Samsung PS42V4SKX review

A well-priced offering from a big-name brand

TechRadar Verdict

A low price from a big-name brand, but also a low resolution and imperfect image


  • +

    HDCP-capable DVI input

    Digital Natural Image engine to boost contrast


  • -

    Low screen resolution

    Some softness and noise in images

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These days, it is possible to get a plasma for a grand, so it's great to see a big-name manufacturer produce one for only a shade more. But while it might be the new shirt sponsor of Chelsea, is this Samsung a champion screen?

A price like this usually goes hand-in-hand with a reduced features list, but here Samsung's DNIe picture processing is still on the team sheet. Mind you, the functional grey exterior does leave the PS42V4SKX looking a bit Damien Duff.

It's got all the firepower it needs on the back line, however, with the highlight being an HDCP-capable DVI input, which makes Sky's HDTV services possible. The screen resolution of only 852 x 480 means that such sparkling footage will have to be scaled down to fit. Other inputs include component video, composite video input, S-video input and two Scarts (one of which is RGB).

Processing power

HD-ready it isn't, but the PS42V4SKX does have a Digital Natural Image engine. Primed for high-definition TV pictures (despite the low resolution) and ordinary TV tuner images, DNIe promises a four-pronged attack by boosting contrast and detail while improving colour saturations and making motion clearer (not that this is a major problem with most plasmas).

Bright lights

When we came to check out the Samsung's performance, it was no shock that colour was reproduced with aplomb - it's usually the main advantage of plasma over LCD. Hues were vibrant and well-saturated, while blacks were also represented with enough depth and detail.

This all served to make our drug-addled test DVD, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, look sparkling, especially the reds of 'The Shark' as Hunter (God rest his soul) and the Attorney race through the desert on a dubious journalistic pretext.

However, just as Hunter is left cursing his contacts back in LA, we felt like we'd been burned ourselves when it comes to that DNle picture engine - the picture did look soft and at times noisy, even with it in full flight. Thankfully, (scaled-down) high-def footage looks a little cleaner, as does DVD fodder fed through the DVI input.

Our test disc's blistering late '60s soundtrack sounded surprisingly good, with the side-mounted speakers providing some punch and coping well with the mumbling Hunter's outbursts.

Considering the PS42V4SKX's limited arsenal and low price, it gives a decent performance. However, its low screen resolution is something that we would steer clear of - there are plenty of plasmas around with more to play with - because it does severely limit how good high-definition footage can look.

That's not to say HD doesn't look good on the PS42V4SKX, but it does seem a shame that the DVI input can't deliver its full potential.

At the final whistle, this 42in plasma is a good-value solution for those with big-screen ambitions and small-time budgets. Which, frankly, is most of us. Just don't expect fireworks. was the former name of Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.