Samsung PN51D6500

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 PN51D6500 is a 3D ready plasma television with a 51 inch screen. It has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with a 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio. There’s also a 16:9 aspect ratio and a .001 response time. There are two built-in bottom speakers at 10 watts each. Built in wifi allows users to access Samsung SmartTV which allows you access various apps like Youtube and Netflix. The TV has four HDMI ports and two USB ports. The USB ports allow users to play back music, photos and videos using the Samsung ConnectShare. It does meet Energy Star requirements.

Features List:

– 3D Ready Plasma TV

– 51 inch screen

– 1920 x 1080 resolution

– 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio

– 16:9 aspect ratio

– .001 ms response time

– Speakers 2 x 10 watts

– Wifi Ready

– 4 HDMI ports, 2 USB ports

– Meets Energy Star requirements

LCD or Plasma?

Debating between LCD or plasma can almost get as subjective as debating between chocolate and vanilla. But unlike the never-ending ice cream debate, there actually is a superior TV choice, depending on how you plan to use it.

Check out some of our previous guides on the subject to get a better look, but in short, plasmas use more electricity, come in bigger sizes, have deeper blacks, don’t suffer from motion blur, and offer an unlimited viewing angle that’s best for off-axis viewing. LCDs are more energy-efficient, have fewer problems with glare due to their matte screens, can hold an image for hours or days without suffering “burn-in,” and generally look brighter.

After deciding which format to go with, our LCD and Plasma HDTV buying guides can help you with more questions specific to your type of TV.

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.

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.

Do I need an ATSC tuner?

If you plan on watching, free, over-the-air programming, then yes. As of 2009, all over-the-air broadcasts use the ATSC standard. Pretty much all HDTVs manufactured over the past few years will include this feature.

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.

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