Samsung will be the first to bring 3D television to Australian lounge rooms, providing a range of LED, LCD and plasma models supporting the technology from April. No pricing was made available, but all 3D sets will offer a simulated 3D mode for adding depth to conventional 2D program material, such as broadcasts, Pay TV and DVD, and will also “backconvert” future 3D broadcasts to 2D.

In demonstrations to GadgetGuy at its Sydney headquarters, Samsung showed that 3D can be applied equally well to all television display platforms. The LCD and LED models presented a wide viewing angle of around 150 degrees, and the psuedo-3D processing added a little extra dimension to conventional video. Some program material lent itself better to this treatment than others, and we anticipate it won’t be something early adopters of these televisions will invoke for every day viewing.

Samsung’s 3D televisions will ship with two pairs of active shutter glasses. These are powered by batteries, but can also be recharged via USB. They are adjustable, but like the 3D eyewear from Panasonic and Sony, never achieved a good fit for our pin-sized head.

A 3D Blu-ray player and home theatre system will also be part of Samsung’s 3D offering, and the company will bundle a 3D copy of “Monsters vs Aliens” with every 3D purchase.

Skype calling, Internet TV, Widgets and PVR capability will also feature in select models from the company’s forthcoming TV line-up. The last feature implements TV recording in the same way that many current model high definition set-top boxes do; by allowing an external hard drive (up to 1TB) to be connected via the set’s USB2.0. Direct recording is enabled via a dedicated button on the television’s remote control.

Samsung Skype

Talk to me

Enabling Skype on compatible models will involve downloading a Skype widget from the Samsung App Store and purchasing a microphone/camera accessory from either Samsung or Skype. An alert – sent wirelessly via DLNA over your home network – displays on the TV screen when you receive a Skype call, and you use the TV’s remote to accept or reject the call. When calling via Skype, your contacts list – with photos  – will display on the screen.

The mic is multi-directional and audio quality during our demonstration, with us located 3-4 metres from the screen, was clear and of good volume. The camera attaches to the screen via magnets and can be angled up and down, enabling it to capture video of, say, several people seated (below the height of the screen) on a couch.

Other Widgets in the App store include games and the photo sharing website, Picasa, and IPTV services include streaming feeds from USA Today and YouTube. Local IPTV content will come from Ninemsn exclusively for a six month period.

Samsung’s LED range includes the C7000, C8000 and C9000. The C7000 series offers Skype and 3D in 40, 46 and 55 inch models. The C800 provides Skype and comes in 46, 55 and 60 inch sizes. Both LED series’ also sport a new-look stainless steel bezel and forked foot, plus what Samsung calls “pinpoint” dimming. This places additional LEDs at intersections within the diffuser mesh that lies behind the panel (to transmit light from the edge-mounted LEDs across the panel), enabling more precise control of light levels across the screen and better contrast ratio performance.

Samsung's Internet TV
Samsung’s new Internet TV functionality.

The flagship C9000 LED model will not arrive until July. It integrates 3D and 200Hz technology, twin tuners and a USB port for connecting an external drive to add PVR functions. It’s also a super-skinny 7.9mm thick and comes with a IR controlled touchscreen remote that, using DLNA over a Wi-Fi network, allows you to watch one channel on the C9000 while another streams to the small screen on the handset. The remote features Haptic feedback and allows you to assign layouts and create macros for your entertainment system. It will switch the orientation of its display according to how it’s positioned.

Samsung’s 750 series LCD televisions will integrate 3D, as will the company’s 7000 series plasma display.