on August 29, 2013
Our old LCD bit it, so I was left looking for another TV but not wanting to break the bank. After doing a lot of research on LCDTVbuyingguide.com, plasmatvbuyingguide.com, cnet.com, and most importantly thewirecutter.com, I arrived at the PN43F4500.
My needs are as follows:
- MUST fit into existing armoire (41" of width)
- MUST look good in both a dimly lit room and with light, as we have a 2-year-old and do watch TV during the day/weekend
- MUST work well (response time) with the XBox for video games
This set exceeds all of these needs and more. After a little calibrating, it looks fantastic and the response time is even better than my Samsung LCD was (kicked some serious @$$ in Halo last night.)
My minor gripes:
- Only 2 HDMI ports and both are located on side edge instead of the rear panel.
- ONLY optical audio out, so I can't run it into our old AIWA stereo w/RCA like we were before (although a converter can be purchased for ~$16).
- Panel is pretty reflective (versus a matte finish), so if you have windows behind your seating, this might be an issue.
This new set is great, and I would recommend it to anyone (BTW, I snagged it for $378, by price-matching a few brick-and-mortar stores against one another, so keep an eye out for deals.)
As I couldn't find calibration settings for this specific model, I used CNET's professional settings from the 2012 51" model (PN51E450), and it looks great, so I'll pass those along now:
Cell light: 14
--SUBMENU: ADVANCED SETTINGS
Color space: Native/Default setting
Dynamic Contrast: Off
Black Tone: Off
Flesh tone: 0
Motion Lighting: Off
--SUBMENU: WHITE BALANCE
--SUBMENU: PICTURE OPTIONS
Color tone: Warm2
HDMI black level: Normal
Film mode: Off
Screen Burn protection [default values]
on March 14, 2013
I did all the research. Read pretty much the whole cnet site. Read the excellent wirecutter.com. Every single word written about tv's lately says plasmas have better picture quality, dollar for dollar. Every single review says at 42" the 720 resolution is fine.
So, ok, I decided I wanted a budget plasma, I don't need any 'smart' features, and don't think 3D is worth my time yet. The 2012 Samsung PN43E450 kept coming up as a good value. I also considered the Panasonic line, particularly the TC-P50U50. Also considered a low featured good value TV. Picture quality is my main concern. It is a TV after all.
So I set about finding the Samsung in stock locally so I could check it out. Went to BestBuy, Walmart, Sears, and Target. Yeah, I know, I am crazy. And I am a person that loathes big box stores. Anyway, I finally found myself at a BestBuy that had the old Samsung, the Panasonic, AND this one. This one made me nervous because there are simply zero reviews out there for it. So doing a little snooping about and I think this is simply just the 2013 version of the PN43E450.
So standing there in store with all these TV's blasting all around is a serious mind game. The plasmas look dull compared to the LED's, the 42" looks small compared to the 50's, and the 720 looks pixelated compare to the 1080p's. Look the salesmen say as they put their faces a foot from the screen, you can see the pixels on the 720 vs 1080. Stand back and the LEDs are glowing like beacons in the dark. How is one supposed to choose the cheap ass plasma over the other more expensive choices?
Finally, after agonizing over a stupid TV for way too long, my budget conscious brain won. Maybe the first time ever, but it did. I bought the cheap, dull, small one.
Holy Sh--! This TV is amazing! Set it up in my living room and it feels absolutely gigantic, the picture is gorgeous, and it is plenty bright enough. Yes, I know, the other TVs are bigger, better, and with more features. I will eventually get used to the size and will probably want bigger, and dropping $1000-$2000 will get me a super duper TV (hear me Apple?) but the point is, that this is simply an excellent TV when judged on its own merits. 400 bucks and you have got a damn good TV.
on April 15, 2013
- For $400 the colors and black levels are fantastic
- The physical controller and TV menu is easy to navigate, you get a good amount of options to calibrate the TV for sub $500. (People don't think about this but I think its important. Play with any of sharps TV's or some cheapo off brand in walmart/sears and you'll understand)
- 720p good in a sense because most TV programming doesn't even broadcast 1080p, pretty much all xbox360 games are 720p, PS3 games on the otherhand are all over the board.
- Sound quality is good for a built in TV, especially if you're just watching standard programming on TV where you want to hear voices and people talking clearly.
- Glass panel = bad in day light/bright lights
- The reds looks funny to me (Might be a matter of calibration or could just be a $400 dollar TV or my TV just hates me)
- 720p means all your 1080p get compressed which means you get artifacting (but its not horrible on this TV, you really have to be paying attention to see it)
- No Smart stuff/networking/twitbookspacepandoraflixinstantawesomeapp)
- Being a plasma it has the potential to burn in
- I gave this TV 4 stars because the blacks and gray levels could be better for a plasma.
This TV surprised me for $400 dollars, it really did. If you only want a sub $500 dollar TV this will blow away every LCD/LED in its price range, even twice its price but only if you're watching it in a relatively dark room. Being a inexpensive TV its not going to have fun things like smart apps, networking etc but I personally could care less because more often than not, you'll be picking up some sort of BluRay player that has it built in anyways or if you're really desparate, a computer can do the exact same job + some if you have the right connections. If you have extra cash to burn, you can really step up your viewing experience with at least a Panasonic S60 or if you want that 3D get a Panasonic ST60 which I think give the best value for your dollar depending if you want the 3D or no 3D. At the end of the day, this TV is very competitive in the sub $500 dollar market, I think its very much on par with Panasonic and LG's offerings. I think it edges out their offerings with color quality by a small margin. The black levels between these TV's are very similar to the naked eye.
Not worth hiring a professional seeing as it would cost almost as much as the TV but has enough settings that its worth finding a buddy with one of them DIY calibration videos.
I've been watching this in my living room (Heavily recommend picking up a dimmer switch for the room you have it in, watching movies in complete darkness hurts my eyes, I have mine at around 15-25%). I used Dark Knight, Transformers 2 and Finding Neemo via a PS3. I only eyeballed this but I've seen all those movies on calibrated ZT50's, the good ole Pioneer Kuro 111 as well as a variety of LCDs and LED backlit LCDs from samsung, sony, LG, sharp etc so I have a general idea as to how those movies should look.
This calibration isn't perfect by any means, I think the blacks and gray levels are as good as they will be with this calibration but I still don't enjoy the colors inparticular the skin tones and reds. People look sunburnt or real pale. Play with the skin tone setting and let me know if you find something better but I opted for a bit more color(saturation) and less on the skin tone fader for now. I've found that bumping up the flesh tones makes people look too red and not natural. I have yet to play with the 10 point white balance but I think that is beyond my ability to judge with just an eye.
You can turn off the filters and all that other crap in the Picture Options unless you're inputting some low quality comppressed signal in there like netflix or some other hardcore compressed signal but I much personally prefer it off or low. I don't think they all that much to the viewing experience but that is a matter of opinion.
BluRay via PS3 (at night) on Movie Mode
Picture: Movie, Cell: 14, Contrast: 88, Brightness:43, Sharpness: 10, Color: 57 G/R: 52/48
Dynamic Contrast: Off, Black Tone: Off, Flesh: 0, RGB: off, Color: Auto, Gamma: +0
Color Tone: Warm 2 everything else off
Netflix/Amazon Instant via PS3 (during the day) on Standard
Picture: Standard, Cell: 18, Contrast: 96, Brightness 48, Sharpness: 10, Color: 68 G/R: 52/48
Dynamic Contrast: Off, Black Tone: Off, Flesh: 0, RGB: off, Color: Auto, Gamma: +1
Color Tone Warm 2, everything off or low (your choice)
Edit: I hated the skin tones and colors but after letting the TV break in, the colors look mostly good to my eyes. I'm sure a meter would say differently but I'm happy with it for the price I paid.
on October 7, 2013
I just picked this set up at Best Buy for my mother at $400 -- and its simply amazing. Consumer Reports gave this TV the only best buy rating for this size category. The guy at Best Buy was beside himself that we were getting this set...were we aware that it will only work in a dark room (it will work in any lighted room, just adjust the picture to their Vivid setting)...and were we aware of the issue with "dead pixels" (all these pixels are working fine)...and did we want to get their extended warranty(thanks but no thanks, Samsung quality is fine,and if we want to get it, it will be with Square Trade). The other thing I will say is that it appears they (the Best Buy store) intentionally dimmed this TV so it would not look as good as the more expensive TV's. A cheap trick, but probably works a great deal of the time.
>>What I am really aware of is that I did not want to spend double the money when all my mother wanted was a TV with a great HD...and its true, the 720 here is better than most TVs 1080...and I am watching sports right now...Plasma can not be beat for fast motion tracking.
Set up was a breeze, and it has an amazing picture -- and while not great, the sound quality is fine as well, and the remote is clear and easy to use.
The One Negative -- it does not have a matte/low contrast screen so any lighting from outside or related can diminish the screen quality.
on January 30, 2014
Bought this a month and a week ago. honeymoon period was sexy and fun.
Then Sunday night happened. I was pumped. I had True Detective, Girls and Downton all ready to go. At around 5 pm that night (the tv orgy starts at 9), a thin, flickering line magically appeared a couple inches from the bottom of the screen. I didn't panic though. It was a tiny line, not that distracting. I knew this was something that I could live with until a replacement/technician solved this small problem.
Thirty minutes later the line grew to a perfectly shaped white rectangle that occupied the bottom quarter of the screen. This destroyed my Sunday night and now I have to guess the score when I watch basketball. A technician from Samsung is coming in tomorrow (5 days later) to look at it. I'm predicting that we'll have to send it back to be replaced.
I've had the tv for barely 6 weeks. this sucks. I literally drew the short straw of televisions. It makes me sick just to think about, but I'm hoping that getting it off my chest will help ease the frustration. I hope the people at Samsung know that this has been one of the longest weeks of my life.
today, 1/31, Samsung sent their technician, Jose, to fix the tv. Jose not only fixed the problem, but set up picture settings and my remote so everything is now better than before the problem. TV looks great. This one goes out to Jose for saving my life.
I bought the Samsung PN43F4500 43" Plasma HDTV on an impulse to replace an old smaller LCD HDTV in my basement. I had seen the TV in my local "brick and mortar" store and was very impressed with the picture quality, especially for the price. When I got it home and set it up, I was equally impressed. The is a new 2013 model. The TV is as thin as an LCD, weighs about 35lbs, and is Energy Star Certified. Gone are the enormous power requirements, and thickness of the early Plasmas. Out of the box, the only assembly was attaching the stand with 8 screws. I attached my HDMI cable, answered a a quick initial setup question, and I up and running in under 10 minutes. The default picture settings definitely needed some calibration. Everything was "warm" and saturated. With a little tweaking, I got the picture looking great in a few minutes. I'm sure as time goes on, I may adjust it even more. Being an entry level Plasma HDTV, there aren't quite as many black level settings, etc. in the menu. But you can adjust it somewhat, along with the usual color tones, etc. As with almost all Plasmas, the black level and viewing angles are excellent. The sound quality from the built in speakers is nothing special, but acceptable. I checked the firmware version my TV came with, and it was version 10.03. On the Samsung website, there is a a newer version 10.10. I downloaded it to a USB drive and updated. It only took a minute or two. There is no changelog, so I have no idea what it fixes/changes. While on the site if you register the TV online, Samsung will extend your warranty 3 extra months.
Now on to the Cons if you're planning on buying this TV. The Samsung PN43F4500 is as basic as you can get. There is no 3D, no "Smart TV", the resolution is 720p not 1080p, and most importantly, you only get a couple of inputs. You have 2 HDMI, and 1 component input. That's it. If you're looking to hook up a bunch of video players and games etc., this probably isn't the HDTV for you. If you're just looking for a nice inexpensive HDTV for the basement or bedroom, then it's perfect.
All in all, this was the perfect HDTV for my basement. It costs very little, and has a great picture.
Latest Plasma technology.
Very good picture quality.
Excellent viewing angles.
Thin and lightweight.
Very limited inputs.
No extra features.
Not full 1080p HD.
Screen suffers from glare in very bright lighting.
Not as bright as other technologies.
Precautions must be taken to prevent "burn-in".
Edit: One other note. I've seen recommendations that for the first 100-200 hours of use on a new Plasma HDTV, that you lower the contrast, and take extra precautions to prevent image retention and burn-in. It may or may not be necessary on today's newer Plasmas, but it does sound like a good idea, and can't hurt.
Update: There's a new firmware that just came out (June 20th) that improves HDMI picture quality. I recommend applying the update. It did improve my PQ.
on October 27, 2014
Before buying this TV I did extensive research. I wanted a TV that #1 had good contrast ratio. #2 deep color saturation. #3 good motion resolution.
My research led me to pick the Samsung PN51F4500. As far as motion resolution goes, plasma was really my only choice. The WireCutter loved this tv. Rtings.com found the contrast ratio to be even higher than the flagship F8500 model.
One thing to consider is that this TV is only 720p. So, you really don't want to be sitting closer than 10ft when viewing the 51 inch version.
I've read reviews that this tv doesn't get very bright. I did not find this the case for me. It gets plenty bright. However if you are going to be viewing this tv with a window on the opposite wall you may want to consider something else as this screen is reflective.
I bought the Samsung PN51F4500 at Best Buy for $399. I feel this was a steal and I am very satisfied with my purchase. I base all of my reviews on what you get for the price and this is easily a five star rating. If I could give 6 stars I would.
on October 28, 2013
I was looking for a good plasma to buy, and accidentally stumbled upon this model at Walmart for $498. I couldn't believe the price for this size tv, so I had them pull one out from the back and I studied it for awhile, I knew that the best thing for me to do was to search Amazon for user reviews , which I found to be quite positive. I decided to make the purchase, figuring that I could just take it back after seven days.
I set up this tv quite quickly, and started watching it, focusing in on any noticeable picture or sound issues, I found almost nothing to complain about, I thought it looked quite good except for the amount red peoples faces . I poked around the settings to reduce the amount of red in peoples faces and skin, I was impressed with the amount of adjusting options, such as 'game mode' eco energy saving settings which is sensible for a plasma, and after a little while I found a skin tone setting, surprised to see a setting for exactly what hoped to achieved.
I was still skeptical about the price and it being my 1st plasma but today I'm quite happy about my purchase.
Pros: Excellent Value for $500
Nice set of adjusting options
Picture shows quite well for a 51", $500 tv
It sounds pretty good with surround sound n stereo options.
Remote has a back light option.
Cons: People's skin shows a lot of red, look in: Pictures - advanced - flesh tone
Back panel has too few plug-in options, which is a big issue for me
Typical with plasmas, screen brightness is not as bright as LCD's.
on January 13, 2014
This is my first HDTV. I did have a 42" rear projection back in the 1980's and never bothered with a new one after that broke, although I have kept an eye on the technology and reviews. I was predisposed to plasma from its history but the CNET reviews convinced me to give it a look in spite of the massive number of LED's flooding the market. When I walked into Walmart to look at the wall of flat screens I almost changed my mind because the few plasma sets stood out as being significantly darker than the LED's. But, after spending 15-20 minutes looking, I gradually took to the plasma pictures.
I had wanted the 51" version but the wife said no so I had to settle for this but it's really about the right size in our den. Since we watch TV from 10'+ you can't tell the difference between 720p and 1080p in any reasonable screen size.
As to the quality of the display, which is the main point, it's great. I am using the settings someone recently posted here. I did increase the brightness a bit. I wouldn't recommend this for a very bright room but it certainly works well in our circumstances. Audio quality is very good and there is plenty of volume when you need it.
The one drawback/positive of this model is no WiFi and it is not a Smart TV. The drawback is that you don't have any built in apps and can't stream your videos directly from your home server. OTOH you don't have the limitations of whatever apps the manufacturer built into the TV and the problems these can cause. I was put off by some of the complaints about problems with the built-in VIZIO apps. In exchange for no Smart TV, this model is extremely cheap for it's quality. With the money you save, you can get a ROKU 3 and have access to huge number of apps (channels) and an extremely responsive interface. Have been very impressed by the combination. I'm sitting here watching Bloomberg TV even though it's not part of my cable plan. Amazon Prime videos also work well.
There are even some channels that allow you to stream video and music from your personal server. But being paranoid about security, I looked at alternatives. Security could be a problem on WiFi-equipped TV's also if you give them access to your server. I also noticed that some of the home server media streaming channels for ROKU don't recognize all formats (.AVI for example). So I copied a sampling of videos onto a thumb drive and plugged it into the TV's USB port and the TV recognized and played them all regardless of format. Since my collection of videos is pretty static, I think I'll just put a spare hard drive into an enclosure that provides a USB port (Vantec makes some good ones), copy all the videos and music onto it, and leave it plugged into the USB port of the TV.
on July 6, 2013
It seems as though every single product category on the planet these days has to sacrifice itself to the lowest common denominator. I'm not that old yet and I still remember when the household "TV buying day" was a special event, and you were assured that if you wanted anything at least 32 inches in size, you were going to drop close to a 1000.00 or more for a quality set from one of the major name brands. Fast forward 15 or 20 years and now nothing it seems is immune from the economic race to the bottom, not even a "big" TV.
I had initially purchased a Westinghouse DW46F1Y1 at Microcenter seeing that as an incredible deal at 349.00 for an LED backlit 46 inch LCD. However I wasn't terribly pleased with the overall quality of the TV, knowing that just a few bucks more would probably get me something from one of the big name brands. I haven't had a plasma in several years and decided it was time to go back. I zeroed in on both the LG and Samsung 50-ish inch "4500" series models (how confusing is it that BOTH companies 720P offerings for 2013 are "4500" series models, couldn't they have figured this out before-hand?) but felt 449.00 for the LG was only within a stone's throw of the 1080P offerings from both companies at the time this review was written. However, I just happened across an open box of this Samsung sitting off to the side in its box when visiting one of our local BBs. Now keep in mind I have NEVER advocated buying open box plasma televisions. It's just a BAD idea as 9 times out of 10 what you're going to get is a floor demo that has had thousands of hours of burn time or a customer return that has potentially had image retention that the store wouldn't have detected when they took it back.
In this case, I figured it was cheap enough worth taking a chance on. The price on the box was 429 and knowing that the current sale price was 449 I asked to see if I could get a better price. We settled on another 10 percent off and the TV ended up being about 385.00. To my surprise, when I got the TV home and set it up it was absolutely brand new. Service menu reading indicated that the TV had literally ZERO hours of use, so this must have been a buyer's remorse return, like my Westinghouse for example.
With that little bit of history on the why and the how of the purchase, I must say that the feature set and quality of this TV is absolutely unbelievable at this modest price-tag. There are DOZENS of picture quality settings just like the big brothers to adjust many facets of the image quality to your liking, whether you are a novice or experienced videophile. There is a clock with a timer, a quickly evaporating feature these days, and even PICTURE IN PICTURE of all things! As far as I know the PIP will only work with the TV's internal tuner as one of the sources, but it's still a feature you simply never see any more. Even the remote, which is often a complete afterthought on anything near this price, is a chunky, well made and backlit affair to aid in night time use for those who don't have universal remotes of some sort. And keep in mind, we're still talking about the STRIPPED DOWN 2013 model here, still replete with tons of unexpected features. Additionally, there is an orbiter to protect from image retention, and economy modes which reduce the panel luminance based on ambient light in the room. Typically, ambient light adjusted brightness is another feature found on higher cost sets and something Samsung simply doesn't need to include at this price-point.
All in all, Samsung threw the kitchen sink at this TV features-wise to say nothing of the already very respectable Clear Image panel and picture quality for such a bargain bin television. I can not recommend this TV enough at under 400.00 if you can find one. At 450 or higher I would likely recommend stepping up to the 5300 model with 1080P resolution (bearing in mind that the "street" price for the 5300 is currently 549 at BB and possibly other retailers at the time this review was written). The BEST no-holds barred image quality "budget" plasma would be the Panasonic TC-P50S60 but it's still 700.00. I paid close to half for this TV and it does everything I need it to do. The only reason I didn't give the TV 5 stars is an annoying problem which is being seen on more and more TVs today, and that is the lack of analog audio outputs for those of us who use 2 channel stereo equipment, along with only 2 HDMI inputs of which even the lowly Westy had 3. There are ways around both of these problems, though at additional cost and cable clutter.