Samsung PN50C550

We haven't had a chance to fully test this product yet, but we've assembled this helpful overview of relevant information on it.

Samsung’s 550 Series brings their Touch of Color which offers a nice subtly gradiated gray means that this TV should fit in almost any room. It also comes with a swivel stand for those who like to move their TVs around. This set is HDTV ready with a 1080p resolution with a 2,000,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio. The Plasma comes with 4 HDMI ports and a V-Chip for Parental Control. Samsung’s E-Panel technology with FilterBright to reduce glare combined with the 600Hz Subfield Motion creates clear, non-blurry images even during fast-paced action sequences. The PN50C550 comes with two built-in 15 watt speakers. This is slightly better than most Samsungs than come in at 10 watts. The TV is internet ready with an Ethernet port or you can add Samsung’s LinkStick adapter for Wifi connections. This TV exceeds Energy Star standards, according to Samsung.

Features List:

– 50-inch Plasma TV

– HDTV Ready 1080p Resolution

– 2,000,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio

– 4 HDMI Ports

– V-Chip for Parental Control

– E-Panel technology to reduce glare

– 600Hz for crisper action sequences

– Two built-in 15 watt speakers

– Ethernet port, Wifi Ready

– Exceeds Energy Star standards

What are widgets?

Many of the top television manufacturers – including Sony, Sharp, Panasonic and Samsung – include Ethernet jacks on the back of their premium televisions for high-speed Internet connectivity (or in some cases, have integrated Wi-Fi for wireless connections). TV viewers will then use the remote to select “widgets,” graphicalicons on the screen that plays relevant (and customized) content ranging from YouTube videos and Flickr photo galleries to local weather, news, sports updates and stock quotes, usually delivered by Really Simple Syndication (RSS). Even more exciting is the partnership between Netflix and various TV companies, such as LG and Sony, allowingtelevision viewers to access tens of thousands of movies on-demand, many of which are in high-definition.

Do I need a 120Hz set? What about 240Hz?

This popular LCD TV-based technology helps reduce motion blur. Pronounced “120 hertz,” 120Hz technology essentially doubles the speed at which frames are displayed, from 60 frames per second to 120 frames per second, resulting in a clearer moving image, especially in fast-action video sequences.

Since the screen can display more frames than a movie actually has, many TVs will artificially generate in-between frames where they don’t exist to make motion look smoother. Some people find the look more fluid, while some people think it looks artificial and odd. Fortunately, all TVs that offer it also offer an option to turn it off, if you don’t like it. We recommend testing it in person to see the effects for yourself before deciding whether or not you should pay extra.

Check out our article 120Hz and 240Hz Refresh Rates Explained for more on motion smoothing.

Should I worry about viewing angle?

Absolutely. All LCDs will distort when viewed from extreme angles, but the degree of distortion and the angle it starts to occur at varies from TV to TV. If you plan to pack a dozen people in front of a single TV for entertaining, viewing angle will make a huge difference for the unlucky few who get scattered off to the sides. Most manufacturers will state viewing angle in degrees (for instance, 160) in the specifications for a TV, but be warned: methods for measuring this very subjective figure vary, and we can guarantee most companies opt for the most generous figures. When possible, try to evaluate it yourself in person, or read hands-on reviews that can offer anecdotal evidence, rather than relying on easily-manipulated numbers.

What is a LED backlighting?

Traditionally, LCD TVs have used compact fluorescent (CFL) tubes placed behind an LCD panel to provide the backlighting that literally lights up the screen. More modern LED TVs replace these tubes with clusters of light emitting diodes – LEDs.

When LEDs are placed at the edges of the screen, as CFL tubes traditionally were, TVs can be made significantly thinner, and LEDs use less power than fluorescents. The most inexpensive LED-lit HDTVs take this approach.

However, the biggest advantage to using LEDs is realized when they light the screen in a grid from behind. Sophisticated electronics vary the intensity of every LED in accordance with action on the screen, making dark areas of the image darker, and bright areas brighter. This effectively increases the contrast ratio compared to uniform lighting. Although it also increases costs, many people believe this type of LCD is the first to truly rival plasma on black levels.

Read more about LED backlighting and the differences between both techniques in our guide to understanding LED backlighting.

What resolution do I need?

All consumer HDTVs break down into either 720p or 1080p resolution, which represents the number of horizontal lines in the display. More is obviously better here, but at small screen sizes – like 32 inches – many people find it hard to distinguish the benefit of 1080p resolution. As our guide to screen size points out, viewing distance can also play a factor: The closer you sit, the more you’ll appreciate higher resolution. In general, many people start to see an obvious difference between 1080p and 720p as screens sized 40 inches and up.

Also take into account that much of the content available today doesn’t take advantage of full 1080p resolution. Many shows still broadcast in 720p or 1080i. Technically only Blu-ray discs and digital, non-video sources (like a PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, or PC hooked up to the TV), really offer true 1080p content. This makes 1080p a no-brainer if you want to play Mass Effect 2 with the most detail and watch Star Trek on Blu-ray, but less essential if you just play to watch standard over-the-air broadcast material.

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: