To get the best output from next-generation devices such as Samsung's BD-P1000 Blu-ray player and the forthcoming PlayStation 3, you'll need a display that accepts a 1080p hi-def input. Samsung's LE46F71BX meets this challenge with a 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution and support for all currently available high-definition formats.
As the specification and size suggest, this screen is designed for watching high-definition films. Limited conventional connectivity, the absence of an integrated Freeview tuner and average standard-definition performance will put off some people. But, aside from a few digital artefacts, high-definition sources look out of this world.
There are also several multimedia features that let you access photos and music from a full range of memory cards and portable digital players.
The Samsung LE46F71BX is available online for around £2,700.
LCDs just keep growing. This is the largest screen in any of Samsung's consumer ranges, although it is also available in a more manageable 40 inches. The bigger the screen, the better the experience -- but make sure you have the space to accommodate it or you'll be left living under a widescreen shadow.
The sleek design shares traits with almost the entire Samsung range, including the new BD-P1000 Blu-ray player, which the F71 has been designed to accompany. The familiar styling features a straight-cut construction, seamless glossy black finishing and subtle neon-blue lighting that deserves to be the centrepiece of your home cinema system.
There are several multimedia features arranged at the right side of the screen. These include a USB port and two memory card slots with support for ten different card formats. This means you can access JPEG digital photos and MP3 music files from a variety of memory cards or portable media players. You can organise and edit these files on screen, view images in high definition and even print photos from a separate printer using PictBridge.
As the 'Full HD' resolution suggests, this screen has hi-def in mind and connectivity has been tailored for hi-def sources. There are two HDMI digital video inputs, which allow you to simultaneously connect two hi-def devices such as a Sky HD box and a next-generation disc player for the highest quality performance. You can also use the analogue component inputs to display 720p and 1080i high-definition formats and standard progressive-scan -- but not the 1080p signals produced by Blu-ray and HD DVD players.
This is great for high-definition enthusiasts, but conventional users could be left feeling shortchanged. There are two Scart terminals, but only one has been RGB-enabled for better quality. This does inhibit standard-definition sources, especially as the absence of an integrated digital Freeview tuner means the single RGB Scart will probably be used for a set-top box.
There are alternative low-quality AV inputs at the side, but they are best reserved for offering easy access to temporarily connected devices like a games console or camcorder. PC and media centre owners can connect using an RGB 15-pin input with a dedicated audio jack.
The transparent menu system is simply laid out and easy to use, while the slender remote appears overcrowded but offers several short-cut keys for instant functionality.