If you haven’t seen any of the new Samsung LED TVs you will marvel at how thin this unit actually is
Samsung has recently announced a new line of designer 3D glasses to go on sale at the end of the year. These aren't the lightweight paper ones that movie theatres passed out years ago for the occasional 3D horror flick. No these are active shutter LCD glasses (Samsung SSG2100RB) which when put in front of and paired with a Samsung 3D TV and turned on produce the depth perception required to view the third dimension of television.
Thankfully with your purchase of the new Samsung 3D TV you will receive 2 free pairs of rechargeable glasses. Also with the purchase of the Samsung 3D Blu-ray player (Samsun BD-C6900) you will receive the Samsung 3D Family Starter pack which contains another 2 pairs or battery powered 3D glasses and a Blu-ray copy of Monster Vs Aliens 3D. The whole package including the TV comes in at just over €1750, which is a bit of an expense. If you need more glasses, i.e. you are larger than the typical modern family (2.4 children) you can buy extra glasses rechargeable and non-rechargeable for €99 and €79 respectively.
So on to the actual TV, design wise it is something to behold. If you haven’t seen any of the new Samsung LED TVs you will marvel at how thin this unit actually is at 29mm. This is not the thinnest Samsung have gone, for that you need to look toward the 9000 Series sets (Samsung UNC9000), which are an amazing 7mm thick! As far as TV’s go it looks sleek and stylish with Samsung’s brushed aluminium frame with its soft square Perspex rim. It’s hard to find how they made the TV as it is all one solid piece, seamless and impossibly thin.
On the picture side of things the 8000 Series is a remarkable HDTV, offering some of the sharpest images available. Rather than use the traditional LCD or plasma technologies, Samsung have instead looked into LED, hence the remarkable thinness. LED also has the advantage of diming or turning off individual pixels resulting in truer blacks. Combine this with a lower power consumption and the fact that it is cheaper to manufacture means Samsung can market it effectively and sell it to the consumer as better value. If this was just a review on the TV alone we would recommend this TV alone. We reviewed the last Samsung Widget TV (non 3D version of this back in January) and everything we said back then hold true for this set with the premium extra in this set being 3D. It’s all there Internet@TV, HD, HD-Upscaler and a sea of connections to hook up you equipment.
But will 3D technology translate well into the home? One way the Samsung 3D TV overcomes the problem of availability of 3D material (see our 3D Content feature), is that it features a 2D-3D conversion function which will add depth to any flat image. Of course, it doesn't work as well as the genuine 3D-mastered material; the only way to get the full effect is from the 3D Blu-ray player or broadcasted stuff from Sky in a few months. But the 2D - 3D conversion works better than we expected and can produce watchable results.
3D pictures, in this case Monsters Vs Aliens, bring the expected wow factor, adding immersive depth and layering to the image. Even through the glasses in a darkened room, the image is bright, vivid and detailed. Sport comes alive and the Black Eyed Peas Concert demo we saw was amazing. You are pulled into the picture without the over the top 3D object trust into your eye line adding to the sceptical.
But the 3D display isn’t without problems - despite the inclusion of circuitry designed to reduce the 'crosstalk' interference that can blight 3D pictures, there’s still a lot of ghosting and blur that sometimes leaves your eyes unsure of what to focus on. Also Samsung recommend you sit 2m away from the set to get the optimum affect. I’m pretty sure not many people sit 2m away from the TV; Samsung’s answer – get a bigger set, we reviewed the 46 inch version and it was fine within 2-3m. Also in the office we noticed some flickering, later found out to be from out LED light bulbs affecting the frequency of the TV. Simply watching in the dark fixed the problem.
So, what's our conclusion? Samsung's 8000 Series on its own is a remarkable piece of kit. Adding the 3D TV element is undoubtedly an exciting and ground breaking advance in home TV technology, but at the moment it is hampered by a limited range of content, and glasses. However, if you are an early adopter, you will not fail to be amazed by the 3D affect. For special events, sporting, music, movies or whatever, you will find a truly immersive experience - An experience good enough to see past the faults of glasses, screen size and flickering.