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Samsung PS-42Q7HD

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      06.03.2007 13:31
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      good value for money

      I had been putting off the day of replacing my fairly large conventional CRT television with a modern flat screen. As it was already a 32", there was little point in going smaller. and based on a permutation of price, room size and practicality. I plumped for this one. There are others by Samsung that seem very similar, but the decision was partially taken for me by John Lewis, where I had some vouchers to burn, and that they gave a 5 year warranty as basic. (Although figures of up to 20years life expectation are quoted, I just don't believe).
      I basically chose this make because of the picture. The pundits say that the Panasonic is better, but I simply liked the look of the picture. I may live to regret this.
      This set is very popular, and I had to wait 3 weeks for it to come into stock. I am sure it will become obsolete next week, but you have to dive in somewhere. Reviews on the internet were good enough (i.e. recognizing the relatively low price), and I had experienced the same model, if not smaller, in a hotel and another home.
      The set is big - packed it weighs 60kg, and most glass television stands are not big enough. I ended up buying a stand from Ikea, which is big, but is on castors. This is not a set to lift and move around. You need a minimum of about 3M distance from the screen for comfortable viewing, and I am now relieved that I did not opt for the 50" which simply would have been too big.
      John Lewis wanted £65 to set the beast up (there was free delivery), but I set it up in very little time, and once switched on the set tunes itself and drags in all the available terrestrial and freeview channels without you having to do anything except to confirm that you want the language to be English, and what the local time is.
      Now, most shops demonstrate their plasma screens on either HD television, bluray DVD's or cartoons. This is to make you see the best possible performance. I suggest you play around in the shops to get to see what you would normally watch.
      Performance on conventional terrestrial television is acceptable, freeview internal is good, satellite is good and DVD is excellent. I have noticed a huge variability between channels on satellite in terms of quality of video and audio with this TV, and am considering replacing my cheap scart leads for high quality ones.
      You also notice that there is a plethora of confusion about screen sizes, and there are many different sizes to choose from, especially on the satellite channels. Freeview seems to work on the auto wide setting, but I have found that you have to play around with the display on satellite. You will probably have noticed that in chain electrical shops like Curry's that the screens on display models often show disproportionate images, especially people. This is something that I am still playing with, and it needs to be tailored for each satellite channel.
      Sound is OK, but not brilliant, and an external 5.1 sound system may help if you have the room.
      The instruction book is not laid out logically, and I find myself flicking back and forth. Extra copies are easily downloaded from the Samsung website.
      The remote control is comprehensive, but small buttons and labelling make it somewhat unergonomic. It is so complex in terms of control functions that only a limited range can be reproduced on most URC's e.g. one4all.
      I would not let this remote into the hands of a child, because without it, the set looses substantial functionality.
      DVD performance is excellent.
      Colours are generally good, but there are inter channel and inter programme differences which may or may not be noticed.
      I think I got good value for money, but only time will tell. Frankly you are not going to change your widescreen plasma very often, so you need to make sure it is right for you.

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