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Hands-on with Samsung's 3D TV lineup

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Hot on the heels of Samsung revealing some of its extensive lineup of 3D TVs will be available as early as next month, we were given a chance to take a look at them first hand at Samsung's European Forum in Vienna.

Samsung will be releasing 3D on all three of its TV lineups, that is plasma, LED (backlit), and LCD (CCFL backlit) and all will use the same sequential-frame 3D technology that Panasonic's screens use. This has the TV display alternate images for the left and right eyes at 120Hz then a set of glasses alternately blocks the image for each eye at 60Hz. The result is each eye receives 60 images a second, which your brain then interprets as a constant stream of 3D pictures. It's quite an effective system but it does have its drawbacks like expensive glasses and, well, the need to wear glasses at all. For the time being, it is the only viable solution for use on TVs in the home, though.

Presumably due to their imminent availability, Samsung was only showing off the entry level LED backlit models in its 3D demos. However, considering plasma's generally accepted ability to better handle fast motion and high framerates, we would've thought that the better tech to show 3D off. Indeed, where the quality of the picture and 3D experience on Panasonic's plasma models that we looked at last week was not in doubt (only the size of the screeen and overall impression of 3D left us wanting more), the screen's Samsung showed us were more inherently flawed.

Backlight bleed was clearly visible - the grey patches you see in the black areas of the TVs below is backlight bleed, not a part of the picture - while on-screen motion resulted in the picture becoming really choppy. This latter point is an inherent problem with 3D content in general but it did seem more pronounced on these sets.

However, while Samsung was showing off its full lineup of 3D capable TVs, which consists of the C9000, C8000, and C7000 LED TVs, the 7 series of plasmas and 7 series of LCD TVs, only the C7000 series was showing 3D content so there's stlil hope for the other sets. In particular it will be interesting to see how well the super thin C9000 series hold up as they look absolutely stunning otherwise.

Another plus point is the glasses were infinitely more comfortable than Panasonic's, they fit easily over glasses. and they conform to an open standard so there's potential for them to work with other TVs. All the new TVs also have the ability to just plug in a USB hard drive or flash memory stick and turn the TV into a PVR, which is really exciting. Also, Samsung has expanded its online content including a collaboration with LoveFilm to stream movies direct to your TV (there's no word on pricing yet).

All told though, we're still generally of the opinion that 3D doesn't work on normal size TVs in the home. The picture is too small and anything but absolute darkness surrounding the TV is doubly distracting for 3D content. Some of us do still hold out hope for 3D in the home - especially for projectors - but we're steadily getting the impression it's not going to be a satisfactory mainstream option for a good while yet.

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