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CNET First Look
Samsung PN50C590Samsung's mainstream PNC590 series offers solid performance but won't wow sticklers looking for plasma nirvana.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> David Katzmaier, senior editor from CNET here with the Samsung PNC590 series. This is a 50-inch plasma TV. There is also a 58- and a 63-inch, a lot larger models in this series, but this review does apply to all three. We expect their picture quality to be pretty much identical. This is one of Samsung's mainstream plasmas for 2010. It doesn't have the Internet features or some of the extra whiz-bang picture quality adjustments found on the higher-end models, nor is it 3D, but it is a pretty much basic plasma TV. Samsung dressed the TV in basic black around the edges here. It's a similar size bezel. It's coated in glossy black. There's also a transparent border that adds a touch of class. The stand itself is also transparent along the base and matching along the edge of the stand, so overall it's a very sleek look. You'll notice from the side that this TV is not as thin as a lot of others on the market. It's about 2.8-inches deep. We really don't mind that extra thickness, however. Most people watch their TV from the front and not the side. We mention features at the top. This TV doesn't have all that many but its conductivity is fairly solid with three HDMI, two-component video, and a PC input on the back panel. There's also this Ethernet connection that's really only for firmware updates and to stream photos, videos, and music from a home network. It doesn't actually connect to the Internet to do things like Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand. The side panel also has a USB port and a fourth HDMI input. The picture quality adjustments are a little bit truncated compared to some higher-end TVs, but there is a full white balance menu as well as the ability to tweak gamma and a couple of other picture quality features. There's also a cinema smooth selection and a film menu. That's designed for 1080 P24 sources, but in our testing we found that it didn't work all that well. Speaking of testing, this TV delivered decent performance, not as good as some of the better Samsung plasmas we tested and not as good as a Panasonic from this year, but there are relatively deep black levels. The shadow detail was also pretty good, but again, not the best we've seen. Color accuracy was the same story. The gray scale tended to a little bit towards blue, although overall it was again, pretty accurate. The TV also doesn't retain its black level as well under bright lighting as some other Samsungs we've seen, but on the flip side it does reduce reflections a little bit better. So that's a quick look at the Samsung PNC590 series, and I'm David Katzmaier. ^M00:02:21 [ Music ]