The PS51D6900 has a larger sibling in the PS59D6900 that is likely to provide a very similar viewing experience although some reports would suggest the larger screen model possesses deeper black levels.
Design and Connections
The chassis is very slim, measuring 4.5cm at its deepest point but we'll resist the primeval urge to make puerile jokes about the extra inch of screen the Samsung styling affords the relatively svelte chassis to contain but every little extra helps! The connection plate, to the rear, features both down and side facing ports, with all 4 HDMI inputs being side connected. The HDMI ports are located nearly 17cm from the edge of the bezel so most 'standard' leads should remain hidden but those with more study cables may need to consider angle adapters. In addition to the HDMI inputs there are also two USB ports (1 for PVR usage), a headphone jack, SPDIF audio out and PC audio in.
Just a quick note on buzzing, as some owners are struggling with on their units: the review sample, as with every PDP, emits a buzz from the back of the panel. On this particular unit it was inaudible, to me, without sticking my ear behind the panel but we'd assume some variance will be present on other samples and the fact our test areas back on to a relatively acoustically dampening wall probably helps; were they made of brick, for example, things might be different.
The remote control supplied is Samsung's standard plasticky affair but is at least backlit and logically laid out. With 1 in 3 adults in the UK now owning smartphones, it's likely a fair few people will be trying Samsung's apps that allow for almost full RC functionality and ease the use of Smart TV functions. We've no major complaints about the unit but we would like to see Samsung apply more of their design nous, to the remote's, going forwards.
As ever with Samsung TVs, there are an absolute slew of options in the Picture menus that will undoubtedly appear very daunting to less experienced users. As a rule of thumb, if you ever see a control marked as dynamic 'something', 'blah blah' enhancer or noise reducing we'd advise you to leave them off and in the D6900 we found no exception. Fortunately selecting the Movie preset bypasses most of the unnecessary controls so it's another good reason to use it, in addition to it providing the image closest to industry standards.
Being a 3D ready display the D6900, of course, houses some 3D options. Firstly we have 3D Mode allowing for selection of 2D to 3D conversion, Side by Side etc and a 3D Perspective control. There's also a Depth option that only affects the 2D to 3D mode and L/R Change that swaps the images for each eye for those experiencing discomfort at default settings. We found setting 3D Auto View to on worked perfectly in detecting the nature of the 3D signal being received.
To get a true out of the box take on colour reproduction, the following measurements were taken with Colour Space set to Auto. To take advantage of the D6900's CMS, colour space needs to be set as Custom and the results were slightly different with Custom displaying a less expanded colour gamut and a higher degree of luminance accuracy. This is a pretty good looking set of results for the D6900 and although our primary colours are all a little too bright, with green and red over-saturated, to boot, overall errors are still below the threshold of being noticeable, red excepted, with delta errors below 3. Red is noticeably 'aggressive' but we should be able to tame it sufficiently.
The CIE diagram suggested we'd just need to reign in our colours a little to register reference results, so let's see what we managed to achieve with the CMS. We weren't quite able to reign in green without taking it slightly off-hue but, in all honesty, it was near impossible to notice the error with our demo material. The fact that luminance errors were now of the minuscule variety and overall errors, for all colours, well below 3 means job done. On to watching some actual material safe in the knowledge we're getting the most out of the D6900.
Passing video processing tests is usually a strong suit for mid to high range Samsungs so we were surprised to see the D6900 not to lock on to the 2:2 (PAL) cadence. In fact, the processing engine only effectively locked on to the most common NTSC 2:3 cadence successfully. Blu-ray 24p material proved no issue provided Cinema Smooth was engaged in the Picture Options area of the Picture Menu and was, as billed, smooth and free from undue flicker. Scaling duties were handled in typical Samsung fashion, i.e. cleanly and without induced haloing, whilst motion adaptive deinterlacing tasks are shown with similar proficiency.
Samsung are usually pretty much the kings of passing these types of tests but they're not averse to throwing in some 'backdoor' processing with the likes of undefeatable motion and image smoothing. Fortunately, there's no sign of the former but there is of the latter. We really don't want to make too much noise about it but lovers of cinematography might find their sensibilities offended and that's understandable, however, we don't consider that it will be an issue for the majority of owners and our user threads, on the forum, are testament to that. Simply, most have no idea when and/or if it's happening. Game mode does restore the (very) high frequency details but, on this sample at least, the greyscale was too far out to calibrate to respectable levels so it's not something we'd necessarily recommend D6900 owners resort to and certainly not to those without some calibration experience and the appropriate kit. As ever, if you think it's something that might concern you, try and get a decent demo but we'd wager most wont have a problem.
In the obscurely positioned Game mode - it's in the System Menu under General - the D6900 returned fairly respectable figures of between 31 and 36 milliseconds lag to controller input. Personally, I had no problem in the slight increase in latency, when compared to my usual gaming TV, but those serious about competitive gaming might be best served with another set. In comparison to years gone by, the D6900 showed far less inclination for image retention and, provided reasonable care was taken, left over logos and HUDs never showed themselves in real world viewing. It was suggested in a review feedback thread that we pursue 4 hour gaming sessions in order to check plasma's out for image retention and, much as I like this idea, those days are over for me - I have children. Kids have their own IR testing merits, however, and I'm pleased to report the Nick Jr logo is not burnt into the D6900, despite my 5yr old's best efforts!
For a 51 inch plasma display, the PS51D6900 does a good job in not hiking up the electricity bills too dramatically in drawing an averaged 240w, calibrated - in 2D, and 320w in 3D mode.
Picture Quality - 2D
Perhaps the topic most dominating our Plasma discussion boards this year has been discussion on the Panasonic range of TVs propensity to alter the brightness of images as Average Picture Level (APL) changes. On some sets it's proving very noticeable and distracting to owners. The bad news is that the D6900 does something similar but the good news is that - with the sample provide, at least - it manifests in a less stepped and noticeable manner to the Panasonics. To put things in to perspective, we saw the brightness 'pops' occur only a handful of times in nearly a fortnights everyday use and, when it does occur, it's over very quickly. We really do consider this trait to have only been of minor nuisance but the instances of occurrence may vary, unit to unit. In other words, the quality of the images we were getting 99.9X% of the time were easily good enough - particularly at this price-point - to forgive this foible. Overall we found the D6900 provide us with an excellent viewing experience with both HD and SD sources and with a variety of content, from sports to movies.
Picture Quality - 3D
There was a little crosstalk present but we probably only noticed because we are especially looking out for it. The D6900 manages to combine the clean image with fluid motion handling and a good sense of depth with the glasses doing a reasonable job of keeping out reflections, to boot. There's plenty of light output available, as well, meaning the light swallowing properties of the eye-wear is not really an issue. Colours looked reasonably natural in Movie mode and with a little tinkering with the white balance controls we managed to get skin-tones looking good. The 2D to 3D conversion feature works as well as any we have seen but we'd still consider it a bit of a gimmick; perhaps its best application is in single player gaming, where it can work fairly well. All in all, we were very pleased with the D6900's 3D abilities and there are no really nasties to report.
- Reference Calibrated Greyscale
- Excellent Colour Reproduction
- Smart Hub Features
- Motion Handling
- Excellent 3D
- Solid Black Levels with perfect Uniformity
- Freeview HD
- Calibration Controls
- Built-in WiFi
- Brightness 'Pops'
- High Frequency Detail Filtering
- Cadence Detection is a bit Broken
Samsung D6900 (PS51D6900) FULL HD 3D Plasma Television Review
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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