Home Theater Review

 

Samsung UN55C7000 55-inch 3D LED HDTV Reviewed

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HTR Product Rating

Performance
4 Stars
Value
4 Stars
Overall
4 Stars

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In terms of its 3D performance, I found the UN55C7000 to terrific as well. However it's a king with no kingdom, for there is no true 3D content available at this time other than Monsters vs. Aliens, which is available through a special promotion. No official word has been given as to the number of true 3D titles consumers can expect this year but rumor has it the roll out of content will be slow maybe only reaching a dozen titles by year's end. Also, if you look at the price of Samsung's 3D Starter Kit, the inferred price of Monsters vs. Aliens on Blu-ray 3D disc is right at $50. In a dwindling economy are consumers really going to shell out $50 or more to watch a film in 3D? Time will tell, but I don't think so. DirectTV claims to be 3D ready and will begin broadcasting select events and shows in the summer; however they're doing so in partnership with Panasonic not with Samsung, so that might get a bit tricky.

The fact that the UN55C7000's purchase price does NOT include at least two pairs of Samsung compatible active shutter glasses is absurd. You need the glasses in order to view 3D content and they're proprietary to Samsung displays only and to not include at least a pair or two is absurd bordering on offensive. The glasses start at $149 and can go as high as $199, which means if the average household consists of three family members (source: U.S. Census Bureau) you're going to have to spend between $447 and $600 on top of the UN55C7000's retail price for everyone in your home to be able to enjoy 3D content together. If you have, say, three children, the additional costs can reach closer to a grand. Ignoring the additional costs of active shutter glasses for a moment, the glasses themselves don't seem very sturdy or manufactured for the long haul. The earpieces are flimsy and the hinges feel as if they could go at any moment, meaning I expect a lot of families, especially those with young children to be buying replacement glasses regularly.

While 55-inches isn't small, it's not as immersive as I think it needs to be for 3D to be 100 percent effective. In a theater the screen is so massive it virtually fills your entire frame of view; however the UN55C7000 does not. The glasses I used to demo 3D content were flat in their design and had no side flaps or peripheral vision blockers, meaning I was able to see 3D in front of me while still seeing 2D to the side of me, which did cause a bit of eye fatigue. This phenomenon is one of the many warnings listed in the UN55C7000's manual by the way. 

Lastly, and I know this isn't the UN55C7000's fault but in order to view true 3D content in the future you're going to need a 3D capable Blu-ray player and/or a 3D capable digital set top box for broadcast 3D. The Samsung 3D Blu-ray player retails for $399 and other 3D capable Blu-ray players from other manufacturers are similarly priced. $399 is a steep price to pay for a Blu-ray player these days considering you can purchase a quality non-3D player for less than $200.

In total, for an average American family to enjoy 3D content today (assuming there was any content) the cost is closer to $4,300 not including cables, 3D capable home theater components and/or 3D HDTV broadcast fees. All and all the cost of ownership to get into the 3D game is quite steep and when you weigh that against the fact that there is zero 3D content available right now, I'm not sure it's a worthwhile investment ... at least not at the moment. That is unless you want to be first on your block to be rocking 3D HDTV and for that buyer - there is a Best Buy near you waiting for your credit card.

Conclusion
Is the Samsung 700WF a worthwhile 2D LED HDTV that just happens to be 3D ready for when the time is truly right or is it the perfect 3D LED HDTV for the early adopter? I have to say it's the first, for even if you want to be an early adopter of 3D in the home, there's no 3D to be had so you have to view the UN55C7000 as a 2D set for the time being. As a 2D LED HDTV the UN55C7000 is phenomenal across the board and the addition of Internet connectivity and streaming from services like Blockbuster, Netflix and YouTube only adds to its overall value. While the UN55C7000 can convert 2D material into a sort of faux 3D that's not really what you're paying for, though I'm sure the feature will bridge the gap for many until true 3D content becomes readily available.

That being said, there are plenty of non-3D enabled LED HDTVs that do everything the UN55C7000 does for far less money. One has to ask themselves, is the addition of the 3D functionality worth it right now? If it were my money I would have to say no. I think 3D will take off and will become yet another format in the home theater space; however I'm just not sold on consumers having to rush out and invest with their hard earned money right now. There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding 3D beyond everyone telling us that it's coming. Well, 3D is no longer coming, it's here - but we find ourselves at the dinner table with all the utensils we need to eat and with no food in sight.

As with anything in consumer electronics - the technology will get better, the format(s) will be updated and the prices will drop; how long that natural evolution of things will take is anyone's guess but all signs point to it being brisk, for I'm already seeing the UN55C7000 on sale at various retail outlets. Along with the price of the sets themselves the necessary accessories and components have to also come down in price or in many cases catch up. The fact that the UN55C7000 doesn't come with the necessary active shutter glasses makes me angry on a level I cannot begin to describe, not to mention their outrageous asking prices. A pair of Oliver Peoples glasses at a high-end boutique don't cost much more and they are far nicer.

I really think the Samsung UN55C7000 55-inch 3D LED HDTV is a wonderful display, one of the best I've seen in recent memory. I found its 2D performance to be incredible and its 3D performance to be equal to and in some instances better than theatrical 3D. There is always a price to pay when being the first to adopt any technology and 3D is no different. Ultimately, it's going to be up to you and your budget. Is 3D going to be with us for the long haul? I think so given how hard Hollywood is pushing it right now, but time and tastes change and anything is possible. The one saving grace about the UN55C7000 is the fact that it's not just a good or first generation 3D capable display - it's a good LED HDTV period. So even if 3D dies a horrid death within a year or two you won't be stuck with a worthless HDTV, which should offer some comfort to those unsure of whether to buy into the trend now or later.

Additional Resources

Read LED and LCD HDTV reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com here.
Learn more about Samsung's LED 3D sets from Samsung's website.

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