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CNET First Look
Samsung PN50C8000Samsung's PNC8000 series plasma TV produces one of the highest-quality pictures we've tested this year in both 2D and 3D modes, yet costs less than its direct competition.
Hi there, David Katzmaier here from CNET.com and this is the Samsung PNC8000 series video review. This is the 50-inch version of the series. There is also a 58- and a 63-inch version. We expect similar picture quality from all sizes so this review will apply to all of them. This is Samsung's flagship plasma TV for 2010. That means it has all the features that the company can offer and that's quite a few but we'll talk about that in a little bit. They styling here is first thing on the menu. You can see the TV is not your standard glossy black around the edge of the frame. It's actually a grayer color, relatively light gray with kind of a transparent border around the edge here and equal width on all sides. We really like the look of this TV. It's a very sleek look. There's a little bit of accent provided here by the stainless steel top stand and, of course, it does swivel. That feature set does include 3D compatibility meaning if you connect a 3D compatible device and 3D content and watch through 3D glasses, you can enjoy third-dimension television on this TV. The TV also converts 2D content to 3D which isn't found on all 3D TVs available. It does allow you to play around with a couple of the settings with 3D as well so, all told, the 3D feature set on this TV is as good as it gets, although it does include a free pair of glasses. Another prominent feature on the Samsung is the App Suite. If you connect the Internet to this TV via wire or an optional dongle for Wi-Fi, you can get access to a whole bunch of apps. Samsung currently has the most apps of any TV provider, that includes Netflix and Hulu Plus in addition to YouTube and a whole bunch of other video streaming apps. There's also a separate Yahoo! widget section that can be a little confusing because there's apps and widgets on this TV. Widgets will include Facebook and there's also a Facebook app so, again, if you want your Facebook, you can get it in two ways on this set. We did like the apps implementation overall, however, and it's nice to see all that content. Samsung does have a 3D streaming video content app, for example, that allows it to show video previews and stuff like that so we look forward to seeing the platform can bring. More features include some of the best adjustability we've seen on any TV. That includes a ten-point grayscale adjustment, gamma and color management system. You can also play around with dejudder on this TV. It's the only plasma on the market with dejudder processing. That's not really a good thing in our opinion but if you want to, you can engage the dejudder in a couple of presets and see how smooth the picture looks. If you turn off dejudder, however, you'll find that the Samsung is one of the best performing TVs on the market. We really did appreciate its deep black levels, although they're not quite as deep as some of the other TVs. It does have excellent color and the video processing, very good. You can actually get it to handle 1080p24 content correctly, again, if you turn off dejudder. Another highlight on the Samsung is its excellent bright room capabilities. It will preserve black levels a lot better under the lights than most plasma TVs. It also reduces reflections relatively well, although all things considered, it's not as good as a matte-screened LCD for a bright room. And, of course, like any plasma, it beats LCDs in terms of uniformity and being able to view the picture from off angle. Finally, in terms of 3D performance, the Samsung was one of the best we've seen so far. It had very little crosstalk compared to a lot of the LCD models this year and color accuracy was quite good in the presets and, of course, you can adjust a lot of the picture parameters in 3D which is really nice. There's also four HDMI inputs on the back panel and one component video input. That's a little bit less analog connectivity than most TVs in this price range. There's also a pair of USB inputs on the back. It's nice to have the second one in case you use one for a Wi-Fi dongle. That's a quick look at the Samsung PNC8000 series and I'm David Katzmaier.