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Samsung PN51E550

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

The Samsung PN51E550 is the smallest, although it is 51″, of Samsung’s new PNE550 series of plasma televisions. Aside from a 51″ screen, this television’s features are very similar to that of the PNE6000 series in that it has a 600Hz subfield motion refresh rate, a 1920 x 1080 screen resolution, active 3D and Samsung’s smart TV technology. Where they differ is in their black level and contrast. The PNE6000 series has “Real Black Pro Panel” which is better than the “All Black Pure Filter” that the PNE550 series has. They differ by the deeper blacks that you’ll get in a dark scene of a movie or show, but not by much. Both of these series of televisions are in the top tier of picture/contrast quality. This series comes with three HDMI ports and two USB just like the PNE6000 series. The Samsung PN51E550 is available now and is priced at $997.

Features List:

– 51″ Screen

– 600Hz Subfield Motion 

– All Black Pure Filter

– 1920 x 1080 Screen Resolution 

– Active 3D

– Smart TV 

– 3 HDMI/2 USB

Digital Trends’ TV Buying Tips:

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.

How large of a screen do I really need?

“Bigger is better” doesn’t make any more sense when choosing an HDTV for your living room than when choosing a couch for your living room. A lot of factors come into play. As a general rule, consider a TV 1.5 to 3.0 times the screen size. For instance, a 32-inch television might make sense for viewing distances as close as four feet away, and as far as eight feet away. Check out our guide to choosing the right size HDTV for more details, including a helpful chart.

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.

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.

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