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Samsung PNC7000 series (photos)

Among the better 2D performers available, the Samsung PNC7000 series plasma also delivers 3D for less than the competition.

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David Katzmaier
1 of 17 Sarah Tew/CNET

Overview

As the least-expensive plasma TV for 2010 to feature 3D compatibility, the Samsung PNC7000 series will strike a chord of interest with those who care both about the picture quality advantages of plasma over LCD--such as improved uniformity and off-angle viewing--and about that much-hyped third dimension. And judging from the four 3D models we've reviewed, plasma provides a significant advantage over LCD for 3D picture quality, too. That said, the excellent overall 2D image on the Samsung PNC7000 series is what matters most to us, despite a few niggles that keep it from the very top of the class. A comprehensive feature set and slick, slim styling sweeten the deal even further, making the PNC7000 one of the most impressive plasmas we've seen so far.
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Side view

This is what 1.4 inches deep looks like.
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Corner detail

A transparent edge and a matte finish distinguish the PNC7000's frame.
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Stand

A transparent swivel stand stalk separates the brushed metal of the base from the panel.
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Inputs

The slim panel necessitates a cramped input section. Four HDMI are onboard, but only one component-video input.
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3D glasses not included

Samsung's compatible 3D glasses, model SG-2100AB, cost about $150 per pair. You can also opt for the 3D starter kit, with two pairs of glasses and a movie, if you buy a Samsung 3D Blu-ray player.
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Remote

We don't like the new grid layout as much as the better-differentiated cursor keys on last year's remotes, but at least that fingerprint-magnet finish is gone.
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Main Apps page

Hulu Plus headlines an excellent selection of streaming Apps.
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Apps menu sorting

In addition to the iPhone-like default tile view for Apps, you can easily sort them by category.
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Yahoo widgets

In addition to the Apps interface, a separate one is available for Yahoo widgets. We find the presence of both somewhat confusing.
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Facebook App

Samsung whipped up its own Facebook app to go with the existing Yahoo widget. For some reason, the TV offers both.
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Samsung TV support app

One custom app offers support videos and features demos for numerous Samsung products.
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Main picture menu

We're still fans of Samsung's menu design.
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A few options exist to combat burn-in.
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Film mode settings

Unlike some other Samsung plasmas, the PNC7000 series lacks an option for 1080p/24 compatibility.
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3D menu

Samsung offers a few 3D options in the menu.
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2D picture quality

All told, the PNC7000 provided excellent picture quality with 2D sources, evincing deep black levels and relatively accurate color. It lacks the 1080p/24 processing, inky blacks, and spot-on color of some high-end TVs, but it showed no major issues in our tests, and delivered the uniformity and off-angle prowess we expect from plasma.

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