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on July 12, 2011
I was in the market to upgrade from a 37" LCD and after much deliberation, soul searching, and navel gazing I decided that the PN51D550's size and features were too good to pass up. I'm not really a 3D kinda guy but I have two young kids so the inclusion of that particular bell and whistle was non-negotiable. Considering that Amazon had it for around $950.00 including shipping, well that was just too good to pass up. Log into the account, whip out the credit card, light a novena candle to ensure safe shipping and hope for the best (and it shipped just fine.)

So far I've had this machine for about a week and I must say I've been relieved and ecstatic at my decision. I'm about fifty hours into breaking in the thing (I know, I know, unnecessary perhaps but I'd much rather err on the side of caution) and it's been a love affair from the get go. Like most HDTV's, watching stuff in standard def isn't pretty but it's passable. The real beauty comes when watching stuff in HD, when everything just comes alive. Blacks are inky, reds are redder than Lenin, and the images are clean enough to eat off of. If you've ever wanted to count the lines on Gordon Ramsay's face you've come to the right TV.

Because I'm still doing break in, I haven't watched any BluRays on it yet, but I'll edit my review once I get around to doing that. I also can't comment on the TV's native audio quality because I have this hooked up to a receiver, which I'd highly recommend for anyone in the market for one of these. These sets were made to be complemented by 5.1, 7.1, or 7.2 channel systems. If you are planning on doing the receiver thing, just remember that this particular model does NOT support the ARC function so you'll need an optical audio cable as well as an HDMI cable when hooking up.

EDIT, 7/16: After sheepishly remembering that BluRays with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio won't show black bars I tested out a few and the results were mesmerizing. The blacks on THE DARK KNIGHT were obsidian, as they were on TRON:LEGACY but alternately the vivid whites, oranges, reds, and yellows on that film were exceptionally vivid and incandescent. I also played a few laps of GRAN TURISMO through a PS3 and it was an out of body experience. It was like the textbook definition of every color being displayed, and with no visible lag whatsoever. Astonishing. I'm coming close to the 100 hour point and I can't wait to check out 2.35:1 stuff.

I don't believe in giving out calibration settings because I believe that no two TVs, and more crucially, no two TV owners are going to see the exact same thing the exact same way but I will say that once you put the PN51D550 in Movie mode about 95% of the calibration is done, at least to my peepers.

Regarding issues of buzzing, I've haven't heard any emanating from my set. I keep the set's volume at zero and let my receiver handle the audio but even when I have to rely on the set's native audio (like when I play the Wii) I hear no buzzing. Either I'm one of the lucky ones or my hearing is even worse than I thought it was.

Another issue I've read about the PN series revolve around brightness pops, or fluctuations, that occur, especially when watching darker scenes. I have noticed these on occasion but they tend not to bother me. You have to have a sharp eye to notice them for they usually last for a split second before the set self corrects. When watching movies famous for their dark cinematography, like THE DARK KNIGHT or BLADE RUNNER, I've noticed maybe five or six brightness pops each viewing. Not nearly enough to bother me nor to inspire a brightness pops drinking game.

As for glare, yeah, it's there. You might want to consider in advance where you're going to place this baby because in the middle of a sunny day with the blinds and drapes open this thing does a killer impression of a mirror. I've found though that when I sit off to the side a bit (and this TV has an amazing viewing range, like most plasmas) the glare is much less noticeable. When you're viewing at night and don't want to sit in complete darkness, consider placing your lamps either to the side or slightly behind the set to avoid or reduce glare.

All told, I can't think of another major name brand TV that brings together the best combination of size, features, and quality for under $1,000. At this (admittedly early) stage, I can honestly say that this is the best TV I've ever had the pleasure of owning.

SON OF EDIT, 9/15: After two and a half months, I'm still smitten. A couple more thoughts to share:

1. I cannot stress enough the importance of a break in period so all those cute little plasmites can burn evenly. I was watching the special features on the TAXI DRIVER blu ray when I stupidly fell asleep during one of the Scorcese interviews (you know you're REALLY tired if you can fall asleep to him talking.) Of course after the interview ends, the disc goes back to the main menu which has bright yellow cursive graphics all over the place. Two hours later I woke up, ejected the disc, turned off the PS3, and found some faint burn in on the blank, black screen. After smacking my forehead in self punishment, I immediately turned on an HD movie channel and let THE RING run for about five minutes. When I turned the box off to check on the screen, voila!, burn in gone. A little preparation goes a long way.

2. SD content looks a bit better now, though it's obviously no match for blu rays or 720p, or those rare 1080p, broadcasts. Watching stuff on channels like Antenna TV or TV Land is a lot less messier than it was when the TV was right out of the box. If have streaming services like Netflix or Hulu+ the quality varies. Newer content, especially on Hulu+ looks and sounds outstanding, but older, grainier Netflix content looks appropriately disastrous. Well mastered DVDs played through a PS3 look terrific.

I'm still insanely happy with this set. Not for nothing do I refer to it as The Third Child.
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on April 19, 2011
I picked up the Samsung 51" D550 from Sears on the 12th. I'd only discovered the TV online a couple hours before buying it. Always wanted a Samsung and once I saw it in the store, I was sold. Had to have it.
Received a pair [2] of Samsung's new 3100 3D glasses. [Will write a separate review for those.] Beware, this TV is HUGE. I swear, it didn't look this big in the store.

Picture Quality is outstanding. Break-in isn't necessary. I ran slides for a day before using the TV regularly. No IR at all. Blacks are deep and rich, Colors are rich and life-like. I haven't had it professionally calibrated, just using settings I've found on the AVS forum and tweaking them to my likes.
Settings are very, very customizable. SD programs are good. Soft at times but very watchable. Of course, HD/Blu-Ray/DVD content is out of this world. Audio is surprisingly excellent. Very clear and loud. I rarely go up above 11.

Also no buzzing. I heard a slight noise when I set the picture settings to Dynamic but it isn't an issue since I won't be using. [That setting is too bright and saturated for my tastes.]

3D is also great. I don't really have much experience in this area since this is my first 3D TV. There was no ghosting, trailing, or halo-effect. Same for the 2D to 3D conversion. I watched Avatar converted and the actual Tron: Legacy 3D blu-ray and both films look great.

For anyone who loves the "Soap Opera" effect, Cinema Smooth works great. I love the effect so I've left it on.

Overall, it's a great TV. Very happy with the purchase it. Great plasma. Lush colors, Deep Blacks, 3D, and great SD/HD quality.
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on May 27, 2011
After doing extensive research, my wife and I decided on this TV. For under $1k, it was one of the cheapest 3D plasma on the market from a reputtable company. It also has cheaper 3D glasses as well compare to others. While most 3D glasses costs around $150 per pair, it was only $50 per pair for this Samsung from Amazon or other retailers. We have watched regular 2D movies to 3D and everything is great! It even does a great job of converting regular 2D movies/shows into 3D. I could not have asked for a better TV at this price.

One feature that I really love about this TV is that it has an anti-burn program which prevents burn in. I did not know that this TV had this feature until after I bought it which is big plus since I sometimes play a little video game with the PS3. Another really nice feature is that it will automatically detect when you have a 3D signal and change the screen to the 3D setting. It will also send a signal to the glasses allowing them to be turned on. In fact the feature is so great that you will not even be able to turn on the glasses until a 3D signal is available. A very good feature with the 3D glasses for this TV is that it will automatically shut off after 30 seconds of not receiving a 3D signal so you do not run the battery down. The TV will also convert 3D to 2D if you get tired of 3D viewing.

My only warning is that if you will be putting the TV in a room with a lot of light, you will get a lot of glare due to the glass screen. For a brighter room, you may/will want to go with an LCD. If you are planning for using it in a dark room, this TV will knock your socks off. The colors are some much more vibrant compare to an LCD with the same signal and resolution. I have an LG LCD 1080P which has a great picture but this plasma blows it away with how rich and vibrant the colors are.

Things to remember if you are planning on watching 3D Blu-Ray movies with this TV:
-3D capable Blu-Ray player like a PS3
-HDMI cable (go with the best you can afford that can send 3D signals/data)
-3D glasses (you will need one pair per person)
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on May 30, 2011
My last TV was a 56" Panasonic LCD RP . Good set, but wanted to try 3D and a highly regarded plasma. The only thing negative about this set is glare can be a problem. I realised this could be the case and took a chance. Is it intolerable? Not really. I just thought it might not be very noticeable. The picture otherwise is so darn incredible I will learn to live with it and frankly am starting to get use to it, which means obviously it's not that bad. There is a adjustment period coming from a bright flashy LCD to a plasma. At first you might not appreciate the quality of the picture this set produces. There is also a significant improvement in the picture with break in. Would I exchange it for a quality LCD now that I have had some time with it? You would have to pry the remote out of my cold dead hands. 3D performance is incredible. Glasses can be bought from Amazon.com for less than $50.00 a pair and are light weight and reasonably comfortable. The range of these Blue tooth glasses is over 25' in my environment and ghosting so far has been a no show. The 2D-3D up conversion is pretty darn good most of the time and is definitely not a gimmick. The buying experience with Amazon and Electronics Expo was outstanding. No glare and the set would be perfect, but it's close enough for me.
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on April 26, 2011
Pros: Bang for the buck! Does what it is supposed to do. BIG, good sound, great 3D, comes with two pairs of glasses, great picture adjustment controls, attractive dark glass bezel as opposed to cheap plastic, light weight, etc...

Cons: Screen glare, may not be suitable for some extreme sun mounting locations. Acceptable in my bright two story living room and west facing wall.

Bought a mid-grade LED for $2,100. Sure the picture had more "pop" but even after making all the adjustments; athletes running (esp baseball players running in the outfield) had a haze around them, even a little off center viewing turned blacks into grays, had to turn off the 240Mhz due to jutter, did not include 3D glasses, etc. All unacceptable for a TV over $2k. This mid grade plasma was $1,600 at Best Buy and included 2 pairs of glasses and blows away the equivalent grade LED. You will not be disappointed. Awesome for sports. Even the wife loves this TV!

6 Month Follow-up= ZERO complaints or regrets. No buzz, no-break-in required, nothing but pleasure and quality straight out of the box.

One year follow-up= still ZERO complaints or regrets. Life is good!
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on April 5, 2011
This is a review for my Samsung PN59D550, and let me say, that I LOVE this TV. Hands down, best TV that I have seen at any home (media room) and it's all mine! Yes, I'm sure that you could spend twice as much and get the Samsung 8000 series and be more impressed, but unless you are a pro, you'll never notice the difference without the 2 TV's side by side.

I brought it home and hooked it up to HDMI feed through my PS3, and started to put on different material to test it out. Tried "Dark Knight", and "UP" and the colors on this thing are outstanding. Blacks are extremely good as well. I was always so used to my LCD's that I didn't really know how good plasma's blacks can get. I do have a dedicated media room though with blacked out windows, so take that into consideration. Also I played a little Uncharted 2 for the PS3, and almost brought a tear to my eye......

This thing is the best TV that I have ever owned. I have owned 2 DLP's, a few LCD's, and some of the old Sony Bravia CRT's. All of which I paid almost double what this TV cost me. Funny how electronics seem to get cheaper and better each year?

The only thing that buyers should be aware of is that this has a pretty reflective screen. This could be a problem in a bright room, but since I have a dark room, I prefer the glossy glass.

I was able to tweak the settings a little bit, and it only gets better. I have not experienced anything that others have mentioned about "floating blacks", pixelation, or contrast and brightness pops. I have only had it for a day though. I am currently breaking in the set with the color palettes from AVS forum, and will then do an AVIA calibration. I have noticed that on the color palettes that show up, that my screen is completely uniform (no bright, dark, or odd colors), which is something that I cannot say for both of my LCD's. I may do an update to this opinion/review later, but right now, I could almost just leave it on Standard out of the box and be pleased.

I was considering both the Panasonic 55ST30 and the LG 60PZ550, and after deliberating and researching for over 2 weeks, I went with the Samsung. I was not able to compare the Panasonic ST30 and this TV side by side, but when I was able to find it in store, it seemed that the Panny was not as colorful, or as sharp as this one. I always turn the sets to Cinema to compare as the settings are horrible when using Dynamic, or Vivid settings. Panasonic past plasmas and in-store reps kept pushing me towards the Panasonic, but I just couldn't convince myself that it was better than the Samsung D550. Maybe if the Panasonic were the same size, and came with glasses then it would have been a tougher decision, but happy I went with the Samsung. The LG just seemed inferior to the other 2 every time I looked. I was trying to convince myself to go with LG because it was cheaper, larger, came with 2 glasses, and I think internet apps, but the picture quality just wasn't there for me. I think it had a better Anti-Reflective screen than the Samsung, but that was about it. Colors didn't POP, and when watching some HD content, noticed that blacks and other dark scenes were grainy. The Samsung came with 2 free glasses, and although I think 3D is kinda cheesy, why not get $300 worth of glasses that you can use if you want.

All together, I think the Samsung PN59D550 was a great purchase. Great color POP, good blacks, really good in a dark room, and so far no issues.
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on July 10, 2011
I waited a few weeks to write this review until I had a chance to really sit and enjoy it for a while. I absolutely love this TV!! This is the 2nd Samsung TV I have bought off Amazon and I would most certainly buy another 1! I upgraded to the 3D TV from a Samsung LN46A650 LCD which I loved but I was itching to get on the 3D scene not only because of the movies, but also all of the new 3D games that are coming out. Let me just say I have not been disappointed one bit! This plasma was very rich and has deep colors! It's much more saturated then my LCD, and you can tell the black levels are much fuller. I know this is the base model but after much research I found this to be the best panel for dollar! I have tweaked it to my liking and calibrated it for my viewing area. I was very impressed with how clear the picture has been since getting it tuned in. I tend to play a lot of video games and watch a lot of movies, so I've had my eye on it for quite some time just waiting to pull the trigger. I would honestly say if it has any downfalls it's clearly the screen glare. I noticed it right away having it set up facing in from my 2 large windows, still the lights hanging behind, on the walls, and the window in the back were leaving a bad reflection. Needless to say I was at home depot the very next day getting the supplies needed to put up new black out curtains, and shades! After a few hours of hanging new shades I can honestly say this was worth every cent! I have a few friends who have DLP TV's and I think the 3D is hands down better on this Plasma. I haven't been able to compare it to a LED LCD, but in my opinion the 3D games look crisp and deep, not to disappoint. The Samsung 3D active glasses synced up seamlessly, and I now own 7 pairs of the 3100's (thanks to the price drop and amazon, yes!) I had a party for the 4th of July and we watched Tangled 3D all the kids kept trying to go up and touch the screen as it looked like everything was really coming right at you. Its easily the best 3D movie I have seen so far. I also have to mention the shipping went flawless as well. I had heard a lot of horror stories about certain trucking companies but both of my TV's were delivered on schedule with tracking information and courtesy call on time to set up my appointments. Both were nailed right on time and both my TV's worked with no problems. I guess I consider myself lucky, but I feel that is worth mentioning as well. The TV is large and I have a 8-10 feet viewing area, it's big but not to big so don't be afraid to go with this TV if you live in a small apartment or town house. It was a little awkward trying to get it out of the box, it's not heavy but its so long it takes 2 people to take it out without fear of damaging it. There is also a stand assembly that requires 2 people, it didn't take long, but again you will need help if you don't want to risk dropping it while getting it on (if you don't plan on mounting it on the wall). I was a bit scared to buy a plasma because of all the "burn in" and "ghosting" imaging you hear about, but I have been using the playstation visualizer to break it in and get it about 150+ hours of viewing, and I have had no problems with it. I'm being a little cautions as there is still warnings in the manual not to exceed 5% of viewing time per week on static images (logo bugs, scrolling scores, video game life meters, etc) so I've been mindful of those, it's also recommended you not let it exceed 20 min at a time with black bars, etc, which I haven't had a problem with playing everything full screen. So far no problems another reason I waited to write this review, it does have some built in features such as pixel shifting and auto scrolling to help you which are nice. All in all I've been very impressed and super happy with my purchase I can't wait for my 3D channels!
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on August 17, 2011
I've actually had this TV for a couple of months now, but took me some time to unmount my old 47" LCD and remount this TV. While on the floor, I loved the TV, but knew it wasn't near any windows so glare wasn't an issue. Picture was beautiful next to my 40" Samsung LED. In fact, in many ways I liked the plasma better than the LED due to a few strange 'qualities' of the LCD/LED despite the 240Hz. I would know more once I got it hanging in my loft where it would be surrounded by several windows.

Well, I finally got it mounted and the glare isn't even noticeable to me. I've got it tilted just a little so maybe the fact that I don't see the windows reflecting is making the difference. My old LCD had the same or worse glare than this plasma. I spent an hour watching "Sharks 3D" and it was spectacular. My daughter was constantly reaching out trying to touch the sharks and jellyfish which seemed to be right in our faces. I also watched some live baseball and amazed to see that ball coming out of the pitchers hand without any traces like I would see on my LED TV. BTW that 40" LED TV cost more than this 59" plasma just one year later.

Later at night, I was watching some DirecTV HD channels and blown away by the quality of the picture in the pitch dark room. I didn't want to go to bed as I was enjoying this TV so much. This is by far the best purchase I've ever made. This is my 3rd plasma and far better than 3 LCD's and 1 LED TV I've gone through.
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on June 5, 2011
My first Plasma TV and far superior picture quality, (1080i), compared to my 4 year old Panasonic and Sony LCDs. As I've read in professional reviews, the blacks are deeper and not mushy.

The 2D-3D conversion is not just a gimmick and gives a good 3D experience, not like at the movies "Avatar" but entertaining itself. Very cool watching a pro golf match in 3D. However when watching in 3D I found it necessary to switch from "movie" picture mode to a brighter mode as the glasses tend to dim the picture. I have not watched a broadcast 3D program or 3D DVD on this TV. The blue-tooth 3D glasses I purchased (SSG-3100GB) are comfortable and easy to operate.

I purchased separately the USB Wi-Fi connector and have shared pictures from Laptop to TV with no difficulty using the free Samsung PC Share software. Have not tried sharing video or music yet.

All in all, a superior performing , aesthetically pleasing TV.
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on May 19, 2011
We've always been partial to Samsung plasmas and this one definitely delivers! There is nothing to dislike about this TV. I calibrated the TV based on very helpful posts on the avsforum website. A common complaint on the forum about this TV is the glare. Since we have it in a room with blinds, it isn't a problem at all; besides I didn't really want to spend more money for the higher end Samsung plasmas that have much lower glare factor. I have to say that we don't notice the glare at all in this particular room. If you will have direct sunlight on the TV, you may want to do more research. Delivery was earlier than expected and the local shipper contracted by Pilot was awesome. He brought in the TV to our room of choice, removed the packaging and made sure the TV worked. He offered to take the packaging but we opted to keep it just in case we might return it. Well, this gorgeous-looking TV with excellent picture quality and sound isn't going anywhere!
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