Customer Reviews: Samsung PN42B450 42-Inch 720p Plasma HDTV (2009 Model)
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on May 2, 2009
Great quality at this price point, way above my expectations!

My goal was to get an HDTV for no more than $1000.

This is how I convinced that Plasma 42" 720 p is the right choice for me .I've done quite bit of click shopping at online stores- amazon, eBay, newegg, abt.

1. Size: I don't need a TV bigger than 50". I live in a Condo. This is for my living room. Watch distance is ~8 feet.

2. Output: For <=50" size, I can not distinguish if the output is in 720p or in 1080 p(or 1080i).Comcast telecasts HD in 1080i in my area. As per my research, it takes at the least 2-3 years for Cable providers to upgrade their output quality to >=1080 p as such upgrade requires huge investment.

3.Plasma vs LCD vs rear projection: Partly this choice was governed by next criterion, price. Rear projections , available in the market, are largely >50". Between Plasma and LCD- I could not find any annoying feature in either technology when I watch those sets in stores -Walmart, target, sears, frys and best buy. At times I found colors of Plasma-warm and more appealing than I found those on LCD.
4.Price- I found Plasma sets did better on this criterion over LCD sets. Also most LCD sets produce 1080p. I do not need 1080p and I did not want to pay for that feature.
5.Other hygiene factors: HDMI inputs(3), Component connection, Optical link for sound
6. Factors I did not care: height(above 6000 feet) . I 've no reason to believe that I'll need to use this set at that elevation. Watching in light: I 'm okay to pull the blinders if too much sunlight affects experience . Burn in: latest Plasmas have advanced technology that constantly moves the picture and does not let burn in happen. Also if burn in does happen after few years, I am okay. I am sure I'll go for another TV in next 3+ years and can use this in any other room. 1080p-bluray: my TV downgrades the output signal to 720p. I wouldn't notice any difference anyways between 720p vs. 1080 p at <50".
7.Brand: Pioneer, Panasonic, Samsung are the leaders in plasma. Pioneer's TVs are way above my requirements- in terms of TV size and price.
8.Personal Tests- At stores- without looking at specifications- tried to call out output and LCD vs Plasma. I was largely successful in identifying LCD vs Plasma but not quite successful in identifying 720p vs 1080p. On closer look 1080ps looked better than 720ps.( I just told myself that store guys apply settings in such a way that 1080ps look better..See I made the decision to buy 720p and was looking for evidence to support my decision! )

I narrowed down choices to Panasonic P42X1 and SamsungPN42B450. Both appeared great- my wife likes Samsung's external finish over Panasonic. I like the fact that Samsung is $20 economical compared to Panasonic.

I bought this item from Amazon , received it yesterday. Out of box settings are great. Played around with those options on remote control -with energy efficient options, Picture modes, sound modes. It's exciting.

Will post updates to this review if find anything exciting or disturbing with this unit.

**Update 6/21/2009- I could not find any significant evidence that Plasma increased my energy bill.
-My energy bill for May 2008-June 2008 was USD 76, for Apr 2009-May 2009 was USD 82 , for May 2009-June 2009 it is USD 63. I've got few additional electronic appliances since last year including this Plasma (I kept my 20" LCD in my guest room) April last week.
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on April 21, 2009
First we bought the 42 inch vizio LCD (XVT) because of the 1080p and 120hz refresh, and it was on sale at Costco, but we found it to be annoyingly grainy, even while watching discs on our high-end Bluray machine (Sony BDP-BX1). After much deliberation and research online, we decided for the money we should be thrilled about the purchase, and so returned the Vizio to Costco (they took it, no questions asked, even without the box) and bought this Samsung plasma from Bestbuy for $100 less. The result... this is what we were looking for. We watch movies in the dark and this TV is perfect for it. No grain, crisp and beautiful. Is 1080p really that important? Or is this just more size-matters syndrome? Who knows - but this 720p plasma looks worlds better than the 1080p LCD, for less money. Go with this one!
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on April 12, 2009
I got this TV in the Best Buy bundle they offered with the Xbox 360. For the price, I had absolutely not expected how great this TV is. The picture quality is definitely amazing, and I still can't find a TV in any display stores with better HD quality so far. Like all plasmas, it does show the true black perfectly and there's no motion blur what-so-ever in any of the video games or sports programming I've played so far. It also has inputs galore (3 HDMIs, VGA/sound PC input, optical audio output) which makes it easy to hook up to all the different components. I'm also able to cut down on extra cables by utilizing the optical sound output to my Denon receiver, so anything I view on the TV feeds digital sound to my AV system.

If you're looking for a true hidden gem, this TV probably offers the greatest value out there right now - and the Plasma is still superior to LCD at the moment.
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on March 23, 2009
Great TV for the price. Out of the box settings were very good. You could get a better TV for 2000 dollars, but this seems to be the best TV in this price point by a wide margin. I'll be dropping cable now since I have a HD antenna, and the picture looks amazing! Everything is so smooth, and the color is great. I had no problem giving up the 1080p features of higher end TVs for this TV (I don't have a blu-ray player, and it's only 42 in so you're not going to notice the difference hardly). Worth every penny and more.
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on May 28, 2009
I purchased this Samsung PN42B450B on May 20, 2009. Today is Thursday May 28, 2009. As promised it arrived shipped from 6AVE in exactly one week. I helped the U.P.S. man carry it in yesterday at about 9:30 a.m. All the way from the warehouse in New Jersey, it was easy to track the shipment to our house in Orlando, Florida. One week is pretty good for FREE SHIPPING.
Our old television was a standard 32" Toshiba which we purchased from Sam's Club in October of 1999 when we moved up here from Pinellas County. We shopped around quite a long time for that one too. It lasted up until now. The picture is just getting enough power to give an hour glass representation. Other than that, the Toshiba was fine. In fact, I looked around for a Toshiba to replace it. The closest I could come was a Toshiba 40" at just around $740 almost everywhere. Honestly, it seemed like the price was price fixed!
We saw this Samsung in BJ's club and realized that it stood out from all the others. I had been looking for a plasma set, but did not want to get out of the Samsung, Pioneer and Panasonic corridor. These are the three manufacturers extant which build plasma. Why plasma?
Honestly, 1080p is a lot crisper; of this there is no question. The screen 'seems' brighter, and the longevity of screen is greater than some plasmas....BUT...There is no question that in the end, the plasma will give the best rendition of black. The colors are a lot warmer. All other things being equal, after my wife got home last night, we lifted it on to the stand (while I screwed it in place and connected cables from my antenna and the Dish Network SD box), and then I sat back to see if it would start up right away or if we had a D.O.A.
It is beautiful. It worked like a charm right out of the box. I have not had to fiddle with the colors or brightness as it came out of the box. I am a sound person. I made some adjustments with the equalizer. We watched three hours of Law and Order HD on NBC using my Phillips indoor antenna (I have it situated in a corner ... everything comes in including the independents in HD). I could not discern the difference between an 720P or a 1080P picture. For our use it is more than ideal. I haven't tried it on sports as yet; other reviews think that the argument for 1080p is there. This television is more than adequate at the price.
Price is very important to me. If we could not get this set, my wife started querying me about a 50" Samsung plasma which was coming up for sale at BJ's. After I quoted her the sale price of $850, it was right back to Amazon!
The set is excellent. I recommend highly that you purchase the extended warranty. Anything can happen to these sets. We are living in the lightning captal of the world. I have it running through a very expensive box for protection, but one can never tell. I never buy these warranties, and if you look at it closely, it covers the set from DAY ONE. You may think that this is ingenuous of them; on the other hand it also includes damage from SPIKES in the line which the REGULAR warranty does not. Get the warranty. It is already at $710. That brings it up close to $800. You pay for it now or you pay later. Read the reviews of the service calls regarding the warranty. They are MUCH better than average.
Over the years I have populated my home with MANY purchases from Amazon. Even when returning a D.O.A. DSL router/modem we received nothing but the highest level of service. My living room is replete with sound equipment purchased through and from Amazon. Their service is great.
Buy this Samsung 42" Plasma and enjoy. The setup is simple. Turn it on and follow the screen instructions. You will NOT be disappointed.
Tony Genco
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on February 17, 2010
Our previous TV was a decent 32-inch LCD with an excellent picture. After three years, I came to realize that a 32-inch size is not optimum for viewing from 8-10 feet away in our living room. So I set off on researching a larger HDTV option.

I determined that a 40-42 inch size would fit our space perfectly and be well-suited to our viewing distance. Based on my good experience with the 32-inch LCD, I started looking at 40-inch LCDs only. I researched every model within our budget ($700) and found several good units from Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, and LG. It was very difficult to pick a clear winner.

And then, while trying to make the LCD decision, I wandered over and looked at the plasmas.

In the bright environment of BB, the LCDs definitely have the edge when it comes to "wow" factor with their bright, crisp displays turned up to the max. This is because people equate bright pictures with good pictures. In comparison, the plasmas appear more subdued and are not as "punchy" especially when they're side-by-side with the LCDs. But the plasmas develop a deep, rich image that can't be matched by similar-priced LCDs with conventional backlighting. Go take a look at the plasma displays set up in the low-light environment of the Magnolia section of BB and the quality difference of plasma becomes apparent.

The beauty of the plasma is that each pixel can be turned "off" and essentially emits no light -this allows for very deep blacks and higher-quality color reproduction. Conventional LCDs have a constant backlight that bleeds through the LCD matrix and this makes it difficult for LCDs to reproduce dark blacks. Plasma is also free of image lag when viewing fast moving scenes such as sports (something that even the best LCD's have a hard time resolving). Plasma pretty much dominates the home theater world due to its excellent color fidelity, fluid images, and deep black reproduction. If you can control the amount of ambient light in your viewing environment (e.g. no bright windows reflecting off the TV screen or strong overhead lighting) then plasma can't be beat. From what I have researched and personally experienced, a lot of people struggle to find their perfect LCD display. They never find it...until they finally try plasma and realize that's what they've been looking for all along!

I narrowed down my research to two, similar, 42-inch plasma models: the Panasonic P42X1 and the Samsung PN42B450. With Panasonic's long-standing reputation for plasma technology, I decided to order the P42X1. This is a well-built unit with a massive stand and solid construction. After viewing some HD feeds (Discovery Channel, etc.) from Dish HD and performing some image adjustments recommended by online forums, I realized that the 42X1's lack of multiple user adjustments is a detriment to what could be excellent picture quality. You get brightness, contrast, color, tint, and sharpness only. After several days of experimentation, I could not get the perfect balance of color and fleshtones. A more disturbing effect was that the 42X1 had trouble displaying very bright images and very dark images on the screen simultaneously. It was a subtle effect but was very obvious when displaying the Dish Network program guide. In the Dish program guide, there's an inset "view" of the tuned-in program superimposed over the dark blue/gray program guide that fills the entire screen. When the images in the inset view would go to high brightness, the dark blue background of the program guide on the rest of the screen would shift or "flicker" in brightness, as well. For some reason, the TV was being fooled by the high-brightness in one small area of the screen and would adjust the brightness in other portions of the image (this used to happen on old CRT TVs). Unfortunately, this phenomenon also existed while watching normal HD programming -if one area of the image became bright then the darker areas would shift in brightness, as well. A very unusual effect but noticeable while viewing different programs. I also ran full-screen "plasma break-in" images of various color gradations and noticed that about a dozen or so red and blue pixels in the lower left area were somewhat brighter than the others. Of course, this could only be seen up close. There were also some small dirt/dust particles in a couple areas behind the outer glass. I really wanted to like the 42X1 but had a hard time with several of the shortcomings mentioned above.

So, for comparison, I ordered the Samsung PN42B450 plasma (similar in size and price to the Panasonic). Once I got the unit set up at home, I set both the 42X1 and 42B450 side-by-side in our living room and did a comparison test, making tweaks to both units, as needed. Both TV's looked good but the clear advantage was with the Samsung in overall color fidelity, contrast, and fine detail. The wealth of picture controls on the Samsung menu makes it very easy to calibrate the black level, gamma, white balance, etc. -adjustments that cannot be made on the Panasonic user menu. The Samsung could be easily adjusted to match the black level of the Panasonic, as well. As a matter of fact, after running several calibration test patterns for contrast and brightness, I found that the Panasonic could not display the dark gray patterns on my test disc no matter how much I adjusted the brightness and contrast adjustments. The Samsung had no such problem.

Overall, I came to appreciate that Samsung allows the user so many different adjustments to suit individual taste. In addition, careful inspection of the Samsung's plasma screen revealed no defective pixels. The Samsung also had no problem with displaying bright images on dark backgrounds and suffered none of the resultant "flickering" problems that were easily seen on the Panasonic. The only vices on the Samsung so far appears to be its somewhat wobbly stand (a minor drawback since the stand also allows the TV to rotate to suit the viewing position) and the fact that the plastic bezel surrounding the screen makes crackling noises as the TV warms up. (UPDATE 2/25/10: I exchanged my first 42B450 for a second unit and the second one makes absolutely no crackling noises whatsoever. Based on my research, I believe that a brief production run of the Samsungs were built in late 2009/early 2010 with some "noisy" plastic bezels. Most people do not appear to have this problem.)


PICTURE: Samsung wins this easily by virtue of its excellent color fidelity, contrast, and wealth of user adjustments. Both the Samsung and Panasonic achieve good black levels.

SOUND: Both have adequate down-firing speakers that are ok for casual listening.

MENU: Samsung's menu system is extensive. Panasonic's menu is very basic.

FRONT CONTROLS: Samsung has attractive, touch-sensitive controls on the front of the bezel where they are easy to see and access. Panasonic's controls are located on the side behind the tv and can be difficult to see.

REMOTE CONTROL: Both are adequate but Samsung's is more stylish on the coffee table.

INPUTS: Both units have similar quantities of HDMI and Component inputs. Samsung has a VGA connector input for PC; Panasonic has an S-Video input but no PC connection. Panasonic has an SD Card reader for easy photo viewing. The rear of the Samsung includes a built-in cable tie to bundle the wiring.

STYLE AND APPEARANCE: The Samsung has a more attractive bezel with dark red accents. Panasonic's bezel is all black with a bright silver strip running along the bottom edge. Overall, the Samsung unit is thinner than the Panasonic.

BUILD QUALITY: Both units have good construction and all-metal back panels. The Panasonic's base is remarkably sturdy and feels adequate to prevent the unit from tipping over. The Samsung's base rotates to allow different viewing angles but this results in a more wobbly base. Some Samsungs built in late 2009/early 2010 may have "noisy" plastic bezels that crackle and pop as the unit warms up. My first 42B450 had this problem and so I exchanged it for a second unit -the second one is perfect and makes no noises at all.

QUALITY CONTROL: The Panasonic unit I tested had a dozen or more red and blue pixels that were brighter than the rest. This could only be seen up close to the screen. There were also two locations where dirt/dust was trapped behind the front panel glass. On the other hand, the Samsung unit had no pixel defects or trapped dirt/dust. Both TVs are built and assembled in Mexico.

Overall, I'm very happy with the performance and features of the Samsung PN42B450. Every HD show looks fantastic and the Winter Olympics have never looked better. I was originally set on the Panasonic P42X1 but quickly found several performance shortcomings (poor color, brightness fluctuations, and pixel defects in my sample) that made me return it and switch to the Samsung. I own several Samsung products and they've consistently delivered high-style, excellent features, and good reliability. As usual, Amazon's price was excellent and their delivery service was prompt --only three days from order to delivery at my house.

The Samsung PN42B450 is an excellent value all-around.
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on May 11, 2009
Last Saturday, May 8, I stopped the shopping and took the plunge, purchasing this great plasma tv---for $699 at BB!!!!!! Can you believe that price for a plasma tv of this caliber!!?? It is my third flat panel tv (the others are a JVC 37" LCD and a Sony 42" DLP/LCD, one in the family room and one in the basement)and I like this plasma best of all. The colors are great, the remote is set up logically and the on-screen menu is easy to use. Recently, I had a new floor to ceiling bookcase built and needed a 42" tv to put in the tv cave, so I've been looking for 42 inch-ers and found that 42 inch seems to be a less popular size, so I am glad I found this tv. I was looking for an LCD and just happened to stumble on this tv while shopping online. I then checked it out at BB where it was on sale for $700, $100 more than the BB online price I found. I informed the BB salesperson of the better BB online price and the store matched the BB online price. So, by shopping online and then speaking up, I saved myself $100. Wow! Unless the thing konks out on me (which I doubt it will) I am well pleased with this set. It worked properly right out of the box with the initial set up program guiding me along. I've been watching it for three days now and all systems are GO. Get one!!!!
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on May 25, 2009
I've had the same 27 inch CRT since I was in college. When I bought it, it was a huge set up from the 19 inch that I grew up with.

However, ten years later, women would literally come to my apartment, point at the TV and laugh.

Figured it was timed to make the next step up. I brought the plasma and later a PS3. Watched "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and I'm sold.

The axiom is that 720p is indistinguishable from 1080p on screens smaller than 50 inchs. My experience bares this out. Connect this TV to a HD source, adjust the levels under the "Standard" preset, and u won't be anything but amazed.

I went with plasma over LCD because plasma TVs handle motion much better. LCD is hindered by a signicantly lower refresh rate that gives the most this weird 3D quality that i always thought was disturbing.

For action movies, video games, and sports... plasma is the way to go.

I also play GTA4 on this set, and it handle the motion beautifullly.

If you are on the fence with HDTV, this is a great, great start. Enjoy yourself :)
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on October 30, 2009
It seems almost pointless to add my 2 cents to all the positive reviews for this Samsung, so I will be brief. I have owned several HDTV's both LCD and plasma. Panasonic, LG, Olevia, JVC, Sony and Samsung. LCD TV's have their advantages (no glare & less power consumption) however plasma TV rendering of colors & contrast simply outmatch any LCD I've seen. In my opinion, these are the most important factors in picture quality. All of my LCD's including the LG 120hz I owned had comic book colors and severe ghosting / image blurring. It was very annoying, so much so that I finally sold them all! Regarding the Panasonic S1 Series 1080p 42" Plasma. Although the Panasonic had a good picture, this Samsung has an overall BETTER picture with more features. Yes, the Samsung is 720p (and thus should provide a less detailed picture) but even when viewing 1080p blu ray movies, its picture is superior. At a viewing distance of 10ft, my eyes simply cannot see any measurable loss in image detail when compared to the 1080p Panasonic. However, where this Samsung really excels is in its more fluid, clean images with more realistic but brilliant colors. NO background noise, NO problem with red & greens, (both of which the Panasonic suffers) a better ability to handle SD broadcast AND a brilliant & accurate HD picture. Also, unlike the Panasonic, this Samsung has a VGA input, analog audio output jacks and a far more intuitive program menu. More importantly the Samsung has a wider range of picture controls including gamma, white level, flesh level, film mode, 3 levels of dark or dynamic contrast and various other settings which cannot be adjusted on the Panasonic. There is much more that goes into a TV than numbers on a paper. Specs often tell very little about picture quality. Just look at the low end brands with their high specs and abysmal picture don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure this out! The panel and picture processing are vital to achieve quality images. All I can say is that with proper set up, this Samsung's picture quality is stunning...and for less than $600 its a steal.
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on June 11, 2009
After over a year of researching, I finally pulled the trigger and got this TV and I am extremely happy with it!

The picture on this TV looks amazing. Blacks are really black and not bright grey/black like you see on LCDs. Since the TV is a 42 inch, there really is no reason to go with a 1080p. 1080p is not noticeable with TVs 50 inches or less. Some people say they can notice the difference, but if you look at side by side comparisons (CNET did one) with 720p and 1080p on TVs this size the clarity difference is virtually non-existent.

When I compared this side by side with similar sized LCDs, the difference was night and day. Shadows look realistic and not washed out. Blu-ray looks ultra crisp and the images pop out at you. Also the advantage plasmas have with regard to viewing angle is a huge plus (meaning if you look at the TV from any angle other than straight on, plasmas still look great whereas LCDs become bright and almost unwatchable).

The people at Best Buy told me plasmas would be susceptible to burn-in (permanent screen "ghosting"). They're wrong. This hasn't been the case for almost 4 years with plasma technology.

And best of all...THE PRICE. I still can't believe the price. I did EXHAUSTIVE research and decided on this TV and I couldn't be happier.
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