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Samsung does plasma well, too

CNET editors review the Samsung PNB650 series of plasma TVs and find it performs almost as well as Panasonic's best models.

Samsung's PNB650 series comes close to the best plasmas on the market. Sarah Tew/CNET

With the exit of heavy-hitter Pioneer from the plasma racket, just three major makers remain: Panasonic, Samsung, and LG. The latter two offer significantly more models of LCD TVs than of plasma, however, and seem more focused on LCD technology. Nonetheless, Samsung's 2009 plasmas, if the PNB650 series is any indication, are nearly the match of Panasonic's best.

The model we tested delivered superb black-level performance--significantly better than past Samsung plasmas--and the company's traditional accurate color. Samsung has also kept up with Panasonic on the feature front and delivers more picture adjustments, although we prefer Panasonic's VieraCast to Samsung's sluggish Yahoo Widgets when it comes to interactive features. Regardless, the superb overall package delivered by the PNB650 series once again poses a difficult decision for plasma HDTV buyers.

Read the full review of the Samsung PNB650 series.