Samsung PND7000With picture quality on par with the best TVs we've ever tested, the Samsung PND7000 plasma represents an excellent value for videophiles who don't demand to own the top of the line.
-Hi. I'm David Katzmaier from CNET and this is the Samsung PND7000 series. This TV is our favorite for 2011 and that makes it our holiday gift pick among all the TVs we've reviewed this year. This plasma TV is available in a 51, 59, and 64-inch size. We expect performance on all those sizes to be relatively similar, so all these comments will apply to every size in the series. Taking a look at how the PND7000 compares to the rest of the TVs we reviewed this year, we were really impressed by it's picture quality overall. This TV is the cheapest one we found that actually scored a 9. The other two that got a 9 in performance are a lot more expensive. It doesn't mean the PND7000 is cheap; however, it's still one of the more expensive plasma TVs on the market. One of the other TVs to score a 9 in performance was Samsung's PND8000 series. It's actually a little bit more expensive than this TV, but there is very similar picture quality between the two and we feel that the only difference, a remote, isn't worth the extra price. Looking at the design of this TV, it's one of the nicest looking plasma TVs we've seen. Around the edge is a very thin bezel that's a nice dark brush metal color. There is also a thin transparent edge. The TV itself presents one of the compact frames you'll find in a screen this large. The 7000 is also really thin so when seen from the side, you might mistake it for an LED TV. Samsung included a full boatload of features on this set. On top of the list is its smart TV application suite, which includes pretty much every streaming video service and application that we find of any value, there's Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, and a host of other services. Samsung does include a search on this TV, but it really doesn't work all that well. The real strength is again the breath of content. Samsung also includes an app store, which has more apps selection than any other TV manufacturers. While the selection of apps is broad, it's really not that deep. We are really mostly intrigued by some of the Google applications like Google Voice and Google Maps, which no other TV offers at this point. 7000 also has built-in WiFi which makes using all of those internet features relatively easy. You don't have to connect a wire to the TV in the living room or buy a third-party WiFi dongle. Like most other high-end Samsung TVs, this one includes plenty of features to adjust the picture quality and they actually work extremely well. If you use those features well enough, you'll find this TV has excellent reference color, the best we've tested this year. Apart of that is because it has a very full-fledged color management system as well as 10-point gray scale adjustment, both of which work very well. TV also has the ability to handle 1080p 24 sources, but when we checked that out, we actually found that it hurt the picture quality a little bit so we decided to stick with the standard 1080p 60 mode which isn't all that big of a deal unless you're a real stickler for video quality. Black levels aren't quite as deep as the Panasonic VT30 that we tested a little bit earlier. On the flip side, they're very, very deep and just about as good as you can expect from any VT30 TV. The set also has the excellent uniformity and off angle characteristics of plasma, which makes it a favorite among video files compared to LED and LCD TVs. Another bonus on the 7000 is it's relatively good with antireflective screen. When you turn on the lights in the room, it actually does a pretty good job of rejecting reflections and also preserving black levels. Around back, the Samsung has plenty of inputs. You'll find 4 HDMI, 2 USB as well as some component inputs and a PC input. The analogue inputs, however, require breakout cables, which is kinda necessitated by the really thin frame. 3D picture quality on the 7000 is excellent, among the best we've tested this year, outdoes most of the LCDs in terms of 3D, but not quite as good as the very best Samsung LCD we've tested. Samsung does not include any 3D glasses, but it does sell its least expensive version for 50 bucks a piece. There's also a step-up version here that's 150 bucks a piece that's a little cool looking. You can also find many bundles that include this glass for free depending on the vendor especially towards the holiday season. All told, the Samsung PND7000 series represents a complete package with excellent scores in design, features, and performance as well as being a very, very good value for a high-end TV. That's why we consider it our best pick and our holiday go-to choice for 2011. I'm CNET's David Katzmaier and that has been a look at Samsung's PND7000 plasma.