UE55C8000. However, since then we’ve had Panasonic’s plasma technology join the 3D fray too, with the 50in P50VT20. So with LG and Sony 3D TVs also waiting in the wings, now would seem a good time to revisit Samsung’s 3D groundbreaker in the shape of the more mainstream 46in UE46C8000.
As with its bigger brother, the UE46C8000 really is beautiful. As in, ‘possibly the prettiest TV ever’ beautiful. The metallic silver bezel looks resplendent as it glints in the lights of our test room, and the screen’s sub-30mm slenderness is the stuff of technology design legend.
It backs these looks up, moreover, with a fearsome set of features and specifications beyond the 3D headliner. Its connections, for instance, include four HDMIs, two USBs, an Ethernet jack, and a D-Sub PC port. What’s more, in order to make the UE46C8000 easier to hang on the wall, these connections have been mounted at right angles to the screen, for side entry - a really thoughtful idea Samsung has followed through despite the fact that the screen’s thinness has necessitated the introduction of included down-sizing adaptors for a number of the connections.
All four HDMIs are built to the 3D-friendly v1.4 standards, as we would expect, while the USBs and Ethernet ports both warrant more attention on account of their multipurpose natures. The USBs can be used to record high quality video - including HD - from the TV’s digital tuners to most varieties of USB HDD, as well as more predictably playing back a wide variety of video, music and photo multimedia files, and making the TV Wi-Fi via a (sadly optional) dongle.
The Ethernet port can jack into a DLNA-enabled PC, access future Freeview HD interactive services, and get you online with Samsung’s Internet@TV service.
At the time of writing, Internet@TV includes YouTube, rovi TV listings, Twitter, the Picasa online photo album site, Skype (provided you add an external camera), plus a series of interesting but ultimately mostly forgettable third party ‘Widget’ applications, most notably from AccuWeather, USA Today, the History Channel, and Getty Images.
There are even a few games on there, though anyone who’s spent any time on an Xbox or PS3 will find these games laughably unfulfilling.
Samsung’s online efforts feel slightly behind those of Sony and Philips at the moment, but they can be constantly updated, and Samsung isn’t generally a brand that likes to feel like it’s behind anyone, so we suspect plenty of extra services will join the service in the coming months. Also, we should add that the UE46C8000 comes with AllShare software, allowing it to hook up with your mobile phone or other portable devices for further multimedia options.