Test Report: Samsung PN58C7000 3D Plasma HDTV Page 3

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3D PERFORMANCE
Trying out the Samsung?s 2D-to-3D conversion circuitry on several movies and shows, I found it a mild, though sometimes distracting, enhancement. It added a bit of depth, but the 3D effect could also look contrived, as it did in the long shot of a banquet table in The Notebook in which the rows of receding glasses and table dressings seem to be painted on in multiple, layered panes. There's an initial thrill to seeing Jay Leno in 3D, but it wears off quickly, especially when you realize it's, well, Jay Leno.

On the other hand, Blu-ray 3D discs looked wonderful. I watched both Monsters vs. Aliens and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. (By the time you read this, How to Train Your Dragon will also be avail- able as an exclusive with Samsung's 3D starter kits.) Samsung smartly included a separate picture memory for 3D viewing that kicks in automatically when you activate that mode. This means you can adjust settings to make up for some of the picture brightness that's lost when strapping on 3D glasses without worrying about fouling your carefully tweaked 2D settings on the same input.

The Samsung's 3D picture quality was excellent, with none of the cross- talk (ghosting) artifacts that have been reported with 3D viewing on some LCD sets. I thought the effects were best used when adding a sense of immersion (as opposed to throwing objects in the viewer's face), such as the scene in Ice Age where Sid the sloth goes careening down a mountain on a sled made of tree bark to chase the rolling dinosaur eggs he's adopted as his own. I could really feel the rush of the ride as the trees and rocks whooshed by, and the long shot of him standing at the edge of the slope before going over was convincing. Monsters vs. Aliens was even more engaging. At one point, B.O.B., a blob of living Jell-o, gets stepped on by a giant robot and sticks to the bottom of its foot as it saunters away. As the robot disappeared and B.O.B.'s fellow monsters conferred in the foreground, the scene displayed a tremendous sense of depth. (I also noticed that if you pause the frame on this or other scenes like it, you can move your viewing position from side to side and see the background shift behind objects in the foreground, just like in real life. Cool!)

BOTTOM LINE

Samsung's ultra-slim PN58C7000 represents a breakthrough of sorts: a 3Dready TV that combines the picture-quality bene ts of top-tier plasma with an LED set's sexy, thin profile - all at a price that's cheaper than most LED-backlit LCDs with a similar screen size. It has impressive shadow depth and detail, excellent color accuracy, and a smooth, noise-free image that lets you forget you're watching a video display and not a film. If you want a TV that sucks you in and engages your senses, you won't go wrong here.

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