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Samsung PS50P96FDX Final Thoughts

by Vincent Teoh
26 July 2007

SUMMARY
Great for HD, not so good for SD... unfortunately Samsung's first-ever full HD 1080p plasma still suffers from some teething problems.

PROS
> Excellent shadow detail and black level
> Outstanding primary and secondary colour chromaticities
> Accepts 1080p/24 from PS3 – judder reduced considerably

CONS
> Internal Freeview tuner stuttering
> Noticeable dynamic false contouring especially with poor source
> More motion blurring compared to top-tier plasmas

Pros

  • Excellent shadow detail and black level
  • Outstanding primary and secondary colour chromaticities
  • Accepts 1080p/24 from PS3 with considerable reduction in judder
  • Detailed picture when 1:1 pixel-mapped for 1920x1080
  • Easy to achieve near-D65 greyscale from user menu
  • Array of screen burn protection technology
  • Abundant connectivity with three HDMI 1.3, etc.
  • Very good viewing angle ≈ 140°
  • Independent input memory settings
  • Swivelling stand pre-fixed for quick setup
  • Auto-adjusts compatible PC resolutions to fit fully on the screen
  • Feature-rich remote control and EPG

Cons

  • Intermittent stutter when watching Freeview using internal tuner
  • Noticeable dynamic false contouring especially with poor source
  • More motion blurring compared to top-tier plasmas
  • Inflexible film mode deinterlacing – [Movie Plus] is needed for 3:2 and 2:2 detection, but causes shimmering artifacts, loss of film-like effect, and forfeit of 1:1 mapping.
  • Plasma buzzing with high APL (Average Picture Level)
  • Mild reflection moire (not as obvious as on the PS50Q97HDX)
  • Sluggish response when changing channels or navigating the user menu
  • Ambient light control needed to minimise reflection

Conclusion

Constructing a 1080p plasma is not as easy as it sounds: existing subfield distribution has to be scrapped, and more advanced motion compensation algorithm needs to be devised to adequately drive the panel while keeping motion artifacts to a minimum. That the Samsung PS50P96FDXBuy this for £1394.60 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £73.40 discount
exhibited some dynamic false contouring and motion blurring (especially on poor source) reminiscent of the earlier generations of plasma television doesn't surprise me at all. After all, this is Samsung's first attempt at a 1080p plasma... they have a good track record of making things better the second time around (think F71 to M86/87).

Considering that the internal Freeview tuner was also flawed, I can only recommend the Samsung PS50P96FDXBuy this for £1394.60 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £73.40 discount
for high-definition viewing. With the motion artifacts being kept at bay by pristine high-bit-rate signal, the PS50P96FDX is capable of delivering breathtaking pictures composed of detail (1:1 pixel mapping), poise (near-D65 greyscale) and precision (colour chromaticities). I can quite happily sit in front of it all day, watching reruns on BBC HD or revisiting my HD DVD/ Blu-ray collection.

Qualified Recommendation


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