Normally a TV as self-consciously cheap as this would have practically zero features of interest. But Samsung has refused to compromise too heavily in this department, either. The screen still employs, for instance, Samsung’s impressive FilterBright element, which claims to soak up around 90 per cent of ambient screen reflections. And it’s joined by a new ‘Optimal Light Filter’ element that boosts contrast and brightness by reducing the extent to which light diffuses as it emerges from the screen.
Samsung’s Digital Natural Image engine processing, meanwhile, is on hand to improve colour tones/saturations, motion handling, detailing, black levels and noise levels, while a new Movie Plus option in the onscreen menus apparently improves the set’s 3:2 progressive pull-down processing (by adding in more image frames).
To be honest we found ourselves a little unconvinced by Movie Plus when it debuted on Samsung’s LE32R87 LCD set recently. But then it may not actually be necessary to activate Movie Plus with the PS42Q97HDX anyway given that plasma technology tends to suffer less with motion resolution issues than LCD.
With so much going on already, it hardly seems realistic to also expect the PS42Q97HDX to deliver much of a picture performance. But it does.
It’s clear almost immediately that most of the key elements in producing a winning picture performance are in place. For instance, the screen’s black levels are really outstanding, making Samsung’s claims of a 15000:1 contrast ratio appear less fanciful than we’d anticipated. In fact, the inky blackness that forms the backdrops to so much of Alien and the terrifying experience of Condemned on the Xbox 360 looks almost as profound and free of greyness as it does on Panasonic’s latest plasmas – and you can’t say fairer than that.