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New Samsung Series 7 plasmas add digital media capabilities and limited networking

New models offer enhanced network connectivity, digital media compatibility, and color bezels.

Samsung Series 7 plasma HDTV
Samsung Series 7 plasma HDTV Samsung

Not content to expand only its LCD line-up, Samsung unveiled some new plasma TVs as well. As with the step-down Series 6 models, the Series 7 plasmas utilize the company's increasingly ubiquitous Touch of Color bezels (in this case, rose red accents), and feature the same digital media playback functionality and InfoLink online data access found on the Series 7 LCD models. Full details follow.

Samsung Series 7 plasma HDTVs

  • Samsung PN50A760 (50-inch; $2,800; August 2008)
  • Samsung PN58A760 (58-inch; $4,500; August 2008)
  • Samsung PN63A760 (63-inch; $5,500; August 2008)

Key features of the Samsung Series 7 line:

  • native 1080-pixel resolution
  • 4 HDMI inputs (3 rear, 1 side)
  • "Touch of Color" bezel (rose red accent)
  • InfoLink (access to online RSS content from USA Today, including news, weather, and stock quotes)
  • digital media playback via USB and DLNA network sources (play MP3 audio, JPEG photos, XviD, and MPEG4 videos)
  • Energy Star compliant

All of the above models are equipped with an Ethernet port for accessing the Internet or network-based digital media and information. However, the $35 Wireless LinkStick accessory will add Wi-Fi access as well. One note on the so-called DLNA compliance: in the Series 7 LCD model, we found that the TV only recognized digital media from a PC running Samsung's own server software. That's fine, but that doesn't measure up to our understanding of the DLNA standard, which is supposed to provide for streaming from any DLNA-certified device, such as network hard drives.

Note that CNET gave the step-down Samsung PN50A550 (Series 5) plasma excellent marks in a hands-on review earlier this year. If you don't need the digital media and network features on the Series 7 models (or the dubious Touch of Color design flair, which is also available on the Series 6 models), the Series 5 models still represent a great value, especially compared with higher-rated Panasonic and Pioneer models, which still tend to cost more.

Source: Samsung press release (PDF link)