What technical issue does Auto Motion Plus (AMP) overcome?
"LCDs appear to exhibit motion blur as the human eye follows moving objects, where CRT screens do not. This is because an individual LCD pixel is constantly visible for the entire duration of a frame (typically 16.7ms), whereas a CRT pixel is lit for only a fraction of a microsecond once per frame as the electron beam scans past it. The means that even on a hypothetical LCD panel with a response time of zero, a panning image will appear to have motion blur whereas a panning image on a CRT monitor will not. This is caused by the movement of our eyes during the time the frame is visible."
So we humans are the problem!
Plasma overcomes the blurriness by adding dither from 400 to 600Hz. This technique also reduces motion resolution slightly some and adds noise. But for whatever reasons (beyond the scope of this post) there is little criticism.
Samsung introduced AMP in the 81 series. Here it effectively reduces motion lag in fast-motion images by cycling the eight individual rows in the LED array, sequentially turning each row off and on every eighth (1/8) of a second.
"In the improved 950, the LED Motion Plus cycles horizontal blocks of the LED backlights on and off, scrolling from top to bottom once every frame (120th of a second). Since this shuts off the backlighting while the LCD is changing states from on to off or back, you don’t see the lag that occurs during this transition. But the technique also noticeably reduces brightness."
So should this unique feature be turned off? Absolutely not! For any serious evaluation it should be left on, especially in a darkened room. In the 950, the scanning is tightly integrated to the 120Hz panel update rate and also the motion interpolation which up-samples from 24 or 60Hz to 120Hz. This feature has a similar name: Auto Motion 120Hz.
One would think that overcoming motion blur due to limitations in both the technology and human visual perception would be welcomed. Not at all. At least not for fans of plasma motion dither. I believe the root cause is that LCD, no matter how much it improves, is still LCD. Will the snobs will always hold LCD in utter disdain?
Out of all the 950 reviews, Sound and Vision Magazine deserves praise for being the least biased. They engage these important features and report the improvements in picture quality. They conclude the best local dimming LCD matches the best plasma (less viewing angle vs. deeper blacks).
It is most interesting to follow the Kuro demise and watch how individual members re-evaluate their positions. Will the best of LCD technology get the respect it deserves?
The 950 is such a technical tour-de-force it should satisfy even the pickiest for many years. Since calibration* the display essentially disappears. It becomes easy to judge sources: OTA, Blu-ray, DVD and ATT U-verse. DVD (at 24p) is the surprise winner while U-verse is a down-sampled mess.
Add this to a top-notch front projector and you have all the bases covered indefinitely!
*Remember my calibrated my unit was set to be (just) completely off with a 0 IRE signal in a dark room.