Samsung PS50C7000

The Samsung PS50C7000 is one of the best plasmas on the market and boasts one of the most complete feature sets available. Not quite deserving of full marks, though.


8.4
CNET Rating
8.0
User Rating

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CNET Editor

Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury


One of the most popular stories on CNET Australia was originally written way back in 2005 — Plasma vs LCD: which is right for you? — and while the article's seen changes and updates along the way, it's a subject people still want to know about. In the meantime, LCD has somehow morphed into something called LED, while to many people plasma technology seems much the same as it was back then.

But this hasn't stopped companies such as Panasonic, Samsung, and (up until 18 months ago) Pioneer innovating in plasma technology. While Panasonic currently rules the roost with its VT20 and V20 televisions, Samsung shows it has the chops to mix it with the Japanese with the C7000 series.

Design

While it's had its imitators, Samsung has produced some striking televisions over the last few years, and in our opinion the C7000 is one of the best. While it lacks the stainless steel bling of the Samsung 9000 it has an attractive finish all of its own. The bezel is a brushed metallic plastic surrounded by a clear border, which is much swankier-looking than it sounds.

The TV attaches to the stand via a clear plastic column — in vogue at the moment — and the stand itself is one of the most reassuringly chunky we've seen in a long time. Our only problem here is that there is quite a bit of flex between the stand and the panel itself. It's highly unlikely to ever overbalance and topple over, but it's not very reassuring.

The remote itself is the brushed aluminum model we saw with the C7000 LCD. It's got backlit, laser-etched keys and is easy to use. We can only grumble that there's not enough distinction between the arrow keys and the Exit button, which can cause you to quit menus unexpectedly.

Features

As this is a flagship plasma TV there is very little it can't actually do. Let us take a big breath as we attempt to describe the many cool things it can perform. Firstly, yes, it's a 3D TV, and thanks for asking. It can do 2D-to-3D conversion as well, but in our experience this is pretty horrible. Unless there's a bundling deal on at the time you read this you will need to buy glasses seperately.

Secondly, it does IPTV, and for us this is more compelling than 3D. You can currently stream YouTube, and in future you should be able to stream catch-up TV. While Samsung has said it's working with partners such as Bigpond and Nine, nothing has yet to appear.

After a quick flirtation with "Widgets", Samsung has now renamed its TV plug-ins the more universally accepted "Apps". Current apps include Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and Samsung has put out the call asking for developers to provide more. Whether they will given the allure of the upcoming Google TV is another thing.

As far as "other stuff", it does things such as 1080 FHD Motion, Motion Judder Canceller, PVR function with the addition of an USB disk and DLNA streaming.

To connect the internet you have a choice of either wired or wireless capability; to connect to the rest of your equipment you have four HDMI ports, two USB ports, a single component, an AV input and a VGA connector. Unfortunately, the ports are set in quite deeply, and so if you're wall-mounting you'll need to lift the TV up on its hinge to plug anything in.

Performance

After a quick calibration with our Monster disk and turning off all the unnecessary processing such as Noise Reduction and Judder Reduction we were ready to sit down and spend some time with the C7000.

We started with the onboard tuner and found it capable of crisp images without any blockiness, and while there were some jaggies present on boundary lines when watching sport on One HD, they were far less noticeable than through a TV such as the Panasonic VT20.

We threw some DVDs at the screen next, fed via component from a Toshiba BDX2000 Blu-ray player, and we were quite impressed with the results. Whether it was the TV's as-yet-unrivalled performance in the new HQV 2.0 synthetic benchmarks or simply DVD movies, the Samsung performed admirably. Jaggies and noise were effectively banished and the picture quality was up there with the best we've seen this year.

The TV was equally as talented with Blu-rays: images are impressive with good saturation and depth. Noise and other artefacts are also nothing to worry about with MI3 looking "grainy" instead of "noisy" — just as it should. Switching to Batman Begins, though, we found that the dark, moody picture wasn't as crisp as it can be with the best TVs, while at the same time demonstrating that the usual plasma failing — blotchy, buzzy colours — wasn't a problem here.

The main contributor to the screen's success is Samsung's new panel, which features a "glass-less" front similar to the new Panasonics, which not only means deep blacks but amazing off-axis viewing. While this year's V20 and VT20 still lord it over the Sammy for pure contrast, it's at least at the level of last year's Panasonic G series. The only significant negative here is that of burn-in, which is higher than on the Panasonic models.

As any professional calibrator will tell you, black reproduction is the most important quality a TV should have, and if this is also significant to you, we'd say skim over the Samsung and head for the AU$500 cheaper V20. Of course, you'd be missing out on the embarrassment of features the C7000 offers.

While in years to come 3D won't be seen as much of a novelty, at the moment there are only a handful of TVs that can do it and the Plasma C7000 is one. Images were relatively clear when donning the 3D glasses, though a movie such as Monsters vs Aliens still displayed some cross-talk issues. We've seen worse from the same manufacturer, so if you want to get a Samsung TV for 3D, this is the one to buy.

2D-to-3D conversion has been tamed down from the original version and now adds the perception of depth rather than make everything onscreen look like cardboard cutouts. It remains a gimmick, however, with complex scenes and images that are supposed to be flat — ie newspaper clippings, T-shirt designs — still looking unnatural.

Sony is currently the king of IPTV, followed by Panasonic and LG and then Samsung. Being able to browse YouTube is nifty, but grazing is all you can do. It's up to the other brands to provide in depth content at this point. Where we think the TV is less successful is in the Samsung Apps implementation. While it offers a single, one-stop sign in process you need to jump through through some complicated hoops to register and sign in. Even then applications such as Facebook don't work. In our opinion applications belong on single-user devices such as your PC and your smart phone, as televisions just aren't ready yet.

Sound quality isn't one of the Samsung's major selling points, with voices sounding overly boomy and an inability for the onboard speaker system to go very loud. Like any TV though, we'd only use the onboard speakers in an emergency and recommend investing in a home theatre system instead.

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TellyNerd posted a comment   

The Good:Great picture and colours

The Bad:Sound is a little on the boomy side

Probably the best tv out there at the moment.In my opinion, it`s better than the panasonic VT20 considering its price.
Don`t worry about what the reviewers say, this IS the best tv.

 

meekey posted a comment   

Does anyone know how to get the 3D content in movies to "spring" out of the screen like at the cinema? I may as well be watching 2D movies because for the money I paid for this tv does not deliver true 3D to my viewing.
Thanx.
Meekey.

Tsville1974
6
Rating
 

Tsville1974 posted a review   

The Good:3D, HD, Made for 3D/BRay Entertainment

The Bad:Poor FTA Pic Quality, Recording Icon won't disappera.

I really wanted to give a higher mark, however I am somewhat disappointed with the quality of this unit.
The FTA (both SD and HD) pick quality if just horrible..recpetion is fine, but unit gives grossly false skin tones, text is sometimes extremely blurry, representation of colours are horrible at times and skin tones are sometimes very "blotchy"...
The 2nd thing is that when you record via the PVR or the Samsung C8800 HDD 3D Blueray, when you record and watch the same program, the Recording Icon in the top left of the panel does NOT go away, instead jumping around the corner as your record >> contacted Samsung via email, 2 weeks to reply to say that was correct and nothing can be done!! WTF!!!
Where the unit does shine is in Blue Ray and 3D Playback.
Updated from 42in Panasonic SD unit where FTA reception was awesome compared to this unit at times.
If you want great (possibly the best) panel for B/Ray and 3D this is it!..however don't expect to get unnatural colours and skin tones on SD and HD FTA.
All in all, a little disappointed Samsung!

 

Beefer posted a comment   

Hi
I bought the 50" C7000 plasma a couple of weeks ago (replaced a 40" Samsung LCD LA40M81BD). Awesome TV this one.
Has anyone been able to get the wireless connectivity to work? I haven't.
My router is in another room and I can't get a wired connection into the TV. Will need wireless.
Tks.

 

Shanej posted a reply   

Hi There,

Have you thought of something like the Netcomm NP203 (Home Entertainment Ethernet over Power Kit)?

Cheers,

 

Beefer posted a reply   

Thanks Shanej. Unlikely to go there. Will use wireless on TV (it is supposed to have wifi) if it works. If not, there is always PS3 :)

 

Michael posted a reply   

Nope, you'll need an adapter for WiFi connectivity. Sold separately, says so in the manual.

 

Beefer posted a reply   

Ah... thanks Michael. If only I'd read the manual :)

 

Andrew posted a comment   

Hi,
Thinking of buying this TV. Does anyone know it's energy star rating? How efficient is this plasma Vs LCD/LED equivalents?

Someone told me running this type of TV is equivalent to having a bar heating running all day long????

Is this true??

 

chilliphilli20 posted a reply   

hey i just got this TV today, and its 3 stars and it uses 800K/W per year


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User Reviews / Comments  Samsung PS50C7000

  • TellyNerd

    TellyNerd

    "Probably the best tv out there at the moment.In my opinion, it`s better than the panasonic VT20 considering its price.
    Don`t worry about what the reviewers say, this IS the best tv."

  • meekey

    meekey

    "Does anyone know how to get the 3D content in movies to "spring" out of the screen like at the cinema? I may as well be watching 2D movies because for the money I paid for this tv does not deliver ..."

  • Tsville1974

    Tsville1974

    Rating6

    "I really wanted to give a higher mark, however I am somewhat disappointed with the quality of this unit.
    The FTA (both SD and HD) pick quality if just horrible..recpetion is fine, but unit ..."

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