Originally Posted by CEB II
Well we've been watching this 52Z5100 for over a week now and the wife and I are very happy with our purchase. PQ with HD sources (OTA DTV and Dish HD) is as good as it gets, absolutely excellent and easily equal to the Samsung B750 without the shaving mirror that goes with the B750. Blacks are excellent and shadow detail is the best I've seen on a TV. Careful with that Advanced Setting for Black Enhancement. Anything above Low can lead to severe clouding issues with some HD movie content. No flashlights, clouding, or uneven lighting across the screen. Color realism and saturation are excellent. Viewing angle is average or typical of CCFL LCDs, which is about 45 degrees off center. Not bad and much better than the LED LCDs.
PQ from non-BD DVDs is excellent. I was watching Saving Private Ryan upscaled by my 2 year old Sony 1080p upscaling DVD player and it looked as good as many of the HD movies on Starz and Cinemax that I get with Dish. Damped my enthusiasm for getting a BD player anytime soon or at least until the half way decent Sony units get down to the $199 price point. I'm enjoying my DVD library anew all over again.
PQ from SD sources is a mixed bag. It really depends on the source. Decent 480i stuff comes across excellent, but some older video and movies look pretty bad and the MPEG Filter and CineMotion filter don't do much to help regardless of which setting you use. I'd give this set Average to a little above average on SD PQ, so this is one area that Samsung is still clearly ahead of Sony. BTW, CNET didn't see any change using the MPEG filter, but I was able to see changes on all settings. Avoid the high setting as it does more harm than good. Medium and Low both improve bad SD video over no filter at all.
The more I've used the on-board sound, the more impressed I am with it. I'd rate it as above average for flat panel HDTV sound systems. OTOH, even after a week I still don't like the Menu. Illogical, non-intuitive, and not user friendly. Samsung definitely gets the nod when it comes to menus on these high-end LCD HDTVs.
As for the internet connectivity, I'm not impressed. I've surfed through most of what is offered and it isn't worth much. I'll likely be removing the Cat 5e cable soon and only bring it back occasionally to look for software updates. And the widgets are the biggest joke. The weather widget just gives me New York, Paris, and Sunnyvale, no matter what I try to do to change it. Signing up at the Yahoo site didn't do anything in this regard either. There doesn't seem to be a way to select what city you want weather for. Useless!
Haven't evaluated the use of this TV with my PC notebook since I can't get the TV to recognize the RGB cable input from the notebook. The notebook sees the TV, but the TV just doesn't see the notebook. This isn't something I expected to use this TV for, so I don't know that I'll spend much more time trying to make it work.
So the Z5100 is definitely a suitable non-glossy, non-reflective alternative to the Samsung B750. We're just thrilled watching Starz and Cinemax HD movies, prime-time HD drama on the major networks, any live HD broadcasts, and especially any live HD sporting even broadcasts. The WOW factor is back! Can't wait for the NFL season to start.
Final note, I'm just running the PQ in Standard with the MPEG filter on Low, CineMotion on Auto 1, and black enhancement on Low. Haven't seen any reason to mess with the other settings on Standard. I looked at Theatre Mode for movies, but it is just too dark and too yellow. I read somewhere that it is designed to be used only in a theatre environment (i.e., pitch black room), but I don't think it would work for me even in that environment with its dim picture and yellow caste. I've used Warm 1 for a few HD sources, but most stuff looks best at the factory setting of neutral.
I forgot to mention the remote. Very nice compared to the remotes that Samsung started using last year and it is a Universal Remote. However, the Universal part only goes so far. Oddly, Sony doesn't have a device code (I contacted them about this) that will allow the Z5100's remote to turn on my 5 year old Sony A/V receiver. I guess 5 years is just "too old" for all this hot new technology. Otherwise, I'd rate the remote as above average.