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Home - Plasma TV - Plasma TV Reviews - Samsung Plasma HDTVs - 2011

Date: 27th June 2011

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Issues discussed in this Samsung Plasma HDTV Review article:

Blue bullet  Samsung Plasma HDTVs... Among the plasma TVs most in demand

Blue bullet  Series 4 and 5: Entry-level 720 and 1080p Samsung plasma HDTVs

Blue bullet  PND6500 Mid-range Series: Best TV option for general home entertainment use

Blue bullet  PND7000 Series: For the best-selling 64-inch premium plasma TV

Blue bullet  Samsung PND8000: Rated as the best HDTV for 2011 irrespective of display technology.

The Samsung PN59D8000 Plasma HDTV 

Samsung PN59D8000 59-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Plasma HDTV with Samsung Smart TV

Rated as the best TV Samsung ever made and a TV of outstanding performance by Cnet, the PN59D8000 is characterized by exceptional picture quality, an ultra-slim profile and one of the best smart TV applications complemented by built-in Wi-Fi and Skype among others.

Available from Amazon US

Samsung Plasma HDTVs: Among the most in demand

Samsung plasma HDTVs are often the preferred choice among those looking for best overall value. Partly, the reason is the continued improvement in picture quality of Samsung plasma HDTVs. Since 2009, we have seen more than just a significant improvement in this respect. And Samsung 2011 plasma line is promising even more.

Rather, with its latest plasma lineup, Samsung has come up with what Cnet in its plasma TV review of the 59-inch Samsung PN59D8000, dubbed as the best HDTV for 2011 irrespective of display technology despite the tough competition from Panasonic VT30 series plasma HDTVs. It comes to no surprise therefore that the PND8000 series is also the one enjoying the best ratings in plasma TV reviews submitted by customers on amazon.

Yet, while the flagship series is becoming the TV of choice among videophiles - mainly thanks to a more competitive price over Panasonic, what is a big seller among discerning buyers looking for the best value is the 64" PN64D7000 Samsung plasma TV.

It lacks the Local Contrast Enhancer feature found on the D8000 and that according to Samsung automatically optimizes the dynamic contrast for different areas of the picture on the fly instead of averaging over the whole picture area, but otherwise it is capable of practically very similar picture quality of the D8000 but at a cheaper price.

In fact, the D7000 is more than $600 cheaper than the flagship D8000 series and at least $500 than the equivalent Panasonic GT30 premium series. In other words, the D7000 Samsung plasma HDTV series has a lot to offer for those looking for a great picture at a more affordable price.

As Panasonic had their black level issue in 2009, Samsung to face customers complaining of a soft buzzing noise from its plasma TVs.  As expressed in our Plasma TV FAQs article, this is typically of plasma TVs but admittedly, it can also be annoying for some. This issue was mainly solved with 2010 generation plasma TVs and which accordion to a plasma TV review on Cnet, were 'quite enough' one would doubt if any viewer would find it irksome. Yet 2011 seems to have a brought a further improvement in this respect - with much less audible buzzing.

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The 2011Samsung Plasma HDTV Lineup ...in detail

As stated earlier on in this discussion, for 2011, Samsung is presenting 17 different plasma TV models; these are spread over seven series, ranging from among the cheapest plasma TVs for 2011 but that far from being simply bare-bones HDTVs, to some of the most advanced 3D HDTVs.

Series 4 and 5 Samsung plasma HDTVs

At the entry-level, we find Samsung Series 4 with the D450 and D490 HDTVs; these are basically no-frills 720p HDTVs available in a rather unusual 43-inch and 51-inch screen sizes. 

Though they are entry-level HDTVs, they are still capable of doing a great job at what a TV should do best - delivering a solid picture. The only significant difference between the D450 and the D490 is presence of 3D support on the latter.

As expected, these form part of the so called cheap plasma TV category - with sets such as the 43-inch PN43D450 and the 51-inch PN51D450 Samsung plasma HDTVs selling for $540 and $700 respectively; no wonder these are also among the best selling TVs within the Samsung plasma HDTV lineup for 2011.

Next in line is Samsung Series 5 entry-level 1080p HDTVs with its five models spread over the D530 and the D550 sets and covering screen sizes from 51-inch to 64-inch. The only significant difference between the two is that the D550 feature AllShare (DLNA support) and 3D - otherwise they both share the same picture quality. Most popular among HDTV buyers is the 51-inch PN51D550 which at under $1,000 represents a relatively affordable option. Partly, the success of the D550 series arises out of the minimal difference with respect to the D530 counterpart.

However, Series 5 Samsung  plasma HDTVs face serious competition from both the Panasonic S30 and ST30, and the LG PZ550. In particular, the Panasonic TC-P50S30 2D plasma TV  with its Easy IPTV feature represents a much cheaper and in our opinion interesting TV entertainment option than the Samsung 3D PN51D550 for those looking for big screen TV entertainment on a budget.

Series 6 Mid-range HDTVs

Samsung Series 6 D6500 continues to built on the D550 feature set by adding the latest Samsung Smart TV feature - or rather Samsung updated Internet@TV in that the Smart TV version as available on both the D6500 and the D7000 series do not support neither Web browsing nor Skype. Mind you, you would not be missing much and you would still be getting a most valid Internet TV entertainment platform. Using Skype on the only plasma TV supporting this feature (the D8000) requires the relatively expensive Skype camera kit while the Web browsing experience on smart TVs is still far from what you enjoy on a PC; it is only suitable for only the occasional browsing.

The D6500 also introduces Samsung's new ultra-slim 1.5-inch thin design for 2011. The PND6500 is one of three Samsung plasma HDTV series that come with an ultra slim design; the other two series are the PND7000 premium lineup and the PND8000 flagship series.

A most welcome feature is the built-in Wi-Fi interface - which basically frees a USB port on your TV apart from saving some $80 in a USB Wi-Fi dongle. And as with previous years, Samsung remained the only plasma TV maker that is still providing a basic Picture-in-Picture functionality.

The D6500 does not support the same deep blacks as the D7000 series; it misses on the Rel Black Filter found on the D7000 and D8000 HDTVs. But otherwise, it comes with an almost identical feature set to that of the more expensive D7000 series - and yes, an equally capable picture performance - one that makes it among the best TV options for general home entertainment use.

Best-selling model from within Series 6 Samsung  plasma HDTV line is the 59-inch PN59D6500 - 3D TV which for just $100 more than the D550 series gives you a more stylish ultra-slim design and one of the best and most complete smart TV platforms available on the latest HDTVs.

PND7000 Series Premium Samsung Plasma HDTVs

Next in line is the PND7000 plasma TV series with its 51-inch, 59-inch, and 64-inch HDTVs.

As expressed earlier on, the only significant upgrade over the D6500 is the presence of the Rel Black Filter which helps deliver improved picture performance thanks to deeper black levels and improved  picture performance under bright room conditions.

As with the Panasonic GT30 HDTVs, the D7000 series Samsung plasma TVs are mainly aimed for the videophile 'on a budget.' It does not deliver the superb picture performance of D8000 plasma TVs.

Samsung popular 64-inch PN64D7000 3D Plasma HDTV

Samsung PN64D7000 64-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Plasma TV (available from amazon)

But overall picture quality is quite close to that of the flagship series; the PND7000 Samsung plasma HDTV is capable of excellent overall 2D and 3D picture quality characterized by deep black levels, highly accurate color that outdo the GT30, and solid video processing.

Despite the though competition from both the LG PZ750 and PZ950, and the Panasonic GT30, it is the Samsung D7000 - and in particular the Samsung PN64D7000 that is doing better in TV sales. Partly the reason is the price advantage of the Samsung vis-à-vis the Panasonic. Instead, the PZ750 does have a price advantage over the D7000 but picture quality of the LG is not exactly in line with that of the Samsung. Besides, the largest HDTV size in the LG lineup is 60-inch.

Series PND8000 Samsung Plasma HDTVs

The PND8000 is Samsung flagship series of Plasma TVs. During these last years, the battle for the best plasma HDTV has always been Samsung vs. Panasonic inasmuch as the best LED LCD TVs title is always one fought between Samsung and Sony. It is therefore no surprise that the Samsung D8000 series - together with the Panasonic VT30 - represent the most awaited HDTV lineups by those looking for the best TV picture.

D8000 Samsung plasma HDTVs represent Samsung top-of-the-line HDTVs for 2011. As with the D7000, the D8000 series comprises three screen sizes, 51-inch, 59-inch, and 64-inch.

The D8000 design is characterized by a supposedly more refined styling with a rather strange quad-legged base; but TV stand apart, the panel design is still extremely stylish and attractive. The major difference between Series 7 and Series 8 Samsung plasma HDTVs is the presence of the Local Contrast Enhancer already referred to earlier on in this plasma TV review; this is said to improve the dynamic contrast on the fly on a picture zone basis rather than the entire picture area. The D8000 also features a more enhanced Smart TV platform complemented by a Web browser and Skype support apart from all other features found on the less expensive D7000 series.

The D8000 Samsung plasma HDTV come with a more advanced TV flip-type remote (ref. to our Smart TV Guide for more details) that makes it much easier to control the functionality supported by the smart TV platform; it is not as effective as the Magic Motion remote found on LG flagship smart TVs but it still provides an easy way of controlling the smart TV functionality - mainly thanks to a small LCD screen on the Qwerty keyboard side of the flip remote that make sit possible to see exactly what you are typing without having to look at the TV screen.

This Samsung plasma HDTV series has been rated by Cnet in a recently published plasma TV review by David Katzmaier, as the best HDTV overall for 2011 reviewed so far - notwithstanding it does deliver the same level of shadow detail supported by the Panasonic VT30 series. The Samsung D8000 series delivers outstanding overall 2D and 3D picture quality, with excellent black-level performance, and the most accurate color of any TV - and this despite as is typical for Samsung, the PND8000 series miss the THX picture mode found on corresponding Panasonic and LG HDTVs.

And notwithstanding the shinny plasma screen, the new Rel Black Filter on the D8000 and D7000 series can also handle bright room conditions well, doing better than any other TV in delivering improve blacks even under bright light conditions while still maintaining shadow detail in the darker parts of the image.

Overall, the Samsung D8000 may be expensive but this is a flagship HDTV and definitely one of the very the best HDTVs for 2011, delivering a picture quality that is equal to that of the Panasonic VT30 but at a significantly cheaper price. Add Samsung's extremely stylish ultra-slim design and the extensive feature set - unmatched by Panasonic - and there you have the best overall HDTV for 2011   irrespective of display technology.

It is no wonder therefore that sets such as the 59-inch PN59D8000 and the 51-inch PN51D8000 3D Samsung plasma HDTVs are the top-selling flagship HDTVs at major stores like amazon for 2011.

Are you looking for an affordable Plasma TV?

We advise to do some research of your own when planning a plasma TV purchase. A good starting point is the customer feedback posted on the amazon site; see what other customers had to say about quality, functionality, customer support, etc.

You can search the amazon storefront without leaving our site by using the search box below; your search results will appear here under. To access the customer feedback, click on your favorite plasma TV to access the respective product page and then follow through the customer feedback on the same page for the relevant details:


A large selection of plasma TVs is also available from amazon UK


Plasma HDTV Installation Guides

For a professional installation job!

Where to Place and How to Hang Your Plasma TV: Discover how to select an optimum place for your plasma TV set; explore alternative mounting options, and learn how to mount a TV in its new environment.

Installing a Plasma TV Wall Mount: Are you thinking of wall mounting your plasma television set? Find out all you need to know on how to install a plasma TV wall mount the professional way.

Installing a Plasma TV over the Fireplace Mounting a plasma television over the fireplace is a great way to display your new flat-panel TV. Discover more in this Plasma TV Installation Guide.

For additional details on available flat-panel TV mounts, please check also our Guide to LCD TV Mounts; the information contained in this guide applies to both plasma television sets and LCD/LED HDTVs

Use of Wiring Channels for flat-panel TV Installations: Designed for the home installer with basic DIY skills, wiring channels make for ease of TV installation and a professional looking job.

TV Viewing Distance Guide: Discover how the TV screen size and image resolution relate to your viewing distance for a truly immersive viewing experience.

Note: This guide deals with 2D TV viewing; for 3D HDTVs, please refer to our article 3D TV Viewing Explained.


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Protecting your Plasma TV Investment: Simple steps you can take to keep your plasma TV unit performing at its best.

Plasma TV FAQs: Answers to a comprehensive list of Plasma Television FAQs, covering use, technology, and even fictions you might have heard or read about.

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Suggested further reading:

- Plasma TVs: What to look for

- Plasma TV FAQs

- Installing a Plasma TV Wall Mount

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