I spent hours and hours on the internest looking at reviews of TV's. There's a mind boggling number of things that you're supposed to look at, is it high definition, is full HD? whats the contrast ratio? refresh rate? It goes on and on.
If you want a TV that has all the highest numbers in all of these things you're going to be spending in the £1000's. Several thousand for top of the range. And you'd be an idiot. Fact.
This TV isn't full hd. It's just standard 720p HD. It's a plasma, when many will tell you LCD is better these days, and it's contrast ratio doesn't compare with some of the latest and greatest sets. So lets just get that all out of the way.
Now go and look at it next to those sets in your local currys/comet/whatever - you'll be blown away. The picture quality absolutely obliterates anything else in the price range. Seriously, i'm not a massive Samsung fan, I only bought the brand based on what I saw. It trounces all the LCD's in this price range - sure if you've got the money for a 240Hz LCD - get that, it looks marginally better than this for triple the price.
And honestly, you really can't tell much difference between 1080p and 720p. Certainly not at this size.
Oh, I forgot to mention, the sound is outstanding too - however I have seen quite a feww offers around with this TV and a surround sound system together, so you might ger an even better deal if you need both.
I can't say it enough, you really need to see this TV in action to appreciate just what incredible value for money it represents. People will tell you that the lifespan of this generation of plasma tv is only about 10 years - but if you're like me there's no way you'll still have a TV in 10 years anyway. This really is the smart buy, it's not only better than the competition, but is also cheap enough to avoid bankruptcy/divorce.
p.s there is another model by Samsung at a similar price/spec but with 457 at the end of the model number rather than 456. I'm not sure if this is just a newer model - it mat be worth a look if this is not available.
They say size does not matter, but I'm realising it does. We have had a pretty rough run on TV's over the last two years, our 28" Phillips CRT (Cathode Ray Television (big chunky thing)) television died three times in as many months (foreign components from Turkey thought to be the blame), when we moved across to 32" Samsung CRT things were far more reliable, but this lovely TV was doomed on its arrival in our house as Hi-Definition transmissions first bought a Blu-Ray player then Hi-Definition TV channels into the home. At this point I won a television so big that it literally took over the house this 56" Samsung LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) also had limited days, you could not see passed it, anytime we had visitors it was literally a case of "Look at the size of that!" as guests spent the night hypnotised by the television. Next up came a more reasonable 28" LCD television from Samsung, trouble being after something double (well officially double but including case more like a quarter) of the size of our previous TV. My other half was pestering me to bring in the 32" from the spare room, it was at this point I decided to make a desperate measure of a new purchase, trouble being I wanted a brand I could trust 40" or above in my cash zone of £500.
Something I had never thought about was a Plasma television; these were the very first HD (Hi-Definition) televisions that very quickly became superseded by the LCD models. Truth of the matter being I never really knew what the difference between LCD or Plasma was, do you?
The differences between the two is a 50/50 thing, Plasma wins out in terms of picture quality, while LCD wins out in respect of power consumption and life. If you look at a Plasma television it's a clear sheen, a flat version of your old CRT televisions, only thinner and plastic based instead of glass, LCD is clearly more plastic looking, with a sort of mottled frosted look when switched off. The big weakness of Plasma is that it consumes twice as much power as an LCD television (although this is half of a standard CRT), and is estimated to have half the lifespan of LCD. On the plus side with Plasma, the colours are so vivid and realistic, images are far clearer, and on Hi-Definition channels you can almost feel the three dimensional feel of the images being transmitted. Older Plasma televisions suffered from something called Burn Out, this was where a static image could burn into the screen, and stay creating a ghosting look, and this has now been rectified. A Plasma television that displays images for 9-10 hours a day, should last for around 7 years, an LCD for 14 to 15 years. However in respect of this 42" model that I eventually purchased, Samsung offer it in both a Plasma or LCD option, Plasma £449, LCD £899; half the lifespan Plasma, but half the price. Having researched these facts I decided that Plasma was most definitely the way to go, to be real in 7 years there is more than likely to be a new television that will knock our socks off.
Onto the Urban Myth, and I was told that the Plasma TV's were considerably more heavy than LCD, and the three men that delivered my one for me certainly echoed the fact. But to my amazement my 28" LCD was not much lighter than the Plasma, which I pulled out of the box gladiator style with one hand. What did stand out was that rather than being the conventional dark grey screens you see on both LCD or CRT televisions, this Plasma was a very light grey.
Installation was fairly simple, but worth bearing in mind is the fact that if your making a movie from a 28" television to a 42" the cables and HDMI cables that plug into it will need to have much more give, it took me about two hours piddling about with leads, and different boxes in different locations around the TV . Once however everything was together it was a simple selection of the enter button and the television tuned in the standard channels, the Freeview ones (the TV has a built in Freeview decoder), then the time and date. Unlike my 28" LCD television, the HDMI inputs (the cables and sockets that allow HD transmissions) this television automatically selects these if you are using them as an input source. The television comes with three scart sockets, three HDMI ports, and the ability to input AVI and S-Video components (video cameras and other televisual wonders). Another nice factor is that the remote control unlike most other recent Samsung products, is sufficiently different to other Samsung remotes, yes it looks great if you have a all Samsung set up, but try stumbling for the volume control in the dark when they all look the same, the difference for me was amazing. Another great point is that you do not even need to open the instruction book, onboard demos and common sense show you everything you need to know...EVER! A word to the wise though, the cloth that comes with the television that tells you to "Use this for cleaning" is there for a reason, this is designed for cleaning the screen only, not the casing.
A nice touch when it comes to the Freeview, is that you can benefit from picture in picture, this is where you can see a small image of a channel on the bottom corner of the screen, the purpose? So you can either see the game, while she watches the soaps, or so you do not miss the start of that all important show. To the best of my knowledge I have yet to find another TV with built in Freeview that does this, watch standard television then see a PIP (picture in picture) of Freeview yes, but watching two Freeview channels at the same time, something much harder to find. There is also a slot for and future pay channels that may launch on Freeview like Setanta, meaning you do not need a seperate decoder, you can even output to a DVD/VCR recorder from the TV.
To be fair while watching television in Freeview or standard transmission channels, and there is nothing at all to separate this television from any CRT or LCD television. But when it comes alive is when you add anything to it with an HDMI socket even if the image your transmitting is not a High Definition one. If the image is of conventional quality it upscales its quality to the TV (in plain English, it makes it better). But the big difference comes in watching television pictures that are in HD. At the time of writing there are three Freesat HD channels, one virgin HD channel, and 22 Sky HD, if you have BT vision you can rent (via download) HD movies for about £1.99 unless they are the very latest titles. Of course if you have either the now obsolete HD player, or the more successful Blu-Ray player; you can see these high quality images too. To be fair when it came to HD quality channels and movies I was left to this point scratching my head, with an LCD television yes it looked a bit better, but I'd not have gone mad about it. Now however I'm going mad, the expression "it's like you're really there" is so true when displayed on this TV's Plasma screen, even my unusually shoulder shrugging good lady confessed there was a "Striking" difference. This is due to the fact that Plasma has the ability to store a considerably higher colour palette. It's the simplest things that stand out though, the things you normally do not notice, the Sky television Logo's for example, specifically a "Whack The Mole" intro that proceeds many of the TV programs on Sky One, you just want to get to your feet to see if you can merge your hand with the image, although the wonder of common sense tells you that that this is a impossibility. Wildlife shows on the BBC HD or National Geographic channels are just stunning, you are literally there with the wildlife.
On the sound front, a popular flaw with Samsung TV's is that you often find yourself turning the volume up to 50 or 60 on the volume settings, on this model I have seldom had to venture above 20. The sound quality in both tone and level of sound quality is great. Considering the television is not cinema sound, it does have a certain ventriloquist effect about it, it throws specific sounds out into the room, so you do at times get a cinema effect.
There is only one flaw to this television, and that is during the first month it is a dust magnet, and you will feel really dirty for a while. When you switch on the television you can see the dust magnetising towards it, we always seemed to be wiping it. After the first month however this fades, and while still showing the dust, you don't need to polish it 4 or 5 times a day like you do when its first set up.
If you're considering a new TV purchase I cannot recommend this TV more, forget the wives tales go for the facts, research yourself and weigh up the benefits and costs, LCD and Plasma in some respects are a million miles apart, and unless something goes seriously wrong with this television, or Plasma becomes obsolete this is one buyer who will never be going back, to what looks like an almost primitive looking delivery of HD television.