televisions

Samsung PN51D450A2D Plasma HDTV Review

51 in.

An inappropriately low resolution for a TV its size, and it lacks much else to make up for this shortcoming.

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.

Motion

Motion Summary
Editorial Note: This is a review of the Samsung PN51D450. Test results are for this model, but should indicate the general performance of other sizes in the PNxxD450 series. The PNxxD450 series includes the following models: the PN43D450 and the PN51D450.  Read here for more details on series differences.
{{article.attachments['Samsung-PN51D450-vanity.jpg']}} • Decent motion performance • Horrendous resolution issues • Testing done using DisplayMate Software
{{article.attachments['tvi-prev.jpg']}} Color Accuracy Page 5 of 18 Viewing Effects {{article.attachments['tvi-next.jpg']}}

Motion Performance*(15.50)*


Overall, the PN51D450 handles motion fairly well. While there are certain resolution issues, when displaying a moving picture, there doesn't seem to be much loss of detail or artifacting, which helps its score greatly.

Unlike many other TVs, there didn't seem to be much motion blur, but there was definitely a minor refresh rate issue where a moving box would change shape to a more rhomboid parallelogram than a square. This is fairly typical for TVs in this price range, so don't read into it too much. Still, if motion performance is a big issue for you, you may want to look at a higher-priced TV. (More on how we test Motion.)

3:2 Pulldown & 24fps*(5.75)*


The Samsung PN51D450 has native processing to help it deal with 24fps content, but strangely enough it doesn't do so well. While it doesn't do terribly bad in showing slow movement, when it's called upon to show a high-frequency pattern, it shows strobing between the lines and loss of detail.  (More on how we test 3:2 Pulldown and 24fps.)

Resolution Scaling*(2.67)*


The PN51D450 has an inappropriately small resolution of 720p for its large 51-inch screen, and this is the biggest glaring deficiency of this television set. Because the size is so big for a resolution so small, if you're even four feet away from the screen you can see the individual pixels, and there are certain scaling issues that are simply unavoidable when you take a huge image and crunch it down to size, then blow it up again.

When viewing high-definition content in the lab, it was readily apparent that this TV was meant for users who either don't care so much about detail, or like to watch their screens from very far away, like at a bar or waiting room. Still, if you're using the PN51D450 in your living room, chances are good that there will be certain resolution scaling problems if you're watching a blu-ray movie or other HD content; images you know and love can look a bit different than they're supposed to.

{{article.attachments['Samsung-PN51D450-monalisa.jpg']}}
*On the left is how the Mona Lisa would look on a 1080p HDTV. On the right is how it generally looks on the 720p Samsung PN51D450. For more stunning re-interpretations of famous paintings and events, please support udronotto on flickr. *

Regardless, we put the PN51D450 through its paces in our labs, and below is a rundown on how it handled rescaling with common NTSC formats. (More on how we test Resolution Scaling.)

480p

The Samsung PN51D450 lost 3% of its screen area to overscan vertically, and 2% of its screen area horizontally. The plasma struggled greatly in minimizing false coloration in high frequency patterns.

1080p

The PN51D450 lost 1% of its screen area vertically to overscan, and 2% of its screen area horizontally to overscan. In addition to this problem, the TV could not accurately display text, high frequency patterns (some requiring definition smaller than the pixel size itself) and had significant trouble with false coloration.

 

Other Models in the PNxxD450 Series
This is a review of the Samsung PN51D450. The other sizes of HDTVs in this series should be similar in terms of performance and usability. For details about any differences, click on the image to jump to the Series Comparison page.
{{article.attachments['Samsung-PN51D450-series43.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Samsung-PN51D450-series51.jpg']}}
Samsung PN43D450 43 inches Samsung PN51D450 51 inches
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. Connectivity
  9. Audio & Menus
  10. Multimedia & Internet
  11. Power Consumption
  12. Vs. Samsung PN50C550
  13. Vs. Panasonic TC-P42X3
  14. Vs. Vizio E321VL
  15. Conclusion
  16. Series Comparison
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.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
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.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

What's Your Take?

All Comments