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Samsung PS42Q97HDX 42in plasma HD TV

Out of the lab and into the living room; Samsung's plasma in the real world

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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 PS42Q97HDX - Pirates of the Carribean photo courtesy Disney Home Entertainment

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.

Living Room ReviewsDo 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.

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