3D is the buzzword surrounding the world of large screen displays, but can Samsung do the business with the new C7000?
I’ll have to admit that the movies I have seen filmed in 3D have been a bit of a mixed bag: Avatar was superbly created with the use of proper 3D cameras, while both Clash Of The Titans and Alice In Wonderland were filmed in 2D and then converted, raising my eyebrows during a few scenes of each movie with some weird visual anomalies.
Still, I managed to be entertained nonetheless by all three movies, and that’s what it’s all about: dodging spears and cups of tea being flung out of the screen is bloody good fun!
I do find the emergence (or is that re-emergence) of 3D as a viewing experience a touch ironic: the facts are, we spend all our time while we are awake viewing the world through a pair of stereoscopic, 3D eyes. It seems to me that we should be more into 2D, shouldn’t we?
That’s what I thought, until the nice chap from Samsung popped over with a present – the new C7000 LED edge-lit 46” LCD panel.
This svelte display is second from the top in Samsung’s premium LCD display range and is of course fully 3D capable, hence my wordy preamble. But it’s a lot more TV than that.
It’ll also connect to the internet, allow users to make internet phone calls using in-built Skype software (you’ll have to purchase a suitable webcam), and it’ll even act as a PVR with a USB hard drive connected to it.
Unsurprisingly, it’ll also connect wirelessly with a PC or Mac to stream content – video, music and photos, into the lounge.
Another feature is the C7000’s ability to convert ‘standard’ 2D programme material to 3D, and I had to wonder how effective this would be implemented – more on this later in the review.
The list doesn’t end there of course, but another important factor is the appearance of the panel, and that’s where Samsung have also come up trumps, as the C7000 is one very spunky looking display indeed.
The slim line panel bolts to an art-deco inspired chromed four leg base pedestal, and while the black bezel is identical to most displays these days (you wouldn’t want a white bezel would you), the stylish appearance of the Samsung meant it didn’t look out of place in my lounge – probably because my home is chock full of stylish stuff of course.
Now Samsung’s present was a short-lived joy – three days to be precise, as the review panel was doing the Queens tour throughout the land. But it gave me enough time to have a jolly good play and do the whole 3D thing in the comfort of my own home.
Two pairs of 3D ‘shutter’ glasses are included with each panel, and although resembling Blu-Blockers they weren’t noticeable to wear after a while – a far cry from the cardboard horrors of the dim distant past.
Here is where things get complicated. 3D on Blu-ray requires HDMI version 1.4, and this is lacking on both my Pioneer LX70 Receiver and Cambridge Audio Blu-ray player, so Samsung kindly included the new 3D capable BD-C6900 for the review. This was cabled to the panel with an appropriate high speed HDMI cable, and audio connections were via the trusty 7.1 analogue connections on the LX70. I was ready to rock!
As of the present time 3D Blu-ray software is as rare as rocking horse shit, so Samsung is bundling Pixar’s Monsters And Aliens with the purchase price, and so that’s where I started my 3D viewing.
It’s as far from Jaws 3D or Creature From The Black Lagoon as is possible in terms of 3D effects, as the C7000 produced not only excellent picture clarity and detail, but a believable depth of field among the whiz-bang stuff. And that was the telling point – 3D doesn’t have to be all about dodging projectiles while enjoying a movie; actually believing that there is distance between the foreground and background is equally important. That, folks, is all down to the way a movie is filmed or created. Watching standard Blu-ray and broadcast TV (Freeview HD) was also enhanced in 3D mode, and it’s here where Samsung’s boffins have walked the fine line between gimmicky effects, creating that depth of field I mentioned earlier.
Out of 3D mode, and I found the C7000 a fine panel indeed. The colours were natural and of a wide gamut, while definition was sharp but not at the expense of a natural look.
If I was to nit pick I’d say black levels weren’t quite up to the best plasma panels, but otherwise there isn’t much to fault about the C7000.
Except that I had to give it back. Damn. GARY PEARCE