- Written by Chris Heinonen
- Published on 14 July 2011
On The Bench
Over HDMI, the Samsung offers the colorspace choices of 4:4:4 YCbCr, or Video and PC levels for RGB output, but no 4:2:2 or Source Direct. The 4:4:4 colorspace looked accurate in our measurements with the Quantum Data and is the choice I would make when using this player. The RGB Video level when tested had a couple of small issues. Though most people believe that BTB and WTW data should be hidden, that is something that should be done with a display calibration and not done by the source component. WTW data was passed correctly from the Samsung, but all BTB data with values below 16 (the BTB cut-off point) were instead reassigned a value of 16. While some will argue that you won’t notice the difference since your display should be calibrated to not display that information, and in theory no disc content should contain that information, the Samsung should still correctly convert those values and leave that step to the calibration of the display. Additionally, it can be much easier to calibrate a display when you can see those BTB values, since then you can more easily set the brightness to the level when they all disappear.
Another issue caused by the Samsung rounding up all values below 16 to 16 creating an inability to have pure colors. If you wanted to have a bright, solid red with no other colors, that would be an RGB value of 255,0,0. However, since the Samsung will only output a minimum RGB value of 16, now you have a pure red that is coming across as 255,16,16. If you were to compare the two blocks of color side-by-side on a display, the one from the Samsung would look as if a light gray filter has been added to the color and not like pure red. This is true for all colors, so images that should be very bright and vivid might instead be slightly muted if using the RGB output.
Additionally, there seemed to be a rounding error going on with the Samsung that caused values to be off by +/- 1 throughout the RGB values for all colors. For example on the color red, when we looked at value 54 it was 54, but 55 and 56 both rounded up, to 56 and 57 respectively, though 57 was again correct at 57. This is a very minor error and should not be visible, but again it’s something that Samsung could probably go back and fix. Since the YCbCr 4:4:4 colorspace suffered from neither of these issues, that is what we would recommend for this player.
On our standard bench tests the Samsung did a fantastic job overall. It lost the cadence lock occasionally on the Super Speedway clip, but otherwise was perfect on DVD content. On HD content everything looked good except for noise reduction. The Samsung did have noise reduction controls available, but no matter how they were adjusted it was unable to pass either the Block noise or the Mosquito Noise test on the Qdeo test disc. The layer change was imperceptible unless I put the player on continuous repeat, and even then I had to know exactly where to look. The menu system and changing between test patterns on Spears and Munsil was slower than a lot of other players, however, so it did get graded down in the Responsiveness category.