"Excellent budget HDTV set"4.0 starson by laszlo2u
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.