You'll generally pay a premium for a TV with newfangled 3D technology, but the Samsung LE46C750 is something of an exception. This 46-inch, 1080p TV is available online for about £750. The reason for its relative affordability is that it uses a boring old CCFL-illuminated LCD panel, rather than LED or plasma technology. But can an LCD screen produce a good 3D experience when many LED sets have struggled to convince in this department?
Samsung has pretty much got modern TV design licked. It's been ages since we've a seen a set from the company that hasn't looked flash. The LE46C750 features plenty of sharp, clean lines, and a great-looking transparent edge frames the screen perfectly. The set's four-legged stand might not be to everyone's taste, but it's a refreshing change from the norm. Note that, because the LCD panel uses CCFL rather than LED backlighting, the TV is rather chunky at the back compared to today's super-slim sets.
The TV's relatively low price doesn't mean that Samsung has skimped on features. For example, the TV uses Samsung's 400Hz 'clear motion rate' processing, which really translates as a 200Hz picture engine with a scanning backlight that helps deliver smoother motion. There's also Samsung's 'wide colour enhancer' to help colours look more vivid, and you get a Freeview HD tuner too. You can even hook a hard drive up to one of the TV's two USB ports and record programmes from the Freeview tuner.
The Ethernet socket allows you to stream digital video formats like DivX and MKV to the set, and also gives you access to a range of Internet services. The line-up of services is rather good, including BBC iPlayer, LoveFilm, Facebook and YouTube. You should have no problems connecting your other AV gear to the TV either, thanks to the four HDMI ports and two Scart sockets.
Unfortunately, no 3D glasses are included in the box. Instead you have to shell out between £60 and £100 for a pair, depending on where you buy them from. It's arguably money well spent, though, because the LE46C750 turns out to be a pretty good 3D performer.
As the likes of Panasonic's Viera TX-P42GT20 and Samsung's PS50C6900 have shown, plasma displays generally have the edge on LED and LCD screens when it comes to showing 3D images. But the LE46C750 is pretty much on a par with Samsung's best LED sets when it comes to 3D performance.
As with all LCD and LED screens, the TV's 3D images suffer from crosstalk, which means that objects sometimes appear with a slight shadow around them. But it's not a constant problem and, when it does appear, it affects the middle and far distance rather than foreground objects.
The set's high brightness levels and strong colours help it to largely overcome the dimming effect of the active 3D glasses. Consequently, images retain a punchy appearance, with an impressively engaging sense of 3D depth.
The TV's no slouch when it comes to 2D material either. Once again, its high brightness levels help to make its colours look very rich and vibrant. With high-definition sources, such as BBC One HD or movies on Blu-ray, images are so sharp they look as if the pixels could prick your eyeballs. Motion is also handled pretty deftly thanks to the 400Hz processing, but it's best not to over-egg this if you don't want movies to take on a flat, video-like appearance.
The TV's pictures have some weaknesses. The set's not as kind to standard-definition content as it could be, as pictures tend to look either slightly noisy if you leave the sharpness levels alone, or too soft if you try adjusting the levels downwards to reduce some of the mosquito noise. Also, the black levels aren't quite as deep as we'd have liked, especially if you watch the set from much of an angle.
On the whole, audio is handled well, and there are a few neat effects, including the 'clear dialogue' processing, which helps dialogue to stand out from the background soundtrack in movies. If you crank up the bass too much, though, the set's speakers tend to overload, leading to some nasty distortion even at medium volume levels.
While the Samsung LE46C750 doesn't hit the target in every single area of performance, it offers very good value for money overall, especially as its 3D performance is so strong.
Edited by Charles Kloet