Sunday, September 18, 2011

Welcome to PedXing!

     Well, hello there!

     My name is Alex, or Axel if you so desire, and I will be your guide here at Pedestrian Crossing.  I would love to invite you along on my journey through the video game industry and related technologies.  This site will contain posts reviewing video games, consoles, and pretty much anything I can relate to those subjects some how.  By no means should you consider this a "review site".  While I will be supplying a steady flow of opinionated product reviews, I will be using this site for much more.  This is a cataloging of an industry through the eyes of an outsider, in this case a "cartoonist."  Be prepared for long-winded rants about nights where those multiplayer matches just did not quite go my way, along with explanations of a new glitch I have discovered and how you can replicate it from the comfort of where ever you choose to replicate it.

     Shall we get started?

     I will begin with my review of the Samsung UN46D8000 46-Inch 1080p 240Hz v#d LED HDTV, priced at $1,549.00 via Amazon.

First Impressions:

     Initially, I was very impressed with the television, though that feeling is fleeting after only a week of use.  It looks very good. The screen is large, the bezel is near non-existent, the stand sturdy, everything you could want right out of the box.  Once you have it plugged up, and have run through the set-up process is when the problems really begin to appear, though we'll get to that later. 


     I love the look of this television.  The screen itself is impressive when it is not even on, and, as you would expect, stunning when playing a game.  The bezel is the smallest you can find on the market currently at 0.2". While I find this a pro and con, it is very impressive.  I was surprised by how much not having a frame in my peripheral would change the experience.  It really creates the illusion that the television is just a floating picture, which is very interesting to me. The minimal frame on the television also makes it considerably smaller than another of the same size. The stand, while it looks flimsy, does it's job very well. It comes in two parts, one of which is held to the back of the television by four screws, the other is held to the stand itself with four additional screws.  It is very sturdy, and allows for a 30ยบ swivel it case you have multiple seats in the same room.

      The picture on the television is stunning, provided you can weather the insane number of options long enough to program it to your liking (you may say pro, my OCD says con).  The television basically requires you to play in a "Game Mode" when using a gaming console.  The menu says you could possibly notice a decrease in graphics when using this mode, though I have not noticed anything to cause alarm.  The "Game Mode" feature basically cuts the input delay that plagues most HDTV's when it comes to gaming.  Beyond the excellent construction and the very nice picture, there really is not much more to this television, though what else could you really ask for?

 The CONS:

      Unfortunately, this television is not without a few faults.  Almost immediately after plugging the television in I noticed a slight halo along the bottom of the television.  It is barely noticeable, but when it is noticed in my peripheral it is cringe inducing.  I figured this was caused by the LED lights used to illuminate the Samsung logo found at the bottom of the frame, though disabling it did not remove the halo.  After a day or two of use I began to notice light blotches when the screen was showing something dark, such as the black loading screen in Dead Island.  Once again they are barely noticeable, as the times when the screen is black enough for them to appear, you are generally waiting for a load anyway, but they are still extremely disappointing when you are expecting better. 

     One of the televisions selling points is something called "Smart TV".  It is basically a hub for a lot of extra features you can use on television, such as YouTube, Netflix, a web browser, etc.  In theory it is a very innovative idea, though it was implemented extremely poorly. I find the interface clunky, and hard to use.  A great many of the apps are fairly useless. The YouTube app starts playing a random video immediately upon starting, forcing you to listen to it in the back ground while you try to navigate the horrible menus to find a video you actually want to watch.  Netflix has a good interface, though the stream would cut to a black screen every few minutes when watching something.  Although it does have some things that are useful, and it looks good, I would not even consider using this service as a selling point.

  I tend to use the favorites menu on my televisions. rather than blindly flipping channels. though Samsung has somehow found a way to ruin this option. I spent two or three days screwing around with the settings on this television.  I would get it set somewhere that I felt was good, then my OCD would kick in and I would begin playing with it again, trying to tweak it to be perfect.  Though after having the settings reset on me three times, I discovered that adding a channel to your favorites list resets all the options to factory settings.  This is extremely discouraging to me.

      The remote is... odd.  It is double sided. On one there is an actual television remote, the other is a QWERTY style keyboard.  While I think the classic remote is well laid-out and satisfying to use, I am placing this under cons.  I've yet to find a use for the other side, places where the remote would come handy it does not work, like the YouTube app for instance.  Personally, I am a little baffled by this. 

     I will not be covering the 3D in this review.  It just does not interest me, and I do not have the knowledge to know whether or not it works well.  It did create the illusion, while playing Call of Duty: Black Ops, that there were multiple viewing distances.  This is my only experience with 3D technology, and that is not enough for me to voice my opinion just yet.

Final Thoughts:

     Even though this television has some issues, and may have stressed me out more than it should, I am satisfied with it.  Video Games look very impressive on it, and really that is all I am after.  I would however encourage you to look at other HDTV's before making a purchase.  While this is a decent set, I am sure there are much better deals out there for the price you are paying.  Look around, buy it if the bezel and Samsung name are big selling points for you.