Doing some work up in PA today in the Chambersburg area, and I finally found a really nice CC with new model TV's on display. They had a Samsung 46" 71 right overtop a sony 46" xbr4. Here are my impressions of the two sets.....
First off with the HD signal to both sets. I messed with the settings on both to get the pictures the best I could get them to my eye. I had one off while i adjusted the other so as not to be distracted. I dont remember what the settings were, so you will have to bare with my dumbed down review of how the sets looked. I am not going to say that either of these sets blew me out of the water, but i can say that both looked just as good as any plasma they had set up in the store. The picture on the samsung in my opinion was a fraction better than the sony, but this with out a doubt was entirely due to the glossy screen. I have a feeling the glossy screen is going to sell a lot of people on this set, but they are going to be disapointed when they get it home into thier living room and the light hits it. They had it cleverly up semi high and angled down in an attempt (i think) to minimize the reflections in the screen, but you could still very clearly see them. The Sony looked remarkably sharp even up close with very minimal artifacting, and this was looking at it 12"-18" away.....from 5 feet or more it was flawless. I personaly did not see huge differnces when adjusting the cinamotion but it looked very good regardles. I did not notice any obvious clouding or spotlights during black screens or transitions, but i dont think the in-store enviornment is condusive to showing them. I honestly did not mess with the Samsung to much more because frankly i dont want a tv with that much glare, so i stuck basically to fiddling with the Sony.
Next, i switched to a SD channel. First of all it was stetching what was supposed to be a 4:3 screen out to 16:9 so i made the change to 4:3 but it was still stetched and just cutting the side of the picture off, never could figure out how to fix it so I just tinkered with the settings to get the best picture I could. After 5 minutes or so of adjustments i got what i would consider a damn good SD picture. Its was hard to concentrate on just this set with all the others around playing 720 content though. I was very pleased with the look of the SD channels once i adjusted the picture.
Now for the aggrivating part of it all and this could be (hopefully) ignorance on my part of how to save settings. Everytime I would switch between inputs, the settings would reset to factory defaults, this was very annoying. Secondly, the settings that looked best in HD, definately did not look the best for SD content. Thus, you would have to go through and make adjustments again. I DO NOT want to have to do this everytime i switch between SD and HD. Is there a place to save custom settings and just switch back and fourth? I plan to use a AVR so i will only be using the one HDMI input on the TV, so setting up each input with different settings will not apply to me. Please tell me I dont have to make all these changes everytime i switch between SD and HD channels. If they are going to give us 1976 different settings to adjust to tweak the picture, for gods sake allow us to save them as "profile 1", "profile 2", etc.
In conclusion, the TV looked fantastic in both HD and SD IMHO, as good as any Plasma in there. I just did not like the complexity of all the settings if they need to be adjusted routinely based on input signal. Obviously a PC is going to need different settings than a BD, which is going to need different settings than a PS3 or XBox. If my AVR is doing all the switching, and I am only using one input on the TV....how do I retain settings for each component I will be switching between? If there is a way to save settings, this TV is as good as on my wall as soon as the 52's hit the store!