The PS50A756’s rear is almost as impressive as its front, at least in technological terms. For its connectivity includes no less than four v1.3 HDMI inputs, and a USB 2.0 port able to play JPEG stills, MP3 music files, and even a huge selection of multimedia movie formats. Plus, of course, there’s the small matter of a LAN port so that you can jack the TV into the Internet.
Or your PC network, as it happens. For the PS50A756 is fully DLNA certified, enabling access to multimedia files stored on your PC. In other words, there really aren’t many multimedia bases this TV hasn’t got covered.
If all this talk of hardwiring the TV to your Internet connection all sounds a bit 2006 to you, fear not: you can also connect the PS50A756 wirelessly via a suitable router. All you need to do is buy an optional ‘Linkstick’ dongle (price TBC, but we suspect in the region of £30-£40) that slots into the TV’s USB port, and get the TV to recognise and connect with your router.
In time-honoured wireless fashion, though, this simple sounding procedure proved anything but straightforward during my tests. It took me the best part of two hours to finally get the TV to talk to my Belkin router, after the connection repeatedly failed at the ‘Gateway Ping’ stage.
The TV’s instructions manual provides at least a little help for getting round such problems, and it was actually one of the hints in there that finally cracked things for me. Basically, what I had to do was turn off my router’s Internet PING blocking system. Which, unless I’m mistaken, potentially laid my entire system open to hacking from anyone with even a fairly rudimentary understanding of how you go about such things. Ouch.
I’ve been trying to get Samsung to comment on this deeply unsatisfactory situation all week, but have yet to receive an answer worth repeating here. The only good news is that having once established contact with Samsung/Yahoo’s remote servers by deactivating the PING blocker, bizarrely I was then able to re-access the service in the future even after I’d put my PING blocking back on. Phew.
Right, after that lengthy but necessary diversion, let’s get back to the PS50A756’s truly extensive features count. For we’ve also got its 100Hz processing to tell you about, and its inclusion of the latest version of Samsung’s Movie Plus mode, which calculates entirely new frames of image data to make motion look more fluid and clear.
There’s also an intriguing bit of fluff known as the Content Library, where Samsung has stored a wide variety of lifestyle-oriented attractions on a wedge of built-in memory.
For instance, you can choose to watch a selection of classic paintings, relaxing landscape photography, or ‘party’ photos showing fun stuff like firework displays, Chinese lanterns and fairgrounds. Or you can browse a series of recipes. Or there’s a children’s section featuring a selection of illustrated, narrated stories, a collection of (awful) songs with accompanying (not exactly Pixar-standard!) animations, and even a selection of attractively presented if rather limited games, which let you do things like adjust a sheep’s face like you can adjust the faces of your Miis on the Nintendo Wii.
And finally there’s a ‘Fitness’ section, within which you can find a nice lady called Suzanne Martin showing you via stills and text how to go through various targeted exercise regimes. Needless to say, I soon left this section and went back to making funny looking sheep heads.