Samsung PN50B550 Plasma 1080p HDTV - Viewing Angle, General Usage and More

Article Index
Samsung PN50B550 Plasma 1080p HDTV
First Look, Setup and Installation
Subjective and Objective Tests
Viewing Angle, General Usage and More

Viewing Angle:

While some panels - both in LCD monitors and TVs have issues keeping color uniform when viewing from different angles, the viewing angle on the PN50B550 claims to be over 174° both horizontal and vertical.  While many other displays I've used do indeed produce some sort of picture at these angles, the quality of the image is less that ideal - much less.  Take a look below at the viewing angle shots from a frame from Discovery HD.

 Side Angle
Side Angle
Vivid Picture
Vivid Picture

 

As you can see by checking out the images above, the viewing angle stays pretty consistent until it gets pretty extreme.  At roughly 120° the picture starts to wash out.  It's quite a ways from the 174° (keep in mind that 180° is straight sideways), but overall it has very friendly wide-angle viewing area.  I had no issues watching TV from any seat in my living room.  By the way, the image above-left is Dubai.

 

Gaming: 

The gaming “tests” are always the most fun part of these reviews and this is a great TV to be gaming on.  My TV is the heart of our home entertainment system and I have a lot of movies cached on a NAS.  I also use the computer to play some games such as Devil May Cry 4, Call of Duty 4 and even Lego Indiana Jones.  I had no problems gaming on this TV with Dynamic Contrast turned on or off.  There were also no visible signs of ghosting or image distortion.  The 0.001 ms response time (yeah right) is a non-issue and gaming looked incredible on this TV.  Even gaming on the Wii at 480p up-scaled nicely and it looked great all around.

 

PC Connectivity:

As I mentioned previously, I use this TV hooked up to my PC primarily for entertainment, but also do a bit of web-surfing, Flickr browsing another other HTPC related tasks.  With a nice broadband connection you can easily stream video from sites such as Hulu.  It's nice to be able to do all of these things from the comfort of your recliner.  Even though this unit has a nice high native resolution of 1920x1080, I still noticed that text on the PC was kind of fuzzy.  It didn't look any better through the VGA or HDMI 2 (DVI) port either.  It's not bad by all means, but it wasn't as crisp as I'd hoped.  I guess that a 50" TV cannot replace an actual computer monitor for text-heavy tasks.  Keep in mind that as you lower resolution, this only gets worse.


 

Conclusion:

After using the 50" Plasma from Samsung for almost a month, I've got to say that the 50" is a great size.  Even my parents came over and watched some TV on this unit and were impressed - so impressed that they went out and purchased one for themselves.  The PN50B550 has a decent feature set, tons of inputs and excellent picture quality.  Video played back from HD Satellite TV, Blu-Ray movies and even older HD DVDs is stunning.  Even when up-scaling DVD movies, the Wii and SDTV, the picture quality is very acceptable as this unit does a much better job that I thought it would.  As is the case with many TVs, the colors are boosted from the factory giving the TV an incredible first impression.  Once it was calibrated correctly, it performed even better - albeit a little less dazzling.

The four HDMI ports on this TV assures that you will be able to hook up your favorite components and be able to play all of that HDCP protected content without issues.  The pair of component video inputs as well as pair of composite video inputs gives you flexibility for older devices.

 

Pros:

  • 600 Hz Subfield for smooth fast action
  • Good contrast ratio - blacks are black
  • Lots of inputs
  • Vivid picture

 

Cons:

  • Sound quality not as good as the LN40A650
  • Color boosted to unrealistic levels by default
  • Computer connected text is a bit fuzzy

 

 BCCRating

Silver

I'd like to thank Samsung Canada for sending out this TV for us to review.  I enjoyed watching some great hockey on this unit and my kids enjoyed their games even more than usual.  If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.