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Samsung’s attitude towards the whole thorny plasma vs LCD debate is refreshingly non-partisan. Basically, so long as there are people out there wanting to buy both technologies, Samsung will continue to sell both as well. There’s none of this ‘trying to force you to go one way or the other’ nonsense championed by many rival brands.
Having said that, there’s no doubt that the majority of Samsung’s marketing push with its latest screens has been focussed on its LCD rather than its plasma contenders. Most specifically the sumptuously designed ‘hint of red’ A656 LCD models, numerous examples of which have performed very nicely in recent TrustedReviews tests.
So it’s with some curiosity that we get our hands on Samsung’s PS50A556: the first plasma TV we’ve seen from the Korean mega-corps in some time. Will this turn out to be one of Samsung’s best-kept secrets, or will the brand’s relative silence about its plasma screens be joined by a luke-warm performance?
First impressions, as usual with Samsung, are very promising. For the TV’s price of just £1040 for a 50in plasma TV is really quite amazing. Especially when that 50in plasma TV also happens to sport a Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 pixel count.
The set is also quite easy on the eye in its high-gloss black finish offset by a little semi-translucent strip along the bottom edge. Having said that, it’s certainly no rival for the A656 LCD models aesthetically, and doesn’t stand out from the crowd as much as Samsung TVs usually do.
It’s also not quite as emphatically well connected as many Samsung TVs. But that just means it ‘only’ has three v1.3 HDMIs like the vast majority of its rivals, rather than the grandstanding four found on other recent Samsung TVs. The PS50A556 does still retain, though, the handy ‘Wiselink’ USB 2.0 port for direct playback of JPEG images from USB storage devices, alongside the customary D-Sub PC and SCART options.
People looking to fit the PS50A556 into a custom, fully wired home cinema installation might be annoyed that the set has no RS-232C control port. But to be honest, we suspect that the majority of such people will be looking a little higher up the AV tree for their big-screen centrepiece.
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