I purchased and set up my new Samsung PN51E550 today and thought I would give my review and ask a few questions. Although I'm a "new" member, I've been lurking for awhile and trying to figure out which TV to pull the trigger on. I first want to thank the AVS community. Hands down I used this site more than any other, well maybe not CNET. Great community, and I look forward to following it more as I delve into the Home Theater experience. I'm already picturing surround sound, but that's a ways off.
I've had a Hannspree 32" LCD for a few years now, and I actually really like it, but wanted something bigger for my living room (the 32 is in my bedroom). Like many, I was considering all the options - LCD, LED, Plasma. I wanted Plasma off the bat because of picture quality, but the reports of IR and BI really scared me. I watch a lot of static image television, major news channel, espn, local news, history, etc. If not watching static TV, I'm playing a game on my PS3/360, or watching Netflix, or a movie. All the usual, but a lot of the movies and shows I watch seem to have the black bars, and that further scared me. I initially wanted a Samsung Plasma due to many reports of no IR/BI on them and CNETs article on Samsung vs Panasonic. I was all dead set on getting one until I let my research scare me. It seemed the more I read up on the different models, the more I got concerned. My budget was in the $800 range, and although it can be considered not much for a TV, to me it is. I'm a college student with a year left and every penny is money saved to this very purchase. I psyched myself out so much, I shifted from a Plasma to LED and was about to pull the trigger on the Toshiba 50LS2200U. I went to almost five different big name stores several times while home for the holidays and figured that looked the best and had the best reviews (mainly from here, not much on that TV elsewhere) for the money. I then saw that a big name store had The E550 on sale with 0% financing for 12 months (wont say price or store, but the deal is good for a few more days, pm me if you want to know - don't want to step on toes or break the rules). I've been wanting to get my credit as established and positive as possible before I graduate, so I figured, if they have any left in stock I'll do the deal, pay a little more than I would have for the positive credit line on my report. Sure enough even though the site said they were sold out, they had two in stock. My credit was approved instantly and next thing I knew it, I was unboxing my new TV. I decided to ultimately go with what I initially wanted, so I wouldn't have the feeling of settling. I paid the extra money for Samsung over Panasonic based on a good history of Samsung phones and the reviews online, so again, thanks AVS.
Now the important part. What do I think of the TV? Well, if you're putting it together yourself, make sure you can easily lift and have room to do so. It's a heavy, thin, TV. I think about 40 or so pounds. It installed easy enough, and the start up was a breeze. It discovered my WIFI almost instantly and connected without a problem. Immediately after connecting it checked for a firmware update and updated itself without any trouble - I think it took about 5 minutes. The out of the box setting, as has been discussed, is Standard mode with the light sensing feature on. I promptly changed that over to Cinema and scrolled through my channels. My "cable" as my complex likes to call it, is provided by them and is only connected via the ANT IN cable (can't remember the name of the cable, coax?). I pretty sure every channel is in SD and it looks like it. At first I was disappointed, until I hooked my PS3 up. I put in a few BD and WOW. It's even better than I thought. I changed a few settings to follow that of CNET, but will try a few others to see what I like the best The blu-rays looked fantastic and I couldn't be happier. I then tried out the Smart app. After a few updates, I had Netflix and FishTV working great. FishTV looked amazing. Netflix, on both my TV and PS3, looked dated. I was watching How I Met Your Mother, season 3 (2007ish?) so that could be why. I kept thinking it looked washed out, same thing for the cable. After awhile I got used to it and it didn't bother me as much. If I didn't watch a few parts of some of my favorite BD, I might not have even noticed it as much. I did notice some IR. I left the search screen for YouTube up on my PS3 while pairing it to my phone. I think it was up all of 2 minutes. I noticed it a few minutes later on a very bright screen, after a minute or so, it was gone. So, no biggie thus far. I haven't gamed on it yet. That'll be tomorrow, hopefully. I'll make another post about that.
All in all, the few hours I've put into the TV have been great and I have no remorse over my purchase. I was considering several options, including the UT series Panasonic, but ultimately went with this Samsung. I would highly recommend this TV. Now a few questions.
1. I'm almost certain it's due to being SD from ANT IN for my cable, but would that explain the washed out look? The same settings on BD are amazing.
2. When I get a chance, I'm going to load slides like D-Nice or similar and break in the TV while not being watched. In the meantime, is the Scroll feature even worth it?
3. Has anyone had issues with Netflix not looking as good as it could? I need to try it with other content, but on my desktop I didn't notice the PQ being as eh as it was.
I'm sure I'll think of more stuff once I get some rest, but if you have any questions please let me know. Again, thanks for a good community.