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back to article Samsung PS42Q97HDX 42in plasma HD TV

You know how it is - you're sitting one day in front of your trusty CRT watching Apocalypse Now when you're suddenly struck by the feeling that you really aren't getting the full-fat cinematic experience. Fast forward two weeks, and some poor delivery bloke is heaving an enormous box out the back of a lorry, the contents of …

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Pointless?

Why review (or indeed even buy) a 42" HDTV without having a HD signal available to pump through it? Upscaled DVDs don't quite count. It's a bit of a pointless review if you ask me, because the whole reason for HDTVs existing is that they can be used to display HD images, yet I'm none the wiser as to how this TV performs in that department!

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1080 or 720

I'm not sure if I am missing something here, but although you mention 1080 twice in the article, the resolution of the screen is 'only' 1,024 × 768 which is, I believe, therefore only capable of 720 p/i.

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Please clarify, Lester

You say

Get a DVD player which can pump out 1080i or - even better - 1080p via HDMI.

and go on to say...

Hi-def Discs Forget 'em until the Blu-ray/HD DVD thing is settled, and they actually produce a decent range of films on the winning format

Why bother getting the player if you're not going to get the discs?

/scratches head.

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1080i

Why get a TV that handles 1080p and then get an upscaling DVD player that only displays 1080i?

I have the Samsung M87 46" LCD and the quality is very good, even with normal TV, although that's through cable not through a roof aerial.

I'd certainly recommend a Samsung if anyone asked.

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Stop

Samsung HDTVs - be carefull

As some models have a little sticker that says '1080p input', which is nothing of the kind at all, it means it can re-interlace a 1080p signal to display it on the screen in 1080i mode, which is a bit cheeky to say the least!

Also HD is dramatically higher res than SD, I do some HDV filming/editing and I would compare it to listening to a fave album on tape, then hearing it on CD!

My ha'penny for the day.

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720P

Lester, out of interest, have you tried the 720P output mode? I ask because there’s not much point upscaling to 1080I when you’re feeding a 768x1024 screen; since the TV will have to downscale it in order to display it, and the whole point of an upscaling DVD player is to avoid using the TV’s internal scaler entirely. Regardless of how good your scalers are, scaling something twice is definitely to be avoided.

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No good if it can't handle standard def

It's all very well testing a telly with DVDs and HD stuff, but in the real world that most of us poor sods are stuck in, it's how good it is for Sky+ and Freeview that matters.

This is where many flatscreens fall down. LCDs are the worst, unless they're so tiny you can't see the artifacts all over the place. In my experience, Panasonic plasmas are among the best for 'normal' telly - on my 37" Panny Sky looks great, even slightly zoomed in on non-widescreen stuff. Obviously, the larger you go, the more likely you are to see artifacts at the same sitting distance.

One benefit of HD for the rest of us: anything recorded in HD looks way better in SD (standard definition) as well.

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Stop

Clarification

This TV is allowed to say it's 'HD Ready', but it's not even capable of 720p resolution (1280×720). And yes, like others, I'm wondering why an 'HD Ready' TV is being reviewed without an HD source being attached to it.

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Some more beef please

This article is way too light for the intended audiance of El Reg.

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This TV is 720p

I have one of these sets. It is brilliant. But, it is not a 1080 screen. It will accept a 1080i signal but not a 1080p signal. And if you feed it a 1080i signal it will downscale it to 720p anyway (plasma's are inherently progressive).

So you'd likely see a marginally better quality signal by outputting the DVD at 720p, avoiding pointless extra upscaling by the player, and resultant downscaling by the TV.

Upscaled DVD may look great, but BluRay IS noticeably better than upscaled DVD.

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Paris Hilton

This guy likes his new TV

This fella spent over 1000 yoyos on a new TV and he liked it. Shocking.

Seriously though. The point of this review is lost on me as well.

However like steve I have a Samsung 40m87 as well. Its not their flagship model anymore but i can certainly recommend Samsung TVs.

Paris because she looks like shes also confused about which TV to buy!

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Resolution screwups

As others have said, why output 1080i to a 1024*768 set? You're upscaling to 5x the number of pixels, then the TV is downscaling 2.5x, thus introducing an extra level of errors. Just send SD to the set, and let its internal scaler do the work, you'll get a better picture.

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jai
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not trueHD

I dunno - 800quid for a 1080i plasma? i'd rather spend the same money for a 1080p lcd i think. i know plasmas have better blacks, but i've seen a film on a 1080i and then i've watched it on a 1080p and while the differences were subtle, it was possible to notice them. i don't think a plasma really gives that much of a benefit to warrant not getting 1080p

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Comet or Currys?

I've been looking for a big big tv. One thing I have noticed is the in Comet stores all the TVs have a display card which list the actual screen res, but go into Currys and none and I mean none of the shelf tickets give any info about the spec, no res, no brightness nothing. It's as if the have some thing to hide. I also noticed most if not all large plasma screens appear to be 1024*768 (I may be wrong).

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Bad review of the review.

This is a great TV ( Ive just bought one ) and that was a terrible review!

As others have said, I cant believe it was tested without a HD source ( listen to your son - get that PS3! )

The thing to note about this TV is value. You can get it for £ 600 + 5 year warranty if you shop around.

It costs £1000 for the 50" version of this , or the Sammy 46" 1080p LCD costs around £1500 ( your eye can only see the difference in the higher res when you go over 42" )

This may not be the best TV out there, but its very good and you cant complain at that price. Or at least thats the conclusion I came to after 5 days of soul destroying research and a £ 2k budget.

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Philips 42" is nice too

I have a Phillips 42" plasma that was widely sold at the end of last year for only £650. It supports 720p or 1080i. I don't have any HD sources because the reason I bought it was that my CRT died and if I could have gotten a flatscreen 32" CRT to replace it I would have. Sadly those things are apparently only available via mail order now, so I got the plasma.

I view DVD at 480p/576p through component and it looks terrific. I have no interest in Blu-Ray/HD-DVD regardless of format wars and my console of choice is the Wii.

Digital telly via RGB-SCART looks comparable to CRT; the built-in freeview tuner interface is shite so I still use my Goodmans digibox.

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1080p vs 720p

As I (and others) already said - this is a 720P screen.

But, 1080p isn't always better. This depends on the source you are watching, and your viewing distance.

A 720 screen will (usually) display SD content better than a 1080 screen, because it has less scaling to do. (Incidentally this TV is superb via Virgin cable).

The viewing distance is also important. Unless you are sitting very close to the screen (say, less than 6 feet), you won't notice the 1080p very much. At 8-10 ft you simply won't tell the difference on a 42" screen. If you have a 50" then the distances go up a bit and 1080 is more useful.

Also, bear in mind that everything displayed by this TV is 720p, regardless of source. So even you analogue SD broadcasts and normal DVDs are displayed at 720; it's just a matter of whether the TV or a different bit of kit (like an upscaling dvd player) does the upscaling.

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To be fair

Is it actually possible to buy a 40"+ LCD/Plasma that isn't HD Ready these days? If all you want to do is watch standard definition, then you'd definitely be better off with a native standard definition set, but I don't think I've actually seen one that size for quite a while. Large screen these days seems to mean HD-Ready, whether you like it or not.

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Flame

HD doesn't exist

If you bother to research this shite you will realise that 'HD'= compensation for the fact that a pixel is a square and not a circle. It is all bullshit. HDMI signals are purely the industry solution to essentially LCD TV's not being able to run at a high enough resolution to not suck.

Stick to CRT until there a no more TV repair men to fix them.

I have PS3 I use it to watch dvd's and blu-ray + games on a classic flat screen crt that I have had for over a decade and it looks top notch, I have viewed the same signal on a hd lcd and a bloody expensive one at that and there is no difference.

Consumers it is time to wake up and smell the scandal.

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CRT for me, ta

"Stick to CRT until there a no more TV repair men to fix them." (anonymous coward)

Couldn't agree more. The paramaters for a flatscreen to produce a good pic have to be finely tuned to the point of ridiculousness. By this I mean that any link in the chain can balls it up.

Buy an expensive telly with the wrong output? Never mind, just spend the next few years KNOWING that you're missing out on 1080p.

Get the wrong kind of DVD player? Oops.

Watching a channel with rubbish compression? Welcome to artifact city.

Honestly, unless you really can drop a couple of thousand and not notice it, stick with CRT. They'll make almost any signal look good.

Also, I second everything that has been said about the reviewer. Why is El Reg getting someone who plainly neither knows nor cares about telly to review, er, a telly? Would they do that with a graphics card? Or a mobe?

Case in point 1: "This means it's back to the old CRT in the spare room to watch the news, while reserving the Samsung for DVDs."

So you can watch DVDs on your television but not, er, television. (The "tele" bit in television roughly means "at a distance" and refers to broadcasting or similar technologies like IPTV or whatever replaces it)

Case in point 2: "I'm personally not really that bothered about having the absolute last word in terms of quality"

What!?

Just, grr.

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