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Samsung HP-S5053

>> Wednesday, January 7, 2009

This 50 inch plasma is priced to compete with models such as the Panasonic TH-50PX60U, costs a few hundred bucks more than sets such as the LG 50PC3D and significantly more than the Vizio P50HDM, putting it into somewhat of a middle ground price wise. The Samsung HP-S5053's look can definitely turn heads when turned off, and its comprehensive collection of inputs will appeal to folks with lots of gear, but its image quality, despite delivering excellent black levels, isn't quite up to the state of the plasma art.

That said, if you tend to watch your movies with the lights on or you sit far enough back to overlook a few artifacts, you'll probably have few complaints.The Samsung HP-S5053 looks exactly like the 42 inch HP-S4253, just bigger, and in person, it has a sleek, high tech appeal that ranks up with the snazziest panels out there.

Its large 50 inch screen is surrounded on all sides by glossy black cabinetry that measures 2.25 inches from the edge of the glass to the edge of the panel along the top and sides.

The clean look extends a few more inches below the screen until it hits an angled strip of burnished silver. In a move sure to be imitated by other flat panel TV makers.

Samsung's designers hid the speakers above the angled section of the cabinet, rendering them completely invisible.

A glossy finish also coats the included, non swiveling black stand. All told, the Samsung HP-S5053 measures 48.4 by 33.6 by 13.5 inches (HWD) atop the stand and weighs 96 pounds. Should you opt to wall mount the panel, you'll want to know that its depth of 3.75 inches sans stand is about average, but since its inputs face straight back, it can't mount flush against the wall, unlike panels whose inputs face downward.

Samsung's remote is the same as those of other 2006 HDTVs, and it's an improvement over last year's controller. It offers a smarter button layout, better differentiation between the keys, and a longer, easier to hold shape. Although it still lacks back lighting, we appreciate its ability to control four other devices. The internal menu system looks the same on its other flat panels. Although not as slick as the menu system from the company's 2006 DLPs, it's intuitive enough to navigate.

We appreciated the ability to choose and rename inputs from the menu, as well as the helpful information explaining various menu items. Like most other 50 inch plasmas available today, the Samsung HP-S5043 has a native resolution of 1,366x768 pixels. That's enough to display every detail of incoming 720p HDTV programs. All signals, whether HDTV, standard definition TV, DVD, or computer, are scaled to fit the native resolution.


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