I bought a Samsung LN-S4695D over the holidays. Love the picture, especially Discovery HD over Comcast. I find myself watching nature shows or shows about clothing in India, just to gaze at the images.
A few observations that I know I had been looking for when I did my initial research, so I'm posting them here for future searchers:
- SD channels look good, but occassionally show fuzzy edges, which is often the case with LCD TV's apparently. However, before I sold my 36" Sony, I was able to view sd side by side with the Samsung. Despite the fuzzy edges, the image was actually better - we forget what sd looked like with scan lines!
- I purchased an HDMI cable through Monoprice - it's a nice sturdy cable, much less expensive than Monster. To be honest, I'm not sure there's a better image out of my cable box versus component cables, but it IS convenient to only have a single cable for video and audio.
- I purchased an upconverting Panasonic DVD player (can't recall the model number, but it was rated tops along with the Sony at Circuit City.) I really really wanted it to improve my DVD pq. But after more than an hour of swapping between the upconverting player and my old DVD player, using 4 dvds as testers, I concluded that my old DVD's player produced a better image through component than the upconverting DVD player did through HDMI. And the thing is, my old player was non-progressive scan player made by Samsung. I returned the upconverting player to CC. The rep there said he's heard the same comments from other owners of high end HD TV's and he hasn't been impressed with the pq either. FWIW, the image quality of my old DVD player on the sammie is great.
- My TV makes clicking sounds for about 30 seconds or so when it's first turned on. I've seen lots of posts about this (for samsung and other HD sets) and the assumption is that it's normal - power relays or something. However, I called Samsung, and the rep (who was nice but seemingly not a tech savvy guy) said it was definitely NOT normal, and that I might consider setting up a service call. Bottom line, from what I've read, I'm concluding that there's nothing to it.
Now if you'll excuse me, there's a Discovery Channel show about whales in the Arctic that I must watch.