If there’s one thing likely to kickstart a revolution, it’s an eye-poppingly well-priced product. The 3D market has been calling out for a low-priced marvel, a 50in screen that delivers the thrills of the third dimension, but without also securing the ills of an empty bank account. And the sub-£1,000 Samsung PS50C6900 might just be that product.
Deciding to jettison the more common LCD technology in favour of plasma, the Samsung PS50C6900 also holds out the potential of 3D without the dreaded crosstalk. So can it live up to its own hype?
The Samsung PS50C6900 is a little bulkier than some, essentially down to the plasma technology – only LCD screens can get those delicious sub-30mm frames – but the Samsung hides its extra weight well. In truth, few people are likely to wander past it and notice the additional padding. Visually, the Samsung is fairly standard for a 3D screen. Which is to say, it’s very pleasing on the eye, if not outstanding. It doesn’t have the beauty of the Sony’s all-encompassing design, for instance. But it is still quite sleek, with a smart black border framing the screen, and a nice plastic trim running around the perimeter. The silver base is something of a contrast to the mainly black frame, but it makes for an interesting overall effect. The stand has plenty of weight underneath it too, so it creates stability.
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You could have been forgiven for thinking that Samsung would cut corners with its ports and connectors. But there’s no question of this, with the Samsung PS50C6900 delivering everything we’ve already seen on more expensive screens. So you get four v1.4 HDMI ports, for instance. You also get two USB connectors, although, typically for these screens, you might need to fill this with the optional wireless adapter. It’s nice to see that you can use the remaining port for USB hard drives, and that these will work with timeshifting, so you can record, pause and rewind television. Rather than have some ports and connectors placed on the side of the television, the Samsung has a rear-mounted panel that has some ports located on the top, and some running around the side. So while those ports placed on the side of the panel (which includes the HDMI and USB) are still accessible, they are set a decent distance back from the edge of the television. This also ensures the cables will be hidden away at the back. In addition to USB and HDMI, you also have the usual smattering of ports – composite, SCART, Lan etc. An HD FreeView tuner is built in, as is DLNA support. In short, then, we find it hard to criticise the Samsung’s selection of connections.
As with the Samsung UE46C8000, the 50in gives you access to the Internet@TV interface. Samsung’s take on the internet for television is no longer the market-leader of old, but it’s still nicely done, and gives users a fair sampling of applications – including YouTube, Picasa, Twitter, Skype (with the addition of a TV camera), Google Maps, Getty Images and LOVEFiLM. Samsung needs to make sure it keeps signing up third parties in order to stay ahead, but for now it looks well placed.
The remote control is a rather attractive little device, with various lights assigned to the different buttons. Not all of the button captions are instantly comprehensible, with a fair degree of trial and error needed to pinpoint the required button. However, the versatility is certainly there, and this is a highly-functional remote for those who can unlock its secrets. The television also supports Samsung’s Anynet+, which theoretically allows a range of compatible devices to be controlled using the remote, with the system even selecting the right inputs and settings on all devices – not just the television. The television’s main menu system is, in keeping with other Samsung screens, easy to follow. The Advanced mode lets you mould the colour palette to your liking, whether through adjusting the white balance, modifying the flesh tone or gamma, or simply tweaking the different colours.
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However, the real excitement of this screen comes in the quality of the 3D. Whereas the LCD LED televisions almost invariably suffer from crosstalk, the familiar ghosting is hard to detect in the Samsung P550C6900. The image is smooth and responsive, with the various 3D effects rendered perfectly. Even the toughest Monsters vs Aliens and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs tests failed to throw up too many inaccuracies, while the depth and definition of objects in titles like Bolt and Alice in Wonderland was very strong. We have seen better screens (such as the also-Plasma but considerably more expensive Panasonic), but the Samsung is still one of the best for 3D.
HD playback is also pretty strong, with the Samsung’s balanced colour palette making a good job of most scenes, whether we’re talking Dark Knight or the rather brighter Coraline. The Samsung PS50C6900 generates good levels of detail, and images are again very smooth under pressure, with little in the way of rippling. In keeping with plasmas, the SD content isn’t as good, but the Samsung is very much a television that will thrive with HD content.
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