The various video presets were tried with many different program materials;
Movie mode and Warm2 were the choices that provided
the best, most consistent results. Some tweaking in the video settings menu
could enhance specific programs, but the defaults were usually good enough
to leave alone.
Satellite TV:- With a high quality HD signal, the picture was amazing,
consistently vivid, yet natural and lifelike. It was a pleasure to watch.
The quality of the incoming signal affected the video reproduction far more
than minor tweaks in the TV controls. There is little question that the
flaws in the 1080i limit of broadcast HD programming are far greater than
any flaws inherent in the TV. Standard 480p broadcast material was handled
well enough, usually looking no worse than it does on a typical 27"
or large CRT TV. With poor quality material, the artifacts and flaws of
the original were easily seen, much like with poor sources and a high quality
audio reproduction system. In general, the Samsung video processing handles
the deinterlacing, upconversion and other tasks very well, with great transparency.
The best HD sports broadcasts tend to be NHL, NBA and NFL events, and these
provided an opportunity to test the Auto Motion Plus 120Hz motion
smoothing feature, which has separate Blur and Judder controls. Engaging
the presets or manually adjusting the 10-step controls did improve clarity
in fast moving scenes, but the end result was not conclusively better in
all cases. In many high action sports, the motion on the screen occurs in
multiple directions simultaneously for example, players sprinting
in opposite directions, while a ball is moving in yet another arc, with
the camera tracking the ball, and sometimes with the camera moving as well.
In such scenes, the quest for perfect clarity seems downright silly. The
Samsung Auto Motion Plus 120Hz's separate Blur and Judder controls are an
improvement over a single control, but you can't expect miracles. Samsung's
higher end models offer 240Hz refresh; perhaps this is a more significant
Blu-ray:- The level of detail, realism, and color accuracy from
a good quality Blu-ray disc was staggering. It's probably not possible to
obtain comparable performance in most commercial movie theaters. It was
difficult to notice any artifacts, although with the number of Blu-ray discs
tried, some instances were seen momentarily here and there, and it is possible
that the TV played a role in the creation of these artifacts. (Remember,
there is the disc itself and the Blu-ray player as well.) The depiction
of black was about as good as on any TV; the only time it was less than
perfect was when sitting over 20 degrees off axis to the side, 2' or more
outside the edge of the screen. Then, the black on the far side of the screen
faded a bit to gray. The effect was subtle, however, and difficult to notice
if you are at all absorbed by what you are watching. It's not nearly as
marked as suggested by some online critics' comments about this TV black
performance. Visitors marvelled at the realism, including the depiction
of black, whatever the viewing angle.
A Picture Quality Evaluation Tool, the HD HDQ Benchmark Blu-ray disc by
HQV Silicon Optix, was used in conjunction with the Samsung Blu-ray player.
The UN55B7100 easily passed all the tests for film resolution, video resolution
loss, signal filtering ("jaggies") and HD noise.
Media Play:- This is the term Samsung uses to describe playback
of digital video, audio and photo files via USB devices and computers on
the network. It also includes the recently introduced On Demand 101 service
by Blockbuster to stream movie rentals or purchases, directly to your Samsung
TV. This feature is currently available only in the US.
The home networking function, also called DLNA (Digital
Living Network Alliance) for no really good reason, but it's basically
networking to access media files on your PCs from the TV. This requires
a klugy software called Samsung PC Share Manager to be installed on the
networked computers, and for specific folders to be marked for sharing with
the TV. It never worked with the review sample, even though the networked
computers (running Windows 7, Vista or XP) could be seen by the TV.
Media play via USB devices worked much better, however. Not all video formats
are supported; the manual mentions MP3, JPEG and "movie files."
Of the many dozens of video clips tried, some 80% worked fine. The ones
that did not play properly usually had issues with an unsupported audio
codec. This tended to occur most with recent MKV files; both unsupported
and supported files had DTS 6ch 48kHz audio. (Example: A 720p torrent mkv
video file of The Hangover played perfectly while the audio of a
similar 720p torrent mkv video file of Star Trek 2009 could not be
played.) Many different resolution types were tried, ranging from compressed
low resolution youtube clips to full blown 1080p movies. The UN55B7100 did
a great job with the vast majority of these files. Some torrent-downloaded
720p movies were almost indistinguishable from the Blu-ray discs, which
suggests that the Samsung re-processes and upconverts lower resolution material
beautifully. 480p TV broadcast were also handled very well.