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The PN60E6500 is well worth the extra $200
on July 7, 2012
The product photo for these TVs (the 550 series) shows a matte, anti-reflective screen. This is misleading. The 550 series does NOT feature an anti-reflective screen. It has no anti-reflective coating at all. It is as reflective as glass, and consequently not the best choice for rooms with windows.
Amazon's product description for the 550 series is identical to its description for the next model up (the 6500 series). Reading the two descriptions, a reasonable person will conclude that the only difference between the 550 and the 6500 is the type of stand that the TV sits on. In particular, both TVs are said to feature a "Real Black Panel" and both screens are shown with the same matte finish. So why not get this TV (the 550) and save $200?
Here is the crucial difference: This TV (the 550) has the basic "Real Black Panel," which Samsung describes as an "advancement in software technology that provides deeper and darker black levels for bolder hues, higher contrast, and smoother, clearer picture quality." In other words, the basic "Real Black" is purely a function of software, not of anti-reflective coating.
The 6500 on the other hand has "Real Black Panel Pro," which Samsung describes as "An advancement within the panel structure of the plasma and a software improvement that depicts blacker blacks, bolder color, higher contrast and exceptional picture quality. This technological improvement provides the most cinematic viewing experience available." In other words, it has the software as well as the anti-reflective coating that distinguishes the high-end Samsungs. Amazon mentions that the much pricier 7000 and 8000 models have "Real Black Panel Pro," but neglects to mention that the 6500 has it too.
Again, it depends on the lighting situation in the intended room, but in most situations, the 6500 is well worth the added expense.