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Samsung update nixes dejudder on PNC7000 TVs

Samsung has posted a firmware update for its PNC7000 series of plasma TVs to correct an issue that causes excessive, undefeatable dejudder processing.

Samsung's PN50C7000 scored well in our review, but it would have fared worse if it had the same undefeatable dejudder setting its earlier models had. Sarah Tew/CNET

After publishing a mostly positive review of the Samsung PNC7000 series on July 14, 2010, I received a couple of e-mails from readers wondering why I didn't notice its overt dejudder processing.

The processing, which apparently cannot be defeated without engaging Game mode on the PNC7000, creates a smoothing effect that typically make film look more like video. It's sometimes called the "Soap Opera Effect" at places like enthusiast Web site avsforum.

I replied to the readers that I didn't see any dejudder on the sample I reviewed, but I promised to ask Samsung for an explanation.

The explanation came a couple of days later, when Samsung's representative said the company had sent me a review sample that contained firmware that was not yet available to the public.

The reply e-mail read:

"A firmware update is being released on Friday, 7/23 (v1026) and will solve your reader's dejudder issue, updates your review unit already contains." When I asked why, the reply was: "Your TV had the firmware update because it was already supposed to be out before Friday and we didn't want you to have to re-review the unit."

Apparently, Samsung released the PNC7000 series in April with a undefeatable dejudder setting. After three months and lot of complaints, at CNET and on avsforum's 139+ page owner's thread, an update is now available that, according to Samsung, will remove the processing.

We downloaded the update and applied it to our PN50C7000, and we saw no extra smoothing or dejudder. In short, it works, at least as far as we can tell. But our sample TV we used for our review didn't show dejudder in the first place, so we can't confirm that it's a true fix. We've also read that toggling the Game mode in the Setup menu on and then off--which has to be done once for each input--will also remove dejudder, but again it's impossible for us to test on our sample.

The update is only available from Samsung's support Web site. The site doesn't mention dejudder or smoothing in the firmware's description, and for some reason, the upgrade isn't available via the TVs' internal software download.

If you want to perform the upgrade, make sure to follow Samsung's instructions carefully; failing to do so can "brick" your TV. However, if you're a PNC7000 owner plagued by dejudder and you can't turn off without engaging the Game mode, the update is probably worth installing.