Originally Posted by Smitty4ut
I have talked to several sales persons about this set compared to the Pana TH50PZ80U. They said the the Pana's don't burn in as easy as the Samsungs do. Does anyone know if this is correct or not. I am trying to make an educated decision, but it is hard. No one in my area has a Samsung PN50A550 on display to compare it to. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I have about 150 hours on this PN50A550 and the image retention has not changed - it's still really bad. It will retain EVERYTHING from the the Blu-ray logo from a Sony Blu-ray disc player to the DISH program guide, to the internal User Menus. I can see retained image after just 30 seconds with black or gray on the screen (takes longer to be visible with color image content). I have worked on a Panasonic PX series (not a PZ series which is similar, PZ is 768p) and found it quit bad for image retention also. Hard to pick an image retention winner between the Panasonic and the Samsung, both were very susceptible.
This was temporary image retention, of couse. It can be eliminated with 60-90 minutes of using the "Scrolling" eraser feature on the Samsung. But still... here we are in plasma's 8th-10th generation and STILL image retention plagues most panels. The only panels I've seen where image retention was not a significant issue as long as you didn't do something really bad are Pioneer Kuro panels. But they are dropping smaller panel sizes and their prices tend to be higher than other panels - but there are clear performance reasons for the higher prices.
I wouldn't use a plasma like Samsung or Panasonic for gaming or as a PC display because the image retention sets in so quickly. If you watch a 2.35:1 or 2.4:1 aspect ratio movie, the Samsung doesn't have any mode that will fill the screen with image without geometry problems (stretching). So even if you don't mind zooming and cutting off the sides of the movie so you can fill the screen top-to-bottom, you can't do it with the 550. You can fill the screen, but you have to accept some vertical stretching.
And satellite and cable boxes that force you to pick 1 output resolution... most people will pick 1080i but that displays 4:3 content as 1080i also and the TV will not put up gray side bars. To get the gray side bars requires me (for the DISH HD DVR I use) to press about 12 remote buttons to enter a setup menu and change 3 parameters and exit that menu. That will get me back to 480i so I can get gray side bars. But when I change to an HD channel, it will be presented in 480i unless I return to the DVR's menu and change the resolution back to 1080i. I'm not complaining that Samsung (or anybody else) should have a fix for this (though you'd think constant black bars on the sides of 1080i content might be detectable) - just pointing out a reality that makes plasma displays annoying to use with real-world source components when they retain images so easily.
Someone is likely to ask if I am using the Screen Burn Prevention feature on the 550... yes, it is turned on and set to 4 pixels in both directions and 2 minutes. I am experimenting with 1 minute to see if that does a better job since 30 seconds seems to be about where image retention first becomes visible. To determine the 30 seconds for visible image retenton, I opened the Menu button and pressed the "right" movement (arrow) button to put the blue highlight on "Mode: Movie". Cell Light is on 7. Contrast is 95 (I may reduce this after taking more measurements).