Design and Connections
The Picture menu offers a choice of three types of viewing mode called Standard, Dynamic and Movie, the latter being Samsung’s attempt at an accurate preset. The viewing modes can also be accessed by pressing P. Mode on the remote control. Like other Samsung plasmas the PS50C450 includes a control called Cell Light that changes the overall brightness of the display much like a backlight control on a LCD. There are also all the usual calibration controls such as Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness, Colour and Tint. in addition there is an Eco Solution control which reduces the light output of the display depending on which option you choose but I left this off.
Within Picture Options there is Size which obviously gives you sizes to choose from including Auto Wide, 16:9, Wide Zoom, Zoom and 4:3. There is also Colour Tone which is more often called colour temperature by other manufacturers and gives you a choice of Cool, Normal, Warm1 and Warm2, a Digital Noise Filter control (3D noise reduction filter) which will reduce analogue background noise and an MPEG Noise Reduction Filter which attempts to address over compression in MPEG encoded material. There is an HDMI Black Level control that I left set to Normal and a Film Mode option that controls how film content is converted to the plasma’s native progressive format. To protect the plasma there is also a Screen Burn Protection option which allows you to choose how long before it is activated.
Finally there is a white balance screen which allows for two point calibration of the display’s greyscale. Sadly unlike more expensive Samsung plasma displays the PS50C450 does not include a Colour Management System (CMS). The PS50C450 allows you to save all the settings individually for each input, this is a very handy function as it allows you to correctly calibrate each input for the device that is connected to it.
First off I made a few changes to the settings in Movie mode, adjusting both the Brightness and especially the Contrast setting which was far too high. There was also a small amount of Sharpness in the preset which I reduced to zero to avoid any unwanted ringing. I left the Gamma setting at zero since this was already measuring a flat curve at around 2.20 and I left the Colour Temperature setting at Warm2 as this was also fairly accurate. All the other features had been set correctly by the Movie mode preset so I left those as they were.
I put the PS50C450 through a whole series of video processing tests and it was here that the display truly excelled. The video deinterlacing is excellent and using the HQV PAL Test DVD the display scored very highly on all the jaggies tests. It also has excellent scaling and scored highly on the fine detail tests, producing crisp and finely detailed images from the 576i signal. The PS50C450 passed the 2:2 cadence test and in the film detail test it locked onto film based material very quickly and produced a rock solid image. It also handled video text with ease and produced smooth scrolling text over film images. For those of you who are like me and own a lot of US DVDs you will be glad to know that the PS50C450 handled the HQV NTSC Test DVD equally as well with impressive deinterlacing and scaling and the correct handling of 3:2 and 2:2 cadence tests.
With 1080i and 1080p sources the PS50C450 was equally as impressive, passing all the tests on my HQV Blu-ray with ease. Reviews of earlier Samsung plasmas had reported a problem when receiving a 50Hz feed but I encountered no such issues. I fed the PS50C450 480i at 60Hz, 576i at 50Hz, 1080i at 50 and 60Hz and 1080p at 50 and 60Hz and it displayed them all at its 768p 50Hz resolution without any issues what-so-ever. Overall the video processing capability of the PS50C450 is superb and Samsung is to be congratulated on producing performance that is comparable with some of the best stand alone processors.
I found the performance of the PS50C450 with games to be excellent, as you would expect from a plasma there was no lag between the game pad and the display and the results were very responsive. Also since a lot of games are released in 720p this suited the PS50C450’s native resolution. The only issue was once again image retention, not during actual game play but afterwards when you changed channels.
Out of the box the PS50C450 consumed 106w at 0ire, 117w at 50ire and 141w at 100ire. After it had been calibrated the power consumption dropped to 105w, 113w and 136w respectively. In its standby mode the PS50C450 only consumed 1w.
As is to be expected with a plasma the off axis image accuracy of the PS50C450 was excellent with no noticeable change when moving from side to side or up and down. Motion is also a strong point of plasmas and in this area the PS50C450 excelled with fast moving sport action being very well displayed. The was no evidence of panel flicker or false contouring and individual pixels were very sharp and free from any noticable PWM noise at normal seating distances. There was one quirk that I noticed, when I first watched a blu-ray encoded at 24p the PS50C450 displayed the image at a refresh rate that wasn’t a multiple of 24, this resulted in slight judder. To solve this issue you need to go back into the menu and make sure that Film Mode was enabled, then 24p was displayed at the correct multiple, producing smooth, film-like and judder-free motion again.
Aside from the previously mentioned over-saturation in green the rest of the image had a pleasingly natural look to it, perhaps due to the excellent greyscale tracking. However the black level and the contrast ratio could have been better and certainly weren’t as impressive as I’ve seen on other plasma displays. The biggest problem with the PS50C450 was image retention which could really be an issue at times. Whilst not really a problem when watching a film or normal TV program if you spent just a few minutes on a news station you could clearly still see the scrolling news bar or station ident when you changed channel. This is a shame as it really marred what was otherwise a very good performance in terms of picture quality.
- Excellent video processing
- Good calibrated greyscale performance
- Good off-axis image accuracy
- Excellent handling of motion
- Large screen size for the price
- Gaming performance is good with no lag time
- Bad image retention issues
- Oversaturated colours especially in green
- No Colour Management System
- Mediocre black levels and contrast ratio
Samsung C450 (PS50C450) Plasma TV Review
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