HDTV

Samsung PN51E8000 51" Plasma HDTV

ARTICLE INDEX

Conclusions about the Samsung PN51E8000 Plasma HDTV

LCD might have overtaken plasma in the living room, but for those with a theater room or just without lots of open windows, plasma still typically offers a better picture. The Samsung PN51E8000 lives up to that reputation by providing a wonderful image and has plenty of light to work well in any room. My plasma is only three years old, but only produces half the light output of the PN51E8000, showing that plasma is still advancing today with better black levels, higher levels of light output, and more accurate color.

For most users the performance of the Samsung out of the box, in Movie mode with the Warm2 color temperature selected, provides good enough performance to get lost in a movie. For the discerning videophile, Samsung continues to have what I think is the best CMS on the market, with a full suite of controls, very accurate post-calibration numbers, and not only getting the primary and secondary targets correct but all of those intermediate colors and saturations as well. The only improvements I would like to see here is the ability to copy settings from one input to another, and to have user accessible Day and Night modes instead of having to manually adjust the backlight level.

The SmartTV functions continue to improve, with more content and features available than before, and faster processors that make the interface much more responsive that previous iterations I have used. The included 3D glasses are a good touch, and the 3D performance was the best I've used so far on a flat panel display with a bright image and decent depth and almost no crosstalk. The voice interface was an interesting idea, but not something I found myself using beyond trying it out for a few minutes. For people that often have their hands full and want an alternate way to control a TV I can possibly see using it, but to me it is more of a neat trick to try a couple times.

In the end, the Samsung PN51E8000 is a set that I would say is very close to reference quality, if not already there. The image is stunning, the measurements are fantastic, and the only LCDs that can come close to comparing usually cost far more. For the person looking for a flat panel display that is going to put out a truly natural, accurate image and let them see all the detail in their content, the Samsung PN51E8000 is a set you need to evaluate. I was sad to see it leave my theater room as it put out a picture that out-classes any display I have around and was always enjoyable to watch.