The resulting image is as smooth as a silk-buffed baby's bottom, with crisp detail. True, deep blacks have a tendency to go a little greenish at times, but if that starts to bother you then you're evidently not enjoying the movie. The 1080i works splendidly, and was particularly appreciated during a marathon session of Doctor Who series three.
In other instances, it doesn't make the slightest difference. A copy of John Boorman's Excalibur didn't benefit at all from the miracle of interlaced spoof hi-def, but I suspect the DVD was below par in terms of quality to begin with.
Last of the Time Lords
The Samsung's sound is OK but lacking in bottom end, so it was time to hook up the 5.1 surround system - breathtaking for stuff such as Pirates of the Caribbean, but rather excessive for watching the news.
And it was when we first decided to watch some analogue TV on the beast when the wheels sort of came off. Nothing to do with the Samsung, but rather the inadequacy of the signal. Reception round here is not all that, and splaying a standard-definition TV picture across 42 inches really underlined how poor it is.
Perversely, this means it's back to the old CRT in the spare room to watch the news, while reserving the Samsung for DVDs.
Quite how the PS42Q97HDX performs for gaming I know not, and although my teenage son kept enthusing about something called a "PlayStation3" which can be used apparently to "shoot-'em-up" while also packing a Blu-ray player, my finances remain resolutely opposed to the idea.
Indeed, having watched the bog-standard DVD of Casino Royale on the new system, I fail to see how shelling out for a Blu-ray player and the hi-def disc of the Bond movie could substantially improve the quality. I may be wrong, since a mate swears that the Blu-ray version is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I'm staying well away from that until the Blu-ray versus HD DVD battle ends in a clear winner.
While there are doubtless better widescreens, and some really tasty LCDs out there, the Samsung really does the business for its relatively modest price. I paid a reasonable €1200, but there are always deals to be had.
I'm personally not really that bothered about having the absolute last word in terms of quality, since it appears that every marginal improvement in picture comes with a hefty hit to the wallet. Accordingly, here are my five criteria for choosing the widescreen telly set-up of your dreams:
- Price Forget shelling out for stunning performance unless it really matters to you. The Samsung is a winner at a price which will not result in destitution.
- Size These things are enormous. Make sure you actually have room for them. Or buy a bigger house.
- 1080 Get a DVD player which can pump out 1080i or - even better - 1080p via HDMI. You'll notice the difference.
- Sound 5.1 surround is a must. Without it, the picture far outstrips the audio, and it'll annoy you.
- Hi-def Discs Forget 'em until the Blu-ray/HD DVD thing is settled, and they actually produce a decent range of films on the winning format.
Samsung PS42Q97HDX 42in plasma HD TV
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.