LED-backlit LCDs are certainly winning the hype war at CES 2009, but home theater buffs know that plasmas often offer a better performance for your dollar. Samsung’s new top-of-the-line plasmas, the PN-B850 series, feature a super slim, inch-thick design and offer us the new internet widgets available via the Internet@TV platform. Here are the important details.
Key features of the Samsung PN-B850 series:
- Slim design, around an inch thick
- Ultra FilterBright Plus antiglare screen
- Real Movie (24 frames per second) mode
- Wide color Enhancer Pro
- Built-in Ethernet
- WiFi-ready, with purchase of additional adapter
- Energy Star 3.0 compatible
- 50- and 58-inch models
- Available in first half of 2009
While we usually see manufacturers print misleading, inflated contrast ratios, Samsung instead only claims “mega dynamic contrast ratio” for these plasmas. The Ultra FilterBright Plus screen is the latest iteration of Samsung’s glare reduction coatings, with these sets adding black stripes into the panel to absorb more room light and create deeper blacks. We’re anxious to see this in action, as screen glare is still often a problem with plasmas. Wide Color Enhancer Pro is a feature that supposedly matches a source’s color space to the HD color space–we haven’t seen a feature like this yet, so it will be interesting to test in the labs.
Built-in Ethernet enables access to Samsung’s new Internet@TV platform, that allows users to access Yahoo widgets capable of delivering content from services such as Flickr, Yahoo News, Yahoo Weather, USA Today, YouTube, Showtime and others. The PN-B850 series is also Wi-Fi-ready, but you’ll need to purchase an additional adapter. Finally, the sets are compliant with the new Energy Star 3.0 specification, although it seems like almost all 2009 HDTVs are.