Screen Shot

There's an interesting story behind the photo of the Samsung rear projection set that appears on the home page and in the product review. As most of you know, such photos are almost never taken directly from a television showing an actual image. Instead, the image is inserted later into a blank screen photo of the set using a computer program, most often Photoshop. This program allows nearly any photo to be resized and reconfigured to fit a television screen originally shot at any angle.

This isn't underhanded; there are valid photographic reasons why it is done. But it does emphasize that you should take such images as decorative only, and not representative of what you'll see on the real set. The most obvious examples are the projected big-screen images shown in articles about those upscale, custom installed home theaters. They are—let's be frank—faked. They have to be; the rooms are brightly lit so you can see the faux baroque woodwork, art deco columns, and red velvet wallpaper. Any screen image shot live under such conditions will be so washed out that the projector manufacturer would have a heart attack. I often wonder how many custom installers get complaints from customers that they can't enjoy their million dollar home bijou with the lights on. "But what about those photos of your last installation I saw in The Bob Report?"

But I digress. The photo you see on the Samsung RPTV is a genuine screen shot. But it was taken by me off the screen of a Samsung flat panel display at last January's CES. So what you see is actually an on-line reduction of a photo taken off the screen of another display. So three imagers were involved: your computer monitor, the camera's sensors, and the Samsung flat panel that started it all. Ignoring, of course, whatever it took to capture the original photo. The photo here is the original!