The PS50C6900’s 3D pictures are slightly brighter than Panasonic’s, meaning that it arguably delivers a little more colour punch and shadow detail. However, before we get too excited about this, the screen can't produce as profound a black level as Panasonic’s screens. A downside of which is that 3D pictures don’t tend to appear quite so full of depth or convincing during dark scenes as Panasonic’s.
Taking Samsung’s reasonably comfortable and effective 3D glasses off and switching to 2D material emphasises the slight black level shortcomings noted before. For without the darkening effect of the shuttering glasses, it’s apparent that there’s a sheen of greyness over black colours that you just don’t get with Panasonic’s sets - or, at least, that you don’t get with sets from the middle G20/GT20) upwards of Panasonic’s range.
Another issue we have with the PS50C6900’s 2D pictures is that they’re not particularly comfortable with standard definition material, leaving all but the most pristine of standard def sources looking rather soft. You get the odd quirky looking colour tone with standard def material, too.
Thankfully, though, the PS50C6900 really shifts through the gears with HD pictures. The softness evaporates and turns into some excellent sharpness and detailing, while colours look more natural and subtle across the board. More subtle shading in dark areas hides the set’s slight black level shortcomings to some extent too, making HD pictures look more dynamic and rich.
Also with HD pictures, you can really get a sense of how decent the PS50C6900’s motion handling is for such a cheap screen. There actually seems less judder with 50Hz sources, in fact, than you get with Panasonic’s sets. And there’s not a sign of the motion blur so common with LCD TVs.
You can also watch the PS50C6900 from almost any angle without it losing colour saturation or contrast, unlike the vast majority of LCD TVs.
As well as its mostly impressive pictures, the PS50C6900 proves a surprisingly decent audio performer. There’s still a problematic shortage of bass, and the soundstage can’t really open up to immersive levels when required to by a thumping action scene. But the soundstage is more rounded, dynamic and clean than you get with Samsung’s edge LED TVs.
With interest in 3D arguably slightly waning as we head into Christmas (especially with Panasonic keeping the Avatar 3D Blu-ray off the streets while it bundles it exclusively with its TVs and Blu-ray packages), the PS50C6900 couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Sure, Panasonic’s 3D screens still outperform it with 2D and 3D, and it will be interesting to see how much of a difference the black filter in Samsung’s C7000 plasma screens makes. But the headline-grabbing bottom line with the PS50C6900 is that it’s the first big-screen TV that makes alternate frame 3D both truly watchable and truly affordable all at the same time.