Samsung PS42Q97HDX 42in plasma HD TV
Out of the lab and into the living room; Samsung's plasma in the real world
Living Room Review You know how it is - you're sitting one day in front of your trusty CRT watching Apocalypse Now when you're suddenly struck by the feeling that you really aren't getting the full-fat cinematic experience.
Fast forward two weeks, and some poor delivery bloke is heaving an enormous box out the back of a lorry, the contents of which hold the promise of widescreen joy, peace on Earth and an end to world hunger.
A slight exaggeration, perhaps, but if my kids' reaction to the arrival of the Samsung PS42Q97HDX 42in plasma was anything to go by, planet Earth just became a far better place to live.
My choice of the Samsung was based on a personal recommendation, backed by Register Hardware's Top Five HD TVs selection. The credit card could just about handle the price, and it looked like the plasma could offer the required bangs-per-buck in terms of performance.
Samsung's PS42Q97HDX: high-def heavyweight?
Once it's out of the box, the PS42Q97HDX is a bit of a looker - sleek, black and with a slightly wobbly but matching oval stand. It weighs a bit, too, and at 31kg required the construction of a custom-built shelf to support the beast. Of course, there's an optional wall-mount kit, but that seemed an unnecessary extra expense.
Fire up the telly, and you're offered a plug-and-play menu which tunes in all your TV channels and detects your peripherals. It's traditional to say at this point that the set-up couldn't be easier, but that would only be true if it were able to bring you your pipe, slippers and a small sherry while doing the business. As it is, the whole operation took around five, relatively painless minutes.
Of course, if you're shelling out for a screen this big, you'll want to get the most from your DVDs. Cue a new Toshiba SD-470EKE player, which can deliver an interlaced 1080 signal via HDMI.
Since I'm not one for faffing about with complex menus, indeed any menu at all if I can possibly avoid it, I stuck the TV straight onto "autowide" mode and, with the kids suitably supplied with popcorn and fizzy drinks, popped Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End into the DVD player and hit play.
The result? Impressive, to say the least. Although we had a few minutes of fiddling with the picture mode since the default, "Standard", delivered too much contrast, and the "Dynamic" appeared to burn out anything brighter than a candle, the "Movie" mode seemed to do the trick.
|Do you own a piece of kit that you'd like to tell other Register Hardware readers all about? We're looking for folk who've tried out computer and consumer electronics products in the real world and want to share their experiences. Drop us a line here with your stories and we'll publish the best ones here.|
CRT for me, ta
"Stick to CRT until there a no more TV repair men to fix them." (anonymous coward)
Couldn't agree more. The paramaters for a flatscreen to produce a good pic have to be finely tuned to the point of ridiculousness. By this I mean that any link in the chain can balls it up.
Buy an expensive telly with the wrong output? Never mind, just spend the next few years KNOWING that you're missing out on 1080p.
Get the wrong kind of DVD player? Oops.
Watching a channel with rubbish compression? Welcome to artifact city.
Honestly, unless you really can drop a couple of thousand and not notice it, stick with CRT. They'll make almost any signal look good.
Also, I second everything that has been said about the reviewer. Why is El Reg getting someone who plainly neither knows nor cares about telly to review, er, a telly? Would they do that with a graphics card? Or a mobe?
Case in point 1: "This means it's back to the old CRT in the spare room to watch the news, while reserving the Samsung for DVDs."
So you can watch DVDs on your television but not, er, television. (The "tele" bit in television roughly means "at a distance" and refers to broadcasting or similar technologies like IPTV or whatever replaces it)
Case in point 2: "I'm personally not really that bothered about having the absolute last word in terms of quality"
HD doesn't exist
If you bother to research this shite you will realise that 'HD'= compensation for the fact that a pixel is a square and not a circle. It is all bullshit. HDMI signals are purely the industry solution to essentially LCD TV's not being able to run at a high enough resolution to not suck.
Stick to CRT until there a no more TV repair men to fix them.
I have PS3 I use it to watch dvd's and blu-ray + games on a classic flat screen crt that I have had for over a decade and it looks top notch, I have viewed the same signal on a hd lcd and a bloody expensive one at that and there is no difference.
Consumers it is time to wake up and smell the scandal.
To be fair
Is it actually possible to buy a 40"+ LCD/Plasma that isn't HD Ready these days? If all you want to do is watch standard definition, then you'd definitely be better off with a native standard definition set, but I don't think I've actually seen one that size for quite a while. Large screen these days seems to mean HD-Ready, whether you like it or not.
Comet or Currys?
I've been looking for a big big tv. One thing I have noticed is the in Comet stores all the TVs have a display card which list the actual screen res, but go into Currys and none and I mean none of the shelf tickets give any info about the spec, no res, no brightness nothing. It's as if the have some thing to hide. I also noticed most if not all large plasma screens appear to be 1024*768 (I may be wrong).
Bad review of the review.
This is a great TV ( Ive just bought one ) and that was a terrible review!
As others have said, I cant believe it was tested without a HD source ( listen to your son - get that PS3! )
The thing to note about this TV is value. You can get it for £ 600 + 5 year warranty if you shop around.
It costs £1000 for the 50" version of this , or the Sammy 46" 1080p LCD costs around £1500 ( your eye can only see the difference in the higher res when you go over 42" )
This may not be the best TV out there, but its very good and you cant complain at that price. Or at least thats the conclusion I came to after 5 days of soul destroying research and a £ 2k budget.