Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Northern New Jersey
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My first month with the Akai: (I can't help thinking of it as a Samsung 4225 which is the real brand).
My installation: In our bedroom over a fireplace. Two sets of component cables and an s-video cable behind the wall through a PVC pipe (due to the gas fireplace) through the attic to an armoire that has a progressive scan Samsung DVD (Component 1 480p/480i), DD Receiver (optical cable) and Motorola 5100 HDTV cable box (Component 2: 480p/ 1080i setting)(S-Video: 480i setting).
Picture: 1. HDTV: Superb, transparent with depth range and luminosity that has to be seen to be believed.There is some red push but its the Motorola box, not the panel.
2. DVD: Excellent, warm film like picture with both progressive and interlaced scan. Quirk: I prefer interlaced for reasons below under Desired improvements.
3. Non-HD NTSC: Good to awful. I notice progressive inputs are either good or awful. S-video as it uses the panels comb filter makes awful material watchable, but fair to "good" material is better with progressive (480p on Component 2).
Settings: I set-up the panel using video essentials DVD and the warm 1 setting that I find is closest to the NTSC 6500K. Result DVD's look great. HD and NTSC could do with different settings for an optimum picture, which leads me to:
Improvements that Samsung could have made:
My two biggest issues are the fact that only one picture setting can be saved on this panel. It would have greatly improved things if each input had the ability to save a unique picture setting. Try as I may, the DVD ideal (to my eyes) settings does not quite work for HD sources as the black levels (contrast) needs to be different. Its a pain to have to do this while watching different sources and Samsung could easily have fixed this (if it was a cost thing they could have saved a few bucks by getting rid of the useless built-in 7 watt amplifier).
Next, the panel has excellent aspect controls that really work very well. Why did Samsung decide to lock the aspect controls for all progressive or HD settings?? The result is for DVD's not set-up in 185:1 widescreen (many are in 2.35:1) the progressive output results in black bars up and down which I for one do not like on any display other than a front projector. In some HD channels, that are actually playing non-HD material there are black bars all around.
Third, there should be some burn-in protection; this panel has non.
ED or SD versus HD displays: I am really happy I bought an ED display. 852*480 is plenty. My viewing distance is 11 feet and I cannot see any pixelazation whatsoever. I have carefully compared my neighbors Sony 42 " 1048*1048 HD display and even he now says mine is better. This has nothing to do with Samsung over Sony but rather ED versus HD in 42 inch plasmas. For DVD and NTSC sources the ED display is outright better (obviously in my humble opinion). HDTV looks better on the HD display as expected BUT only when viewed from close. At 11 feet they look identical to my eyes. Note this is not the case in a 50 inch Fujitsu display I watched for a while where HD sources were undoubtedly better than mine ( for 15 grand plus they better be!).
All-in-all I am very happy with my purchase. No doubt, as has been repeatedly stated on this thread, price and the Costco return policy are very important as well.
Finally, have any of you got your rebate check back from Costco. I sent mine in on Jan 21st and they have processed it weeks ago but no check yet.