Samsung PS50C6900 review

Fantastic value 3D TV with Freeview HD tuner and web access

Samsung PS50C6900
This plasma TV offers great value for money, however the 3D suffers from some crosstalk

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Samsung ps50c6900

The PS50C6900's surprisingly svelte design is given added panache by a high-gloss finish, an appealing deep grey colour and attractive transparent edging.

Inevitably, the screen lacks the extreme glamour of Samsung's extraordinarily thin edge LED 3D TVs, but does make Panasonic's 3D plasmas look like they've gone a few rounds with the ugly stick.

The PS50C6900's slightly greater thickness makes the screen's connectivity more straightforward than it is on Samsung's edge LED models, but only in the sense that there's less need to use 'shrinking' adaptors. There are still plenty of connections on hand to satisfy even the most sophisticated home cinema setup.

These include four HDMI inputs, a couple of USB ports, a LAN interface and a D-Sub PC input. What's more, perhaps surprisingly for the PS50C6900's price point, both the USB and LAN ports have multiple functions.

The USBs triple up as players of a wide variety of photo, music and video multimedia file formats, as a means of making the TV Wi-Fi ready via an optional extra dongle, or most surprising of all, as a way to timeshift programmes to USB hard-disk drives from the built-in Freeview HD tuner.

The presence of such a tuner immediately explains the Ethernet port. But again that's not it's only use: it also functions both as a wired means of accessing Samsung's Internet@TV platform and files stored on a networked PC.

Samsung's Internet@TV platform is one of the finest online TV engines around. The stars of its show, so far as we're concerned, are the BBC iPlayer (Samsung was the first brand to offer this on a TV) and LoveFilm, whereby you can sync your account to the TV and downstream rented films.

The system also includes the inevitable YouTube, plus rovi TV listings, a simple History Channel app, both Twitter and Facebook access to keep social networkers happy, Googlemaps, and Getty Images.

Turning to the PS50C6900's picture technology, the screen delivers a full HD resolution, a so-called 'Mega' contrast ratio, and the increasingly common '600Hz' sub-field drive technology, which pulses the plasma cells faster to reduce motion blur and increase the image's general stability.

Setting up the TV uncovers a number of interesting features amid the PS50C6900's attractive onscreen menus.

For a start, you can adjust the Cell Light level – a different approach from the normal brightness adjustment (which is also present) that could be considered the plasma equivalent of the backlight adjustments common on LCD TVs.

The set also carries a couple of potential contrast aids: a Dynamic Contrast system that adjusts the image's brightness and contrast settings based on an analysis of the incoming video source, and a black level booster with three different darkness settings.

More useful to serious calibrators are the gamma presets, the facility to adjust the offset and gain levels of the red, green and blue components of the TV's white balance, and –even better – user-friendly white balance adjustment where you can tweak the red, green and blue levels of the white balance at any of 10 different intervals.

Also worth a little careful experimentation is a flesh tone adjustment, while potentially interesting to some people with different image tastes are noise reduction and edge enhancement systems.

Finally, tucked away within a Picture Options sub-menu are a selection of tools to aid that old plasma issue of image retention and four different settings for the TV's motion processing, including, sceptics of such systems will be pleased to note, the option to deactivate it entirely.

The most notable feature of the PS50C6900 is, of course, its 3D capability. Naturally, it goes for the full HD, alternate frame approach, with the necessary transmitter built into the TV.

What's really pleasing, though, is that you also get one pair of 3D glasses free with the PS50C6900. And this is now Samsung's official policy with all of its 3D TVs, apparently, replacing the clumsy old system where you only got sent a single pair if you first registered your set with Samsung.

The PS50C6900 handles Sky's side by side 3D images as well as Blu-ray's alternate frame ones and carries a 2D to 3D conversion system.

John Archer
AV Technology Contributor

John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.