Having explored the full expanse of the Content Library, now seems as good a time as any to look in more detail at the InfoLive feature.
First impressions are quite good. Stuff downloads very quickly on our pretty standard broadband connection, and the interface and information are both very clear and attractively designed. Considerable care has been taken, too, to ensure that the InfoLive information doesn’t dominate the screen too much, with the various news tickers, weather reports and so on all appearing tidily in different corners of the screen, so that you can keep watching TV.
The only problem with InfoLive, in fact, is how little information it currently carries. Yes, you can refine the weather report you get to your area based on a selection of 227 of the UK’s main cities. And you can refine the provided live stocks and shares news (assuming you ever want to look at this sort of information again following last week’s stock market carnage!!) to show just your favourite stocks. And you can refine your news reports into Politics, Business, News, Entertainment and Sports categories.
But while this all gives the illusion of something quite advanced going on, in reality the amount of information available ‘at your fingertips’ is limited. It’s a pity, too, that there are no pictures to accompany the news stories – or at least this was the case during our testing period.
Still, let’s not be too churlish here. There’s a chance more Internet content might get added over time, as Samsung does more content deals. And the features it does offer are much more helpful in their specificity and speed of access than anything you might dig out from the digital teletext service.
Given how much genuinely cutting-edge technology the PS50A756 sports, it wouldn’t have surprised us too much if Samsung had forgotten about ‘boring’ stuff like picture quality. But actually the on-paper signs look good, as a Full HD resolution joins forces with Samsung’s DNIe image processing and a Panasonic-matching claimed contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 that’s tellingly a big step on from the PS50A556’s 30,000:1 contrast ratio.
Happily the top spec gives rise to a frequently spectacular image performance. Fed our tried and trusted copy of ”National Treasure 2” (stop laughing) on Blu-ray, with its fantastic combination of deep black levels, rich colours, supreme fine detailing, harsh contrasts and rapid motion, the PS50A756 passed with distinction every single one of the stiff tests the disc threw at it.
The single greatest impact following the PS50A556 debacle comes from the startling depth of the PS50A756’s black levels. The almost complete lack of greyness in dark areas of the picture thrashes anything yet seen from an LCD screen, and appears at least as good as anything Panasonic can offer with its plasmas right now. Pioneer’s KURO sets can, of course, go slightly deeper still, but you’ll have to spend way more for one of those than this Samsung costs you. There’s also only the tiniest, tiniest hint of the green undertone to dark areas that used to characterise plasma technology.