Samsung PS-50Q97 review

Samsung finally secures a plasma Champions League berth

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Our Verdict

Samsung finally delivers a plasma TV that's at least as desirable as its LCDs, if not more so. It's good for us, if scary news for its rivals.


  • Great to look at

    Excellent black levels

    Sharp, detailed pictures

Although best known for LCD TVs, which sell by the boat load, Samsung also makes plasmas. And by the look of the PS50Q97HD it pays them the same level of attention.

For starters, it's every bit as gorgeous as Samsung's LCD screens, thanks to its high-gloss black surround and minimalist design. What's more, its connections include three HDMI sockets, all 'CEC-enabled' so you can control any CEC devices with the remote.

There are also the usual component video and PC input, Scarts, digital tuner support and all the rest. With a resolution of 1365 x 768 it's HD-ready. But its most impressive stat is a 15000:1 claimed contrast ratio - higher even than Panasonic's plasmas.

Partly responsible is a new Optima Light Filter for reducing light diffusion from the screen along with a refined version of Samsung's FilterBright system, and a new Natural True Colour system that analyses and tweaks the colour tones even during fast motion.

Other picture tricks include a Silhouette Editor for improving contoured edges and reducing noise; Movie Plus for tackling stuttery motion problems; and Samsung's DNIe image processing, for boosting detailing, colours and contrast.

Looks good in dark

Things start brilliantly with our MI3 HD DVD thanks to the black levels. The night-time factory looks even blacker and richer than Panasonic's rival plasma. And this counterbalances some strikingly rich colours from the explosions and gadgets to stunning cinematic effect.

And the scenes in Hunt's HQ look sharp and detailed with perfectly rendered fine texturing generated by the harsh lighting. The actors' faces remain free of fizzing noise as they cross the screen, and there's little trace of plasma's colour banding woes.

Don't overdo the picture 'improvements' though. Leaving the contrast and brightness too high can make the picture noisy.

Its hugely likeable pictures complement great features and smooth, crisp audio. What more could you possibly dream of having for £1,500?