Samsung PN50C550G1F Plasma HDTV Review
The Samsung PN50C550 is a 50-inch, 1080p plasma with a very attractive price.
The Samsung PN50C550 managed a very good black level score, which is one of the factors that plasma shoppers keep a close eye on. The 0.06 cd/m2^ performance was not quite as low as a similar Panasonic, but it's certainly good enough for us. More on how we test black level.
The Samsung PN50C550 managed a decent peak brightness, at least for a plasma TV. As you can see in the chart below, the LG, Panasonic, and Samsung are all plasma TVs, and the Samsung is the brightest by far. Of course, an LCD like the Sony 52EX700, clobbers them all. More on how we test peak brightness.
The ability to produce both a good black level and peak brightness means a satisfactory contrast ratio of 2917:1. That's not quite what the similar Panasonic could do, and a far cry from the Sony EX700, but much better than the LG 50PG30. More on how we test contrast.
The Samsung PN50C550, like many plasma TVs, had a hard time maintaining a consistent black level as the amount of black on the screen decreases. A huge splotch of black is going to appear much darker than small patch surrounded by white. This is not something that most LCDs have a hard time with. More on how we test tunnel contrast.
The Samsung PN50C550 experienced some very serious problems with maintaining a consistent white level as the amount of white on the screen increased. On most plasmas, a small bit of white will appear much brighter than a large patch of white, ostensibly to reduce overheating. (White is brighter, requiring more energy output, and therefore heat. Plasma displays overexcite gas trapped between two panels of glass, so too much bright white would either melt the TV or create a black hole. Science does not yet know.) More on how we test white falloff.
The Samsung PN50C550 has a big problem with screen burn-in. Any image left on the screen for more than a minute will be visible for at least a couple minutes. Leave an image overnight, and the burn-in lasts for hours. The TV has a built-in tool to prevent burn-in, but it involves huge panels of white and black swooping across the screen. And it's only activated when it detects absolutely no activity.
This could prove to be a risky purchase for video gamers who will play for hours or days with certain graphic elements (think gauges and other icons) in fixed positions on the screen. When it comes time to break and watch Batman for a few hours, you're still going to be looking at the ghosts of those images. More on how we test white falloff.
The Samsung PN50C550 transitions pretty well from black to white, for the most part. Look at the chart below. First look at the smoothness of the line. There are definitely hiccups in the shadow details, located in the lower left portion of the line.Crooks in the line indicate areas where you can expect to see color banding. But as it moves right, into the midtones, the line smooths out. There's also the slope of the curve to consider. Overall, the curve of 2.32 is very good. An ideal curve is between 2.1 and 2.2. However, the curve tapers off in the upper-right portion, meaning it has a harder time finding details in the highlights. More on how we test greyscale gamma.
- Tour & Design
- Blacks & Whites
- Color Accuracy
- Viewing Effects
- Remote Control
- Audio & Menus
- Multimedia & Internet
- Power Consumption
- Panasonic Viera TC-P50G25 Comparison
- LG 50PQ30 Comparison
- Sony Bravia KDL-52EX700 Comparison
- Series Comparison
- Photo Gallery
- Ratings & Specs
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