Thomas J. Norton

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 14, 2009 0 comments
Price: $2,400 At A Glance: Excellent resolution and color • Full adjustability • Blacks could be better • Ultra-thin 1.2-inch profile

Plasma Soldiers On

LCD televisions are everywhere these days. They fill the back walls of Best Buys, are lined up like hedgerows near the entrance of Costco, and fly out the door at Walmart. Even at this moment, they’re undoubtedly being flogged out of the back of a fleet of white vans in parking lots across the land.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 21, 2012 1 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,200 At A Glance: Compelling color and resolution • Superb value • Middling black level

Psst, buddy. Wanna buy a cheap plasma?”

You don’t often hear this from your friendly neighborhood white-van salesmen; they’re more into selling cardboard speakers. $1,200 HDTVs, no matter how good, just aren’t their thing.

They aren’t always ours, either, but when Samsung offered us the chance to have a look at its $1,200, 51-inch (diagonal) PN51E550D1F plasma, we couldn’t resist. That may be a lot of green for a public that once considered $300 a fair price for a new television, but today it falls solidly in the lowmid price range for a namebrand flat-screen HDTV in this size category.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 27, 2010 0 comments
Price: $2,700 At A Glance: Superb resolution • Accurate color • 2D-to-3D conversion mode • Solid blacks and contrast

3D Gets Big

It’s been over a year since we last reviewed a Samsung plasma. That’s no surprise. LCD displays now dominate the HDTV market to the tune of over 90 percent. In general, our reviews have followed that trend.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 27, 2011 5 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,000 At A Glance: Accurate color, excellent resolution • Exceptional control features • Good but relatively dim 3D

We’ve said it before: Plasmas are the sand-in-the-face-at-the-beach, wallflower, last-kid-picked members of the flat-panel team. LCDs clearly dominate today’s HDTV market. But plasmas are also the Cinderella stepsister whose beauty becomes obvious when you really look for it. And at least three major manufacturers, including Samsung, think enough of plasma sets that they continue to make and promote them.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 09, 2012 7 comments
3D Performance
2D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $2,530 At A Glance: Crisp resolution and superb color • Full control and calibration features • White uniformity could be better

With all the talk about LCD this and LED that, and the buzz about upcoming OLED sets that are expected to set the video world on fire (a very pricey fire, at least to begin with), plasmas are still very much with us. Samsung remains one of the technology’s biggest supporters, although LCD sets remain its bread and butter.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jun 14, 2013 8 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $3,150 At A Glance: Crisp, detailed picture • Superb color performance • Near reference-quality blacks and shadow detail

When Samsung launched its new line of plasma HDTVs at last January’s CES, we were impressed. Those early demos indicated improved black levels and overall good performance. We were surprised to find later that the prices, though not exactly “Attention, K-Mart shoppers!” specials, aren’t Beverly Hills exclusives, either. From what we see here, these new Samsung plasmas, while unlikely to alter the market dominance of LCD, are welcome additions to the battle.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 07, 2011 0 comments
No price, delivery date, or model number was offered on Samsung's 3D DLP video projector. It didn't look all that good, but possible culprits include the highly variable program material, the fact that the side of the booth opposite the screen was open to the well-lit show floor, the 3.0 gain screen (don't move off-center!), and seriously blown-out whites. But it did look much better than this prize-worthy photo.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 08, 2011 0 comments
With several manufacturers showing new 3DTV sets using passive rather than active glasses, Samsung took pains to point out the pros and cons of each device. Naturally, since Samsung does active glasses only at present, the pros outweighed the cons for the active glasses. Note some surprising items on the passive glasses list in the photo. The higher power consumption comes from the need for higher peak output to overcome the inherent loss of brightness with passive glasses due to the special patterned retarder filter that's used on the screen. And Samsung actually demonstrated the off-axis issues in a passive glasses set during a closed demonstration for the press. As always, however, the proof is in the reviewing and we're anxious to check out the new passive glasses sets for ourselves and come to our own conclusions.

With several manufacturers showing new 3DTV sets using passive rather than active glasses, Samsung took pains to point out the pros and cons of each device. Naturally, since Samsung does active glasses only at present, the pros outweighed the cons for the active glasses. Note some surprising items on the passive glasses list in the photo. The higher power consumption comes from the need for higher peak output to overcome the inherent loss of brightness with passive glasses due to the special patterned retarder filter that's used on the screen. And Samsung actually demonstrated the off-axis issues in a passive glasses set during a closed demonstration for the press. As always, however, the proof is in the reviewing and we're anxious to check out the new passive glasses sets for ourselves and come to our own conclusions.

Samsung also showed new, redesigned active glasses for its new 2011 3D sets.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 16, 2008 0 comments
Samsung has an unusual history with high-definition video projectors. Its most recent 720p DLP model, designed in consultation with video expert Joe Kane, was superb, even standard-setting in many important respects. But dealers were rare, and worse, the projectors arrived on the market just as comparably priced 1080p models were becoming available. They ultimately sold out to lucky buyers at bargain prices.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 26, 2009 0 comments
Price: $12,999 At A Glance: Fast calibration, accurate color • Superb detail • Video processing under par

Dynamic and Detailed

In these days of increasingly improved LCD and LCOS projectors, new DLP models seem to be few and far between. Some manufacturers have cut back on their premium DLP projector offerings (Sharp), and some have eliminated them altogether (Yamaha).

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