Ambient light is the enemy of video fidelity for any display, because external light that hits the screen dilutes the light produced by the display. Plasma HDTVs are more susceptible to the wiles of bright room light because their screens are essentially big, reflective panes of glass, unlike the less-reflective plastic screens of flat-panel LCD TVs and rear-projection HDTVs. Last year, Samsung tried to address that issue with FilterBright, a technology it says helps reduce glare and otherwise improves the image quality in bright light. In my tests last year of models like the HP-S5053, I couldn't detect much of a difference.
Samsung tries to fight the light again in 2007, using CES to introduce a slew of plasma TVs with the latest versions of FilterBright, dubbed FilterBright 2 and FilterBright2 Plus. As you can imagine, the latter version is reserved for higher-end models, such as the wireless HP-T5094W and the wired HT-P5884 and HP-T5084. All three will be available in September and include HDMI 1.3 and 1080p (1,920x1,080) native resolution.
FB2 Plus also trickles down to the company's more affordable models available in March, namely the 50-inch HP-T5064 ($3199 list) and the 42-inch HP-T4264 ($2299). These sets' other specs include 13-bit signal processing with [cue Dr. Evil voice] 549 billion colors--which may help reduce the false contouring we witnessed on last year's models--as well as a pair of non-1.3 HDMI inputs and Samsung's trademark hidden speakers. The company's most-affordable new plasma TVs, the 50-inch HP-T5054 ($2,999) and the HP-T4254 ($2,099), get FilterBright2 and different styling, but otherwise their specs are basically the same.