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Samsung PS50Q97HDX 50in Plasma TV - Samsung PS50Q97HDX
Samsung has also been busy beavering away at its plasma TVs' image processing, coming up with a quartet of new developments. For instance, a Silhouette Editor is on hand to try and improve plasma technology's common contour and noise issues when showing moving objects. It works by calculating ahead the likely movement in an image, figuring out where the contours are, and adjusting the image tone locally in order to minimise the visual ‘damage'.
Then there's Samsung's Natural True Colour system, which keeps constant tabs on colour tones as they move across the screen to ensure that their tone remains consistent.
Next up is something called Movie Plus, which creates additional frames of image data to insert between the ‘real' ones in a bid to make movement look crisper and more fluid.
Finally you get Smart Frame Plus, which I have to confess I know precious little about other than that it's designed to reduce image flicker.
More minor tweaks and features worth a passing mention include Samsung's Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) for improving colours, movement, black levels and sharpness; a black level booster; gamma fine tuning; and a self-explanatory ‘edge enhancer'.
The funny thing about all these features is that some of them actually appear to make pictures look worse rather than better. The Edge Enhancer, for instance, overcooks edges to a most unpleasant degree, making them stand out from the image in a very distracting way.
The Movie Mode should be treated with suspicion too, for while it certainly does make motion look smoother, its workings also tend to make moving objects look slightly unnatural and shimmery.
It's perhaps just as well, then, that you don't need either of these features to enjoy really decent pictures from the PS50Q97HDX.
Kicking off a host of good points is the screen's black level response, which does a fine job of trying to portray the darkness of the Louvre scenes in The Da Vinci Code, recorded in HD from Sky. There's precious little sign of the grey cloud over the darkest corners that's seen on so many flat TV rivals, plus there's a decent amount of visible detailing in dark areas, ensuring that they don't look hollow or flat.