I posted the following impressions in the main 2005 Samsung thread, but felt they also should be here.
After spending a several hours with both a HLR6168W and HLR5078W on three difference occasions, I feel ready to add my comments to those of others about these truly outstanding TV's.
I reviewed the TV's at two locations: Magnolia HiFi in San Ramon (CA); and Fry's in Fremont (CA). I'd like to thank the excellent staff at Magnolia HiFi!!! They worked with me to test/demo the TV under a large number of scenarios and went the extra distance to get good results. Thanks!!!
> These are outstanding TV's. They were easily better than any other RPTV on display at either location. Since the HLR5078W was right next to the Qualia 006 at Magnolia, I compared the two TV's. But, I don't feel it is appropriate to compare a 50 to a 70 set, so the Samsung 1080p vs. Qualia 006 comparisons will have to wait until the 71 Samsung is available for comparison. Also, my intent here is not to compare the Samsungs to plasma, LCD, CRT, but I liked the new Samsung 1080p's better than those technologies.
> Brightness - These TV's are extremely bright. There is extensive headroom on brightness, even set at 50 on the 0 to 100 brightness scale in setup. The 5078 made all of the other TV's on display look dim. Brightness is not going to be an issue. The extra head room will be used on the larger screen sizes (with lower max brightness specs) to maintain that bright attractive look.
> Contrast - The higher contrast ratio spec on these sets is readily apparent when viewing real life material. The picture is significantly better in this regard than the 720p units. The improved contrast takes PQ to a whole new level. The images have much more impact, when that is combined with the improved detail at 1080i the final result is an image that I have never seen on a RPTV.
> Color - Excellent. Rich, vibrant colors. Gone are the color problems of prior years.
> 1080p vs 720p - 1080p is definitely a clearer more detailed image than 720p (on 1080i material). I'm going to step up to 1080p! The improved resolution shows up best when appropriately sized detail is displayed on the screen. An example might be lettering on a sign or intricate detail.
> DVD Material - I had the opportunity to test with 5078 with a Denon 3910. The picture was disappointing and showed serious macroblocking (HDMI, 1080i setting). I decided to take another approach and the staff at Magnolia allowed me to swap the 3910 for a Samsung DVD-HD941 (HDMI, 480p). We really tried to get the Samsung set to 1080i, but I think the DVI to HDMI adapter we were using was causing a problem so I stepped back to 480p (NOTE, this was over HDMI). DVD's looked stunning!!! Stable, beautiful images! The scaler in the Samsung was doing an excellent job. So if you have large DVD collection like I do (1000+ DVD's), they will look superb! Again, thanks to the staff at Magnolia for allowing me to test with both DVD players under so many configurations!
> HD Material - HD material looked great! But, given the high performance of this TV we may be reaching a point were the equipment providing the HD signal, even the cable / sat company are going to start entering the equation big time. The HD material did not look as stable on the screen as the DVD material. I attribute this to one of the following causes: 1) Magnolia's video distribution system was adding some signal degradation; or 2) the DirectTV HD signal is not as good as the Comcast signal that I watch every day. At any rate, the TV was being feed via component video and most of us will probably be using DVI/HDMI. Bottom line, it looked good and I would expect it to look much better (maybe perfect) once the set is at home. But, there is room for further testing here that just could not be done in the store. My guess is the TV will handle the signal perfectly (based on HDMI input from DVD player) and any small problems will be downstream from the TV in cable/sat box, broadcast, or material.
ADDED: Some of the faces on HD material looked like they had been smoothed. For lack of any terminology for this look, I will call then silk faces. I attributed this to possible signal compression on the DirectTV broadcast. If anyone has a very high quality HD feed, from quality HD equipment, via HDMI please let me know if this was just a problem unique to Magnolia's setup or DirectTV. It is the only defect that I observed on any of the material that I viewed.
> SD Material - SD looked good for SD. The set handled it well. People that were worried that SD would look worst on these sets, can relax that is not the case. I did not focus on SD material, it may have looked a little better than on a 720p set. Certainly did not look any worst.
> I did not take a game system up there with me, but Magnolia said that there would not be a problem if I wanted to bring one up and test. I probably will not do this because gaming is not a show stopper for me. I was unable to test any audio sync issues because of the setup. They also said that I could bring up my HTPC, but I won't. Again, that is not a show stopper for me and I can better test HTPC performance at home.
In summary, I have seen enough. I am ready to buy!!! This is the upgraded system that I had hoped that it would be! It is even better than I expected. Hopefully, one of the owners will start running some of the other tests required to resolve the open issues on our list.