CNET First Look
Samsung PN50B650Samsung's PNB650 series can't quite match the best plasmas on the market, but it comes close enough to offer a viable alternative.
[ Music ] >> David Katzmaier: Hi. I'm David Katzmaier, Senior Editor at CNET, and this is the Samsung PN50B650. There's also a 58-inch member of the B650 series, and this review will apply to both models. This TV is kind of in the middle of Samsung's plasma lineup. It does have a sleek, kind of red styling around the edge here. You'll notice that there's a dark red tint around the frame of the screen as well as the glass base that also has a swivel on it. So that's kind of a unique styling feature. Most of the TV's out there are glossy black with no kind of color in them. The color does extend to the menu system itself, which offers a good range of adjustments. You can play with color temperature, color spacing, even choose this new cinema smooth mode for film. It actually allows the TV to properly reproduce 1080p 24 content from Blu-Ray, which is a nice new feature this year although in our testing it didn't work as well as it should have. The back panel does include a good selection of inputs. There are 3 HDMI's as well as a PC input in the back. The side panel adds a fourth HDMI input. This TV also has Yahoo widgets feature, which is, allows it to go out on the Internet and find things like weather reports and even advanced things like Flicker or interface with a Twitter widget. There's more widgets coming down the pipe, and our testings feature was a little less than advertised. However, it's really slow to use so if you're relatively inpatient, I would wait for an update for them to fix this kind of sluggish response time with Yahoo widgets. We took the Samsung into the lab, and we were very impressed by its picture quality. It does produce a very nice deep shade of black. Color accuracy, especially with all of the adjustments we mentioned, was excellent as well. The real hiccup, though, is when you try 1080p 24 content. It actually caused the picture settings to reset. So if you do laborious kind of picture setup in one setting and then you put it in 1080p 24 mode, it actually makes the picture look worse. So at the end of the day, we didn't really like that hitch, but otherwise, this TV is a very good performer for the money, and again, that's not a major knock against it. That's a quick look at the Samsung PN50B650, and I'm David Katzmaier. [ Music ]