Originally Posted by gstarr
Comparison shopping for HDTV's in a Best Buy or other big barn store is generally a fools errand. The only thing you can really discern in a big box store is what features you want to have and the design of the set, because it certainly isn't going to help you much in determining picture quality. It will tell you which picture has the biggest "slam", not the best picture. No one watches TV in rooms that bright, nor should they.
The incredibly bright lighting in these stores means that anything other than an LCD will look washed out. You can get a sun burn faster in these stores than you could determine picture quality. This is the reason why Pioneer, Sony, Vizio, and others have dropped out of the Plasma game. They couldn't pass the Best Buy test--meaning that plasma, front projection, and rear projection don't have anywhere near as bright a picture as their LCD counterparts. This brightness differenciation is particularly magnified in big box stores when every HDTV is biased heavily in the vivid or bright mode. LCD's will always win the brightness test if that is what you are looking for. Big Box Stores realize that most consumers will perceive the brighter picture as having the better picture, which any videophile and video engineer knows is definitely not the case.
The salespeople at Best Buy have stated that they have made no adjustments to the sets. We were permitted to view the sets in any selectable mode and would probably be allowed to see what the range of adjustments are if we asked, but I did not need to do this. The picture quality is something I will judge for myself, rather than take anyone's word for it. People that paid too much for their sets are defensive about their purchases, and tend to make claims that don't bear a first hand inspection.
The room that contained the sets I was watching was not overly bright as you claim, and the Best Buy was not the only location where I found the Samsung, but it was the one where I could actually directly compare it to the Pioneer.
Actually, I watch television in a variety of settings, including normal room lighting. If a set can't perform in these conditions then I don't want it.
Originally Posted by gstarr
I have a Samsung 52" LCD/with LED backlighting in my living room and in my upstairs media room I have a Pioneer 60" plasma which my wife has commandeered away from me because she likes the picture better. So when I want to watch sports I am relegated to the living room while she goes upstairs to watch her chick-flicks and favorite shows.
I really can't argue with her, because the Pioneer picture is both better on DirecTV HD broadcasts and on Standard Definition and Blu Ray movies. The Pioneer plasma has a smidge better black level which enhances the contrast and makes the picture have great grey scaling. But I think the real difference is mostly seen in Blu Ray movies (and also SD movies) where the picture has a smoother analog quality than the Samsung. This is not to say I don't think the Samsung is an excellent HDTV--it is. But it just isn't quite as good.
My wife preferred the Samsung picture as do I. We watch it with Dish Network HD (and SD) content, as well as with BD and DVD content. (We also got a Wii free with the set and it looks great on that, though it is not state of the art video content!.) I cannot wait to try my computer on it!!) As I stated in a prior post, it is not what I want as my primary set (mainly due to its smaller size), but I find it a very pleasurable compromise.