Samsung PN51E550D1F 3D Plasma HDTV HT Labs Measures

HT Labs Measures

Full-On/Full-Off Contrast Ratio: 2,554:1

All the measurements here were taken in the Movie picture mode.

The above 2D full-on/full-off contrast ratio was derived at a measured peak white level of 30.65 foot-lamberts and a full black reading of 0.012 ft-L. The Cell Light was set to 18, the Contrast to 95, the Brightness to 44, and the Gamma to –1.

As noted in the main review, on many full-field black screen images, the screen dropped full off and the black level became unmeasurable. But this was not the case when even a small portion of the screen was illuminated. In that case, the black level increased to the above value, which is the set’s lowest useful black level on real program material in the above settings. Relative to today’s best plasma sets, 0.012 ft-L is not a particularly impressive number, but those sets are considerably more expensive than this one. The blacks also looked subjectively better on most program material than this reading might indicate.

In 2D, the Gamma control’s –1 setting produced measured gammas ranging from a high of 2.26 at 20 percent and 90 percent brightness to a minimum of 2.15 at 70 percent, for an average of 2.21. In 3D, the –2 setting produced gammas ranging from a high of 2.43 at 90 percent brightness and a low of 1.89 at 20 percent, for an average of 2.12.

The RGB Balance charts show how well a display adheres to the D65 standard white point; the tighter the match of the three primary colors at each point across the brightness range, the nearer the result is to D65 at that point. The minimum pre-calibration 2D gray-scale Delta E was 0.73 at 20 percent brightness, the maximum 6.88 at 90 percent, and the average 4.32. Post-calibration, the minimum gray-scale Delta E was 0.79 at 20 percent, the maximum 1.32 at 80 percent, and the average 0.95. Delta E is a figure of merit showing how close the result is to the standard D65 white point. Most experts recommend a Delta E of 3.0 or less to produce a visually ideal result, though some loosen this tolerance to 4.0.

Optimizing the 3D white balance was more difficult, and though the result exceeded the above guidelines, it was acceptable. The charts are not shown here, but before calibration, the 3D gray-scale Delta E averaged 6.46. After calibration, the maximum Delta E was 4.69 at 100 percent, the minimum 0.88 at 20 percent, and the average 2.75.

The Gamut CIE chart shown is for 2D, post calibration—though no alterations were possible since there is no CMS (small tweaks in the Color and Tint control do affect the result, but they act on all colors at once so they can only crudely tweak the color gamut). The 2D result closely matches the Rec. 709 standard, and the overall 2D color Delta E averages 1.85 (maximum 3.77 in yellow). For 3D (CIE chart not shown), the results produced an average color Delta E of 8.25, with a maximum of 11.8 in red. Not particularly good, but the 3D color did look reasonably natural.—TJN


DSharkey's picture

Received the package within 4 days of ordering. I had scheduled the delivery w/ Pilot for their latest appointment available, which was 3-6pm. On the day of delivery, the TV arrived at 8AM so I didn't have to miss work. The delivery guy was courteous. He unpackaged and tested the product as was required. I'm very satisfied with delivery service.

Right off the bat, I was wary of the dreaded "buzz". It's been 20 days, and after close to 200 hrs of usage, I'm happy to report there is no annoying buzz. If I stand directly in front of the TV and close to the center, I hear a soft hum, but as soon as I take one step backwards, I don't hear it anymore.

Picture quality is amazing with the regular factory settings. Used the Disney WOW DVD to calibrate, and I was blown away even more with the quality of the deep blacks and color. The 3-D glasses that came with the TV seem to work great. I watched Alice in Wonderland in 3D, and didn't notice any ghosting. I am a little disappointed with the lack of anti-reflection on the screen. Most of our viewing is done at night anyway, so it's not a huge deal, but it does get a little annoying sometimes.

Having the Smart Hub apps was something I was really looking forward to. Amazon does not state that apps on E550 are limited compared to those available on the 6500 and higher. This meant no HBO Go for me. I tried accessing HBO Go through the built-in web browser, but I would need Silverlight to view any of the videos and that is something that cannot be done on this TV. I get plenty of use from the Hulu and Netflix apps, and even Vudu. Samsung seems to be adding new ones along the way, so I'm satisfied with that so far. If Samsung adds Amazon Instant Video to their line-up, I would change my 4 stars to 5.

The web browser initially felt very clunky. If you want to use the remote control for browsing, forget it! I downloaded the Samsung Remote App on my phone, and what a lifesaver that was! I would highly recommend doing that rather than buying a separate universal remote, assuming you already have a smartphone.

*Note: I suggest you have to check for best price at:

Overall, I'm very satisfied with my new Sammy, with price and quality.