Feeds
85%

Samsung PS42Q97HDX 42in plasma HD TV

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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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.

Samsung PS42Q97HDX - Doctor Who photo courtesy BBC

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.

Verdict

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

85%

Samsung PS42Q97HDX 42in plasma HD TV

Modestly priced, Samsung's 42in plasma does the business
Price: £799 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Will BlackBerry make a comeback with its SQUARE smartphones?
Plus PC PIMs from company formerly known as RIM
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
Soundbites: News in brief from the Wi-Fi audiophile files
DTS and Sonos sing out but not off the same hymnsheet
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.