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Samsung PS50B650 50in plasma TV - Samsung PS50B650

Another unusual feature of the PS50B650 is its Content Library: a built-in stash of multimedia files including everything from recipes to children's stories. You can remove and add stuff to this if you wish, again via the USB inputs, though the content you can add is effectively limited to what Samsung makes available on its website. Innovative though this feature is, I have to say I feel the same about it here as I did about it on the LE40B651; namely, that it's fun for a first visit or two, but probably isn't something you'll feel compelled to go back to very often. Unless you can't resist some of the recipes…

Turning to the picture technology inside the PS50B650, we find a 100Hz engine, Samsung's DNIe video processing engine, an Edge Enhancer, a dynamic contrast system, a flesh tone adjustment, and a black tone booster. Plus the screen boasts Samsung's Ultra Filter Bright Plus technology, a black-coated film added to the screen in order to minimise glare and reflections and boost perceived contrast. In fact, in typically optimistic fashion, Samsung declares the PS50B650 capable of a record-breaking contrast ratio of 3,000,000:1!

Most of the features listed above can have their status adjusted in the screen's attractive onscreen menus, with one final interesting little tweak being a ‘Cell Light' option that lets you adjust the core brightness output of the plasma cells in much the same way that some LCD TVs let you manually adjust the core output of their backlights.

How good the PS50B650's pictures are depends very much - more than I'm entirely comfortable with, in fact - on what you feed it. In other words, it's another case of nice HD, shame about the standard def…

Not that anything actually looks much good if you stick with the ridiculous Dynamic image preset the TV ships with, mind you. This overcooks colour and contrast to such a ludicrous degree that absolutely everything looks gaudy and completely unnatural. Yeuch. Even the Standard setting makes colours look too strong.

Fortunately the Movie presets allow you to gain an almost instant improvement, though I'd still strongly recommend that you calibrate things yourself, as even the least knowledgeable of you should be able to work a clear improvement.

Anyway, getting back to what I was saying a couple of paragraphs ago, HD footage really does look very good indeed. Dark scenes, for instance, immediately reveal the PS50B650 to have a really excellent black level response, able to show the darkest of corners with only marginal signs of the grey clouding that still troubles most flat TVs. Though the fact that there's any greyness at all obviously means it doesn't reach the same black level profundity of Pioneer's legendary KURO plasma TVs, in spite of its 3,000,000:1 contrast ratio claim.

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