The norm at tech2 in recent times has been LCD TVs, and rightfully so, as they are leading the market for flat panel displays. But, plasma is not dead, and it won’t really die out so soon. That is why a brand like Samsung is still making them. I have here their new model, a 42-inch plasma TV, called the PS42A450. So let's see how well it fares on our scales.
Design and Features
The TV is glossy black, with quite a slim and minimalist bezel. It sits on an oval shaped stand with a similar black finish. The edge of the bottom panel consists of the only aesthetic tinge, in the form of a gun metal colored strip stuck on seamlessly. When turned on, a semicircular blue LED glows, right under the Samsung Logo on the bottom panel. The right edge bears touch sensitive buttons, vertically arranged on the front side of the edge. These are black too, thus making the overall look of the TV quite slick.
The connection window is at the bottom right corner of the back panel (left side when viewed from front), along with a small side slot on the edge. The ports include 3 HDMIs, 2 component ins and one PC (D-sub)in, apart from a few basic RCA style i/o for audio and composite video. Connectivity-wise I will have to say the options are very basic, what with LCDs offering so many options. It's definitely enough though and it is possible to set up a nice AV rack with the TV. The TV comes with 2 downward firing speakers, which give out 20 watts of total power.
The unit comes with 30,000:1 contrast ratio, a brightness rating of 1500 cd/m2 and native resolution of 1024 x 768. This makes it an HD ready panel. The main USP is a 3D engine, which allows for 3D source images to be viewed, which actually means there are 2 images played for each eye. Now to use this you will need the appropriate source content and tools like DDD software/Nvidia graphics cards. There are quite a few 3D DVD and games released, plus I heard Google Earth's latest edition can be viewed in 3D. Besides, this unit supports 100 Hz video, and also has Samsung’s proprietary DNIe engine that tweaks your images to perfection (well almost).
Now this TV is a plasma, so we were prepared for a different set of aspects and the blacks were what I was looking forward to. We quickly put in the calibration DVD and displayed the contrast/brightness chapters. This TV, no doubt, passed the blacker than black bar test on DVE test disc, and also Display Mate gray bars pattern passed upto 95%.
Extremely fine gradation was an issue, but this I realized was due to a detail problem and not so much a brightness issue. The contrast needs to be set at about 75 in our ambient lit test room. All these tweaks were done on the standard menu setting, which also include dynamic and cinema.
Moving on to colors, this TV has a nice saturation to it, on the warmer side of 6500K, but I actually like the dense hues. It gives skin tones a very nice feel. We were watching Independence Day, Ratatouille and I Am Legend as reference discs and these movies look spectacular in terms of black levels and color. But, the detail and sharpness department was not too impressive.
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