|Samsung PPM63H3 63-inch Plasma Monitor|
|Home Theater Flat Panel HDTVs Plasma HDTVs|
|Written by Jerry Del Colliano|
|Sunday, 01 August 2004|
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Downside and Other Comments
Samsung claims a 1000:1 contrast ratio. I don’t have a way of measuring this, but it does seem reasonable in comparison to other sets I have seen and their reported stats. About the highest I have seen claimed is 3000:1 by Panasonic, and their sets do seems to have great contrast. Industry conjecture is that Panasonic achieves this by driving their phosphors harder, which gains extra contrast but at the cost of screen life. A typical plasma TV has a life expectancy of 30,000 hours, but a Panasonic supposedly has one of 15,000 hours. The set has a native resolution of 1366 x 768, which is the highest currently available in a flat screen (at least that I am aware of). Many better 50-inch sets have the same resolution, and several people asked if the pixels become more visible on the larger set. Simply stated, no, they do not. I never felt like I was seeing individual pixels (aka the “screen-door effect,” usually very noticeable on LCD projectors). The set has a charcoal gray border around it, which is the ideal border for the viewing surface. I’ve seen a few plasmas with glossy black borders, which are very reflective, very distracting and a very poor design choice. Many consumer plasmas have a satin silver border, which is also very good from a viewing standpoint and cosmetically more attractive in many applications.
Lack of an HDMI input could be a problem for many users who see this connection method as the future for HDTV. I was able to get stunning results from component video in the analog domain so I am not too concerned. The basic fact is that this plasma was designed and was being built before or at the time when HDMI was being approved (last fall), so it is hard to expect it to have the connection. While I have yet to test it, DVI inputs, which this set has, are supposedly easily converted to HDMI with an adaptor.
The Samsung PPM63H3 does not have the absolute best picture quality of any plasma display that I have seen, but it is up there. The PPM63H3 does have the largest screen size of any plasma I have seen and that counts for a lot. All plasmas have a similar set of limitations in terms of contrast and shadow detail, but size comparisons are absolute. This is a huge monitor, and I loved having a chance to spend time with it. In comparison to the Pioneer PDP-503CMX 50-inch plasma that I had a chance to also spend time with, the extra 13 inches of screen size made a gigantic difference in my overall enjoyment. A 63-inch monitor is nearly large enough to create a full theater effect, especially in a modest-sized media room. It has nearly every type of input that you would likely need (while it does not have an HDMI input, it does have a DVI input, which is supposed to by fully compatible with HDMI sources). The set is only four inches thick; many similar or even smaller sets are five to five-and-a-half inches deep. That extra one to one-and-a-half inches of depth absolutely makes a very noticeable difference when this giant is hanging on your wall. At over $15,000, this set is certainly not for everyone. But at 63 inches, it is definitely one of the few sets that should be considered for a higher-end plasma-based media room.