Fewer and fewer mainstream companies seem willing to embrace both LCD and plasma technology. But despite its clear market edge in the LCD world, Samsung is one that does. In fact, the company remains adamant that it will make plasma TVs for as long as it perceives there’s a market for them.
Admirable though this sentiment is, it’s pretty irrelevant if Samsung doesn’t lavish as much attention on its plasma TVs as it clearly does on its LCD ones. So let’s find out just how deep the company’s plasma commitment goes by checking out one of its step-up models, the PS-42P7HD.
The first thing to say about this 42in set is that it’s really pretty cheap for a TV that’s positioned above the entry level. The second thing to say about it is that as per usual with Samsung, it’s very easy on the eye indeed in its gloss black finish and minimalist lines. Clearly Samsung’s design department hasn’t been devoting all of its time to the company’s exotic LCD models.
Moving on to connections, our HD needs are decently met by twin HDMI sockets and a component video input. There’s also a nice bit of multimedia support in the form of a 9-in-2 multimedia card slot and a USB input so that you can play MP3, JPEG and MPEG4 video files directly into the TV. Finally, the usual TV basics of a Scart, S-Video input and composite video input are joined by a D-Sub PC port so the TV can function as a monitor.
The good first impressions raised so far are built on steadily by the 42P7HD’s healthy-looking feature list. Kicking this off is a digital tuner, supported by all the usual 7-day electronic programme guide finery and the facility to set timer events directly from the EPG for recording. The only hitch is that we couldn’t find a way to scroll along the EPG listings faster than a couple of programmes at a time, leading to some serious tedium when trying to find something in the listings a whole seven days ahead.