In order to watch 3D, you’ll need special active LCD-based shutter-type glasses, and for the introduction of their new 3D HDTV models, Samsung includes a promo kit that includes two pairs of active 3D spectacles (battery-powered, but not rechargeable), and a promo copy of Dreamworks’ Monsters vs Aliens in 3D on Blu-ray (real 3D, not the pseudo-3D that they’ve been hawking). Samsung’s website lists an optional set of 3D glasses with rechargeable batteries, which are slated for release later this month at an MSRP of $199.99/each.
As the 3D spectacles introduce both light attenuation as well as color shift compared to regular 2D (no glasses) viewing, the set features automatic compensation which ups the brightness and shifts the white balance accordingly, and the measured color temperature was roughly, but not exactly the same in both modes (with and without the 3D glasses and 3D function activated). There are also separate brightness and contrast memories for 2D and 3D viewing modes, which further aids in optimizing the picture quality for both.
In order to keep the cabinet depth as slim as possible, the input panel features an array of mini jacks for the component video, composite video and other A/V connections, and dongle adapters are supplied. There’s a LAN connection as well as a PC connection, with stereo audio inputs and a stereo audio output, along with an optical digital audio output. There are four HDMI inputs, with one of them tagged as a DVI input with a corresponding stereo audio input for PC gamers. The LAN connection provides access to a slew of internet apps, including movie and TV show streaming from multiple providers, internet radio, access to multi-media PCs on the home network, photo viewing and gaming, to name just a few.
On Screen Display
Mostly unchanged from last year’s offerings, Samsung’s excellent OSD features logical groupings, and for important picture adjustments, the OSD doesn’t disappear after five seconds, which is usually the case with many other sets. Past models had some picture adjustments under the setup menu (and not the video menu), but this set features all picture adjustments grouped together. An info button shows the source format (picture resolution and timing) along with a green eco-meter that reflects the set’s power consumption.
Sleek and visually stylish, the remote control is a major design change away from last year’s remote control, which was the best in the business. This latest remote features a brushed metal keypad with membrane-type buttons, and is backlit with an ambient light sensor. But, the backlighting timer feature has a bug—activating the backlighting and waiting for the five second auto-off function then requires a second button push to re-activate the backlighting. Plus, when the backlighting is active, pushing any button temporarily disables the backlighting, perhaps a concession to the limited power capacity provided by the remote’s two AAA batteries (any backlit remote should be powered by at least a pair of AA batteries, and ideally four). Still, the remote is a very good design overall, though I would have been happier with last year’s remote, which was superb.
As with many recent Samsung sets, going to the Movie mode puts the set into a condition where it delivers its best measured performance, meaning you will enjoy sufficient brightness for typical viewing scenarios, along with very good technical measurements. As the set is directed towards the video enthusiast, there’s a plethora of adjustments offered. For best results, start out with our recommendations below and then try out various settings to see if they have either a beneficial or deleterious effect.
Right at posting time, Samsung announced the availability of updated firmware for their 3D models already on the market (including, of course, our review sample), with an additional control option that lets users adjust the 3D effect. At a recent training session for reviewers at their Los Angeles QA labs, Samsung chief engineer Simon Lee correctly pointed out that not all people see 3D the same way, and that the firm felt it important to give the user the ability to further fine-tune the 3D effect. Within the 3D picture adjust submenu, there are now the following 3D adjustment options: