prides itself on selling more LCDs than any other manufacturer and their attention to user options is unequalled. Along its side users will find a USB input, which allowing consumers to display Jpeg images, or play MP3s. You’ll also find an A/V jack with composite and S-Video for viewing home movies via camcorder.
In the rear is no shortage of inputs either. Two HDMI ports are displayed, plus a pair of video components, and one for your PC. Two RF inputs allow for cable and antenna, next to an A/V with composite and S-video, and A/V line out.
A cable card slot lets customers bypass their cable box, but users opting for this feature will have to forgo extras like a program guide or DVR.
LN-S4096D’s menu is decidedly unique. Running along the bottom of the screen, instead of in the middle, it’s easy of use. Also present, a neat feature allowing users to rename menu options, but some find this step pointless.
Accompanying the unit is an attractive swivel base that rotates 20 degrees in either direction. This is a clever answer to one of LCDs more distinct downfalls, namely its limited viewing capacity from any side angle.
While prices for LCDs have fallen drastically over the years, they still don’t come cheap. The 46-inch Samsung LN-S4096D is no exception at around $2795.
Finally, when buying an LCD, you’ll need to take into account the cost of High Def cables. It’s a common myth that your a HDTV-ready set is indeed ready. You’ll need to invest in High Definition cables, not to mention be receiving the right broadcast signal.