Pros Bright display, quick set-up, fully assembled in the box, sleek exterior w/ hidden bottom-firing speakers
Cons Slightly limited picture quality menu
Summary My Mitsubishi WD52525 52" DLP HDTV recently died. It was my first projection TV, my first TV larger than 36" and my first HDTV. So it is the standard by which I am measuring my new Samsung PN50A450.
First, I am extremely relieved that I will no longer be ordering projector lamps at $220-240 a pop. My Mitsu was burning thru lamps about every 18 months, making it extremely expensive to maintain. This drove my decision to buy a flat panel.
I was undecided between LCD & Plasma. I really wanted a 1080p set to make that PS3 seem more worthwhile to own, but I simply could not see spending in excess of $2k.
So I decided that I would go for a solid 720p, and I decided on this Samsung. I know that most of the display units in the big box stores are set to burn as hot as the sun for "wow" effect, so I was trying to look at the crispness of the picture, & the way they handled motion. Unfortunately, there was little on the display DVD that incorporated fast motion, such as sports.
My brother and I both gravitated towards several Samsung models as having, to our untrained eyes, the best picture quality. I opted for this model based on price ($1500 at Best Buy, where buying is an exercise which would test Ghandi's patience), figuring that the less I spend now, the less it will hurt when I finally decide to pop for a 1080p set later.
I was surprised to find that the panel was already assembled to its base on the box. (Samsung's instructions indicate that the user is to assemble the base themselves.) The set is tastefully trimmed in piano black, and the speakers are mostly hidden underneath, firing nearly straight down. (I turn off the set's speakers to use my AV Reveicer's sound anyhow)
Plenty of video input options, both front & side panel, made connections a snap. After powering on, which took less than 3 seconds to reach a fairly bright picture, the initial set-up was a breeze.
I used the THX Optimizer on an "Incredibles" DVD to set brightness, contrast, etc. (I did not have the blue glasses for the tint adjustment, so I skipped that part) Unlike the Mitsubishi, the Samsung did not have individual settings for each color, and lacked a few other adjustments, but the basic options did allow for a noticeable improvement over the out-of-the-box picture quality.
Aside from the initial set-up, I did not use the Samsung's remote control. It has a bulky feel to it, and I think it lacks backlighting. In any case, I use a Logitech Harmony remote that's a breeze to set up online.
The first HD programming I could find (as opposed to Judge Judy reruns upconverted to air on an HD channel) was "2001: A Space Oddysey" on HDNet Movies. (I should mention that I have Verizon FiOS TV) Dave and HAL looked fantastic on this screen. The brightness was excellent, the picture smooth & crisp, and I was completely thrilled. I was very happy to see that all of the sterile white sets in "2001" came thru without any unwanted tint, and no contrast issues or color bleeding, etc.
It took a few days after set-up before I caught a true HD sporting event (Rays/Angels on FSN HD). But my fears about plasma's response times & motion blur were fairly well eased. I would imagine that if a 120Hz LCD was placed alongside, with similar amateur calibration, I might be able to see some difference in motion blur, but without a side-by-side comparison, I had no qualms with this set's performance.
Some day, I will cough up the cabbage for a full 1080p set so that I can enjoy the full benefit of Blu Ray movies & games on the PS3. But in the meantime, this Samsung leaves little to be desired after its first impression. Very happy with my purchase.
Pros Excellent picture, deep blacks, good price point, variety of input jacks, easy menu navigation.
Cons Screen can be too reflective in bright rooms, speakers could be louder.
Summary After slowly saving up for over a year, I finally settled on this Samsung plasma. Right out of the box, this set's picture quality is stunning. I actually forgot for a few hours that I still needed to calibrate the picture!
In the store, I could hardly tell the difference side-by-side between 720p and 1080p and couldn't justify spending another $500 to $700 for it. This one's quality stood out for me. Watching Blu-Rays and gaming on my PS3 are fantastic on this set.
The only reason this TV doesn't get a perfect ten are the cons I listed above. The screen is still mildly reflective in my living room, but that is remedied by pulling the shades. The speakers are on the quieter side so if you want to turn the volume up, you really turn it up.
I've had my eye on Samsung for the last year or so. I've read reviews here and elsewhere such as Consumer Reports and Samsung consistently comes out near the top -if not ON top! I'm a very happy customer.
Pros HD is so good! Colors awsome. Sound great with HDMI cable (get a good one online for about $10 or $15 you'll be happy. Oh...Samsung online customer service??? I had to use them for a small screen issue and they were great!
Cons Haven't found one. I live at the beach...the TV faces a wall of mirrors with direct sunlight in enening hours...literally no problem. No problem with lamps either. Don't understand some peoples complaints.
Summary If you see this TV priced around $1000, $1100...just get it. You will be so happy! I am a huge sports fan and was not really impressed with the LCD performance even with the 120hz models...although they are very good.This TV is spectacular. After one year of ownership I have no issues, and I'm constantly amazed by the picture quality.
This plasma has a fantastic picture, doesn't get hot, is not heavy, and is at least the equal of every other TV I've seen...which is all of them.
Maybe, maybe a high end LCD would produce a better picture using Blu-ray etc...but for the extra duckets I don't consider it better.
Folks, don't be fooled by the fright picture in the store of the LCD in the store like I was...that's why I spent so long just staring at these things...but having seen that bright picture in my friends living room...it gets old!
Maybe if you just want a home theater for the occasional movie, but for everyday use, and especially sports...can't beat this plasma.
Updated on Sep 20, 2009
Many friends had purchased LCD models, I went with Plasma because of price and high refresh rate for watching sports.
No burn in problems, great burn protection options on the menu...I use the burn protection to "scrub" the screen after every so often, or after prolonged viewing with static images like ESPN etc.
The side bar burn in from standard aspect is a bit of a pain to deal with as I have to stretch the picture but fewer and fewer programs are not in hi def...to be honest, its not that big of a deal, and wont affect the picture quality at all.
Don't sweat it, just buy this TV, you'll love it.
Customer service is fantastic as well. I had a bad connection on the panel and it was replaced free and very convenient and professional service (although I was in panic mode when I first discovered the problem.
Pros excellent picture, great sound, HD is unbelievable!
Cons when channel surfing, the chanel doesn't pop up right away. it takes a second before it comes up.
Summary This 50" tv did not look that big in the store when mounted next to all the other tv's. When I brought it home and unpacked it, it was huge! I bought a stand that has a mount attached at Costco that holds up to 50" tv's and was unsure if it would how this tv. This tv was VERY lightweight and easy to mount with no problem. I bought a 720p HD monster cable to hook up to my Playstation 3 because it plays blu-rays and high def games. When I turned this tv on and had a blue ray disc playing I was Blown Away. The hidden speakers sounded way better then I expected. I'm thinking about buying one for my parents soon. This tv exceeded all my expectations and I must say, once you go plasma, you can never go back.
Pros Beautiful picture, great size for the coin!
Cons none yet, will report back if any
Summary I did see a few user reviews that had problems with a line across the screen, and low and behold, the one on display at Sears had that problem! Get the extended warranty, it's worth it! Got it on sale at Best Buy for $890! I also got the warranty, which considering the longevity of todays electronics, is a good deal at $160, for 4 years of protection! BB also had a great mahogany stand for only $130, on sale. Got the new stand put together, the new TV on it and hooked up to HDDVR box, DVD Player, WII and PS2 in about 4 hours. I am still looking to find someone post optmal settings, for initial 200 hours of use, low contrast and brightness etc, My RCA HD 52" projection tv just quit on me on Superbowl Sunday, of all days, and it was only 5 years old, so in my humble opinion, stick with a good brand like Samsung, or Sony, maybe Panasonic. When I called the TV repair place, they tell me that there are a lot of tv's coming into their shop "beyond repair", between 6 weeks, and 18 months old! Good brand, backed up by a good warranty, that's the way to go! But don't go crazy with top of the line newest model, and walk away broke. I'm sure the Pioneer KURO looks great, but not $2,500 dollars better than this Samsung! I did a lot of research, and this tv rated out really well, find it for under a grand, and get it.
The unfortunate thing with electionics these days, is that the manufacturers change model and name numbers so often to keep up with technology, trends, and sometimes to just confuse the customers, that you have no idea how long the average life span is of anything these days. They say todays newest plasmas and LCD's should last about 100,000 hours, or 25-30 years of normal use. Yeah, right, I doubt it. My point is, this is a great tv, good price, and 1080P is a waste for anything but bluray with todays current broadcasting technology. Don't waste an extra grand or two on the "newest" model, unless your one of those who admit to spending $1000 for a VCR in the 80's, because it was the way of the future!