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After 6 televisions I finally got a keeper. A brief summary of those televisions:
1) Samsung PN59D8000 - Excellent TV except for the intolerable buzz
2) Samsung UN55D7000 - Screen uniformity, edgelighting, choppy motion at times
3) LG 60PM9700 - Physically damaged
4) LG 60PM9700 - Horrendous video processor, even HD Dish signals pixelated
5) Samsung UN60D7000 - A bright Orange vertical band of pixels
6) Samsung PN60E7000 - See #1 but without the buzz
If I knew ahead of time the grief I would go through with #3, #4 and #5 I would have stayed with #2. In a sense #5 was a I'll settle for a Samsung LED but since this unit was defective I thought I would give a Samsung plasma another chance despite the continued complaints of loud buzzing from the 2012 models. I don't know how fortunate I was but the E7000 isn't a buzzer (just the normal buzz inherent to plasmas).
I love the styling and workmanship of the high-end models from Samsung - both plasma and LED. The lack of easily scratchable glossy black plastic is much appreciated. I know some don't care for the chrome quad stand but it's more preferable to a monolithic slab of plastic that's a dust magnet.
As far as internal TV speakers go the sound is fine but I'm utilizing a sound bar and subwoofer.
I'm very smitten with Samsung's video processor as it does an excellent job of providing a crisp picture. The colors look rich and natural, no motion issues and solid black levels. STD content is as good as can be expected. And there are the positive attributes of plasma technology such as screen uniformity and wide viewing angles.
I only care about Netflix and VUDU and they both perform wonderfully. You get the latest version of Netflix. I expect great picture quality from VUDU HDX offerings but was pleasantly surprised how well some HD content from Netflix looked.
The dual processors apparently improve response times as Netflix is much more responsive. You no longer need to count on a Blu-ray player or some other media streaming device for reliable steaming services.
I imagine the web browser still doesn't work nearly as well as it does on your computer but that is probably the furthest of my priorities in a television.
Side note: 99% of the time any buffering issues is not with the TV.
Comparison to Panasonic plasmas:
The 2012 plasma offerings from Panasonic have been getting rave reviews and I'm sure they are great TVs. But I'm willing to give up any advantages in shadow detail for a sharper picture which really comes into play with STD signals. And though the design of Panasonics have much improved I feel they still use too much cheap plastic.
This is the best TV for me. It doesn't have the peek whites of a LED but you sacrifice too much in other areas of picture quality IMO. The lone exception may be the Sharp Elite LED.
UPDATE (6/22): This model has to be one of the best kept secrets out there as I still have the most recent review. It has all the performance features of the higher model but without the useless interaction features. I still think the picture is excellent, noticeably better than any of Samsung's LEDs in my opinion. I get a personal comparison almost every day as my bedroom TV is a Samsung LED UN46D7000 unit.
Now, I'm not going to buy a Blu-ray player knowing it lacks certain features ahead of time and then bash it for lacking them in a review as that would be stupid.
Since my Samsung television has wireless streaming and does it extremely well all that's required of my Blu-ray player is to have excellent built quality/workmanship, upconvert DVD as best as possible and of course playback Blu-rays. The Onkyo Blu-ray player comes thru with flying colors on two of the three.
The Qdeo processor lives up to its reputation with Blu-ray playback but there's nothing special with DVD playback and at this price it should be exceptional at upconverting DVD. I'm reluctantly returning this player and giving the oppo 93 a try.
I really like the styling of this TV with its minimalist design. I wish more TVs were like this without the acres of flimsy, prone to scratches, glossy black plastic. The extremely thin bezel makes the picture pop out at you but at the expense of edge lighting issues it seems.
I use external speakers so no comments on the speakers.
The streaming features work fine for the major applications (Netflix, Hulu Plus, VUDU). But streaming will be handled by my blu-ray player for the most part.
The colors are very vibrant and the whites are very bright and the blacks are good as long as they are not near the edges. I was fortunate enough to get the 303 screen which handles the edge light and uniformity issues better than the 301 and 302 screens. But this TV still has those issues. And I wish other viewers would STOP saying it's only an issue when going to commercial or when the credits are rolling after a movie because the edge lighting leakage is noticeable whenever there's a dominant dark scene. I'm willing to live with this but it's a definite drawback.
Motion issues if calibrated correctly are mostly unnoticeable being noticeable mainly when you're getting a weak signal.
This TV replaces the Samsung Plasma PN59D8000 I returned dues to the buzzing sound. I now have no buzzing sound but the overall picture is not as good as the Plasma. I'll take that trade off though (in favor of the UN55D7000).
UPDATE 4/4/12: I just can't deal with the uniformity, edge light leakage and motion issues.
I'm returning this TV and exchanging it for a plasma LG 60PM9700 unit.
The styling of this TV is great. I really appreciate the minimalist design and the lack of flimsy, scratch prone, glossy, cheap black plastic that so prevalent in electronics these days. I like the quad stand - a monolithic slab of cheap plastic that would show every scratch and collect dust just doesn't appeal to me. I've noticed more manufacturers are following Samsung's lead with more creative stands on the 2012 models.
The picture quality of this TV is awesome. The colors are vibrant and the black are deep without overshadowing the rest of the picture. And with Plasma technology there are no issues with motion, screen uniformity and off angle viewing. The one weakness of the picture is the whites are a little washed out - a trait of plasmas.
Since I'm using an external audio sound system my only comment on the speakers would be - why use them? If you're willing to pay this much for a picture then at least get a decent audio system to get the full effect. Some sound bars are quite good.
The streaming features are adequate. As long as the main applications work without drama I'm fine with it. They're usually the ones you pay for on a monthly basis (Netflix, Hulu Plus) or by per movie/show (VUDU). The one downside is that for Netflix you're very limited to the picture settings. For VUDU you have full access to the picture menu. Of course if you plan on watching blu-rays/DVDs from a blu-ray player you can use the online services from that player and utilize full pictures setting from your HDMI input.
Now what makes this TV so frustrating - the buzz sound. I noticed it as soon I turned the TV on. It's a piercing sound that projects straightforward. Sit off center by two feet and it can't be heard. I suspect for those who mount their TV the buzz will be a non issue since it would be projected overhead. I've noticed if I lay-down on the couch I can no longer hear it.
From my research I've learned that there are two kinds of sounds that may be heard from a plasma, one from the screen (my case) and one from the power source which is a sound that is heard everywhere.
I knew about the buzzing sound ahead of time but I didn't think it would bother me. This TV replaced my Panasonic plasma and if it was emitting a buzz I wasn't hearing it. I don't think the buzzing sound is on every TV or at least not to the same degree.
I've returned this TV for a Samsung UN55D7000 and was fortunate enough to get the 303 screen. Uniformity issues and edge lighting are minimum but to be frank the PN55D8000 has the better overall picture. And in some scenes there are motion issues that plague ALL LCD TVs.
Perhaps I should have ordered another PN59D8000 (heck, I went through the trouble of returning one, what's one more?) but the overall picture of the UN55D7000 is still impressive. The negatives of my LED LCD TV are nitpicks and it's completely silent.
An astute reader may ask why I didn't go with a Panasonic Plasma for a replacement. 1) I don't like the styling and the acres of cheap plastic, 2) They have their own known quality issues and 3) the model I would want has been sold out and I already sold my old Panasonic.