An early entrant into the 3D market with their LED edge-lit LCD models this past spring, Samsung now adds 3D plasma models to their range in two series, in 50”, 58” and 63” sizes. The main differentiation between the top end 8000 series and the slightly lower priced 7000 line is the inclusion of what Samsung calls their “Black Filter”, which enhances contrast by reducing reflected glare in high ambient light situations.
Samsung continues to offer a “3D Starter” kit, which includes two pairs of battery powered active shutter glasses and a promotional 3D Blu-ray of the movie Monsters vs. Aliens from DreamWorks Animation. The company also has begun sales of rechargeable active shutter glasses, with a model for adults at $199.99 and a model for kids at $179.99.
Consider this HDTV if: you’re into 3D and you like the rich picture that plasma delivers, along with plasma’s superior wide viewing angle.
Look elsewhere if: you want a brighter picture—consider instead one of Samsung’s LED edge-lit 3D HDTV models.
Ratings (relative to comparably-priced HDTVs):
In addition to decoding 3D Blu-ray movies, which are just starting to trickle into the market (and which also requires a 3D-compatible Blu-ray player, such as Samsung’s BD-C6900), the Samsung includes 2D-3D upconversion, which works fairly well. In addition to the 3D Blu-ray decoder, the set provides two other 3D decoding functions, including top-bottom and side-by-side for broadcast 3D programs. When the 3D function is activated, the set’s brightness is boosted and the color balance is shifted, to correct for the 3D glasses’ corresponding attenuation and color shift.
The set also features a broad array of internet-enabled applications, including video streaming from pay services such as Blockbuster, Netflix, CinemaNow and Vudu, as well as other apps such as YouTube video streaming, Pandora internet radio, Google maps, and social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. Other applications can be downloaded from Samsung’s Apps store.
There’s a film judder reduction feature with two levels of smoothing, which works quite well at getting rid of 24 frames-per-second induced artifacts, most noticeable on horizontal pans. There’s also a split-screen demo mode with one half of the screen processed and the other half unprocessed. Some will find the feature desirable, while others might object that it makes their favorite films look too much like video. The feature can be turned off, of course.
In addition to the four HDMI inputs, the set only has one component video input, which can be used as a composite video input, but it’s an either/or proposition. Users with multiple legacy video components that lack HDMI outputs should take note of the set’s single analog video input.
There’s an RJ-45 LAN port for connection to a wired home network, and the set includes two USB ports, one of which can be used with an optional wireless network adapter. There’s also an RGB PC input, which can accept signals up to the set’s native 1920 x 1080 resolution.
On Screen Display
In addition to logical groupings for video, audio, setup and such, there’s a help section that provides answers to common setup and operational questions as well as providing guidance on the best way to connect source devices. Video adjustment controls include slider bars and numeric indicators, and there’s a room light sensor that can be used to automatically brighten or dim the picture according to the room’s ambient light level.