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Samsung PN42C450 Plasma HDTV Review

42 in.

The Samsung PN42C450 is a 720p entry-level plasma that fails to dispel the notion that Samsung is an LCD-maker first, followed – at some distance – by plasma manufacturing.

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Black Level

The Samsung PN42C450 did not wow us with its black level, especially when you consider that black level is the supposed strength of a plasma. Admittedly, the TV is surely capable of getting deeper blacks than this if we played around with some of the settings, but this was the performance under the optimal calibration. Note in the chart below that the Sony and Samsung LCD displays are both capable of deeper blacks. More on how we test black level.

Black Level Chart

Peak Brightness

The Samsung PN42C450, like most plasmas, can't get nearly as bright as LCDs due to the risk of excessive heat. However, the picture was a lot brighter than some of the more expensive Panasonic plasmas we've reviewed. All in all, it's a decent performance. More on how we test peak brightness.

Peak Brightness Chart
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Contrast

We measured the Samsung PN42C450's contrast ratio at approximately 1442:1, which is certainly not spectacular. If contrast is so important to you, there are special processing settings that increase the contrast. However, it comes at the cost of other areas of performance. For instance, the Dynamic Contrast setting constantly raises and lowers the cell lighting, which can be quite distracting. More on how we test contrast.

Contrast Chart

Tunnel Contrast

The Samsung PN42C450, as a plasma display, has some troubles with maintaining a consistent black level. When the screen is mostly black, the levels are deeper than when it's a small patch of black surrounded by bright white. You probably won't find this too distracting. More on how we test tunnel contrast.

Tunnel Contrast Chart

White Falloff

The Samsung PN42C450 has a little trouble with maintaining a consistent peak brightness. Most plasmas have this issue, in fact. For small patches of white, it can display a very bright white. However, that produces a lot of heat. If that white patch gets bigger, the TV has to lower the brightness in order to keep the TV chassis from melting. It's for your safety! Respect it. More on how we test white falloff.

White Falloff Chart

Uniformity

The Samsung PN42C450 has no problems with screen uniformity. More on how we test white falloff.

Greyscale Gamma

The greyscale gamma measures how well a TV displays the transition from black to white. The chart below tells us a few different things. First, there's the shape. Ideally, we're looking for a smooth curve. The bumps in the lower left indicate some minor issues in the shadow details. It slope also becomes more horizontal, indicating that it won't be able to display every shade you might want to see in the shadows. The same thing happens on the upper right end of the slope, which represents the highlights. There's even more loss of detail here. However, the overall slope of the curve is very good. An ideal curve is somewhere between 2.1 and 2.2. The Samsung PN42C450's performance was a slope of 2.19.

More on how we test greyscale gamma.

Greyscale Gamma Chart
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Tour & Design
  3. Blacks & Whites
  4. Color Accuracy
  5. Motion
  6. Viewing Effects
  7. Calibration
  8. Remote Control
  9. Connectivity
  10. Audio & Menus
  11. Multimedia & Internet
  12. Power Consumption
  13. Panasonic Viera TC-P42S2 Comparison
  14. Sony Bravia KDL-40NX700 Comparison
  15. Samsung LN40C630 Comparison
  16. Conclusion
  17. Series Comparison
  18. Photo Gallery
  19. Ratings & Specs
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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