Samsung Series 5 PN60E530 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz Plasma HDTV Review @ ModSynergy.com
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Boxing Day are shopping events that are celebrated and pushed across North America. When you read this review, Black Friday will follow shortly on November 23rd, 2012.
November is the time of the year that retailers are getting into that Christmas shopping mentality and offering all sorts of deals and promotions. People are beginning to get ready for the coming Christmas holidays of 2012, and if they can start early, the better for them as they would like to avoid impending craziness at the shopping malls right before Christmas. However, Black Friday is usually as one of the most busiest shopping days of the calendar.
One of the many items that people will always seek are electronic goods, and HDTV's. When there is always a sale, HDTV's are usually involved. Today I will be looking at one HDTV that you may want to keep an eye out during the sales and promotional periods leading up to Christmas. This model from Samsung is 60-inches large, Plasma technology based, is offered in a slim modern package with thin bezels, and the best part is that it can be found quite easily during this period for well under $1000.
Today I look at the Series 5 PN60E530 60" 1080p Plasma HDTV and go over its features and main selling points, performance, and determine if it's a good pick for your hard earned money this holidays while checking in how it does with Over-the-Air HD content with its built-in ATSC tuner. It could be time for you to stop paying monthly bills for channels you will never take full advantage of!
Also in this review will be a quick comparison to the older 2008 model year Samsung Series 6 PN50A650 Plasma HDTV that I actually own. It'll be interesting to see the differences of an older Plasma display compared to the current generation of products, and see how far if any improvements are made within those almost 4-years.
Plasma vs. LCD Quick Take
When you are on the market for an HDTV set, you will come across two different types of HDTV technologies. One is plasma technology, and the other LCD technology. You’ll probably know about LCD technology because chances are the monitor you’re reading this very review is based on LCD technology.
All modern day computer monitors are based on LCD (Liquid Crystal Display). The technology has been around for a very long time and comes in many forms; the microwave display, your watch, calculator, cell phone screen, and laptop screen all derives from LCD technology. Take the clock for example. The LCD on the clock is probably protected by a clear plastic screen. This is possible because LCD by nature emits little heat. So when purchasing an LCD HDTV you’ll probably come across the screen utilizing a matte surface or coated with a glossy finish.
In layman terms, an LCD panel is created by placing two transparent materials together with one of the layers containing liquid crystals that can either block or allow light to pass through, making an image appear. However, liquid crystals on the LCD by nature cannot create their own light source, so an external one is needed in the form of a bulb, usually of the fluorescent kind. The drawback of using a bulb to supply backlight is that it directly affects power consumption because the bulb is on all the time.
The LCD backlight in every circumstance, whether the image on screen is bright or dark, the power consumption is constant. Another situation where the backlight bulb hurts LCD performance is in its color department. Since the LCD backlight is on all the time and that the crystals are the only ones that are able to limit or allow light through to make an image, the LCD has a difficult time reproducing proper black colors, turning black into grey. Opposed to LCD, plasma has the ability to turn off a pixel completely at any time. The result is a black that is real and represented almost perfectly.
An issue associated with HDTV sets using LCD technology is ghosting (or motion-blur). Earlier LCD monitors suffered from extreme ghosting when viewing fast action scenes or playing a video game. The problem with LCD technology was what it was originally designed for; viewing static images. Remember this technology was to replace CRT monitors and back then PC’s were just used for getting work done, little of the multimedia, games and entertainment we see today. Essentially LCDs are born with motion-blur and it’s always going to be present. What have LCD manufactures done to try to “fix” this problem?
Create a feature called “120Hz” technology where the picture motion is reset twice the time of the normal 60Hz standard. But, 120Hz technology has its own set of downsides. I personally find 120Hz makes motion seem “unreal” and “too fast”. Motions seem abnormal from what I’m used to and I’ve noticed on some sets that contain 120Hz, it can introduce artifacts on screen. Frankly speaking, 120Hz is really a band-aid solution to the problem that has always plagued LCD technology.
On the other hand, plasma does not suffer from motion-blur. Today in 2012, not only are there 120Hz models, manufactures have now offered 240Hz, 480Hz, and marketed such as is the case with the Samsung PN60E530 being reviewed today, 600Hz! When will this madness stop? Samsung claims that their 600Hz Subfield Motion technology makes fast-moving action look more life-like and natural. Supposedly motion on such an HDTV is never choppy or distorted. I believe that's quite the stretch to believe. I haven't seen an HDTV that has never been choppy or distorted at times.
Plasma technology has been out for some while, just not as long as LCD technology. It might not have been as established as LCD technology but plasma technology has definitely come a long way over the past five years and is arguably better in every aspect. In the early stages of plasma development, there were problems which instilled fear in consumers. The biggest one being the issue of burn-in (where the picture on screen remains “stuck” even after you have shut off the television and resumed viewing the next day). However, I remember the same thing happened to my old CRT tube television (burn-in).
Advancements have been made to stop this issue (such as the “pixel-shift” feature that shakes pixels from side to side and up and down from time to time). Samsung has also created a feature where a black and white static image on the screen is shifted horizontally continually. Overall, the issue of “burn-in” comes down to the content you’re watching. If you don’t abuse the panel by setting it to a mode like vivid mode, and watch a static image for hours, you will simply not get burn-in. I can safely say that the issue of burn-in should not scare you away from purchasing a plasma HDTV.
While it is true that plasma technology generally has greater maximum power consumption compared to its LCD counterpart, this really shouldn’t be an issue because this number really depends on the content you’re watching. Honestly, the only way you’ll ever meet maximum power consumption specification is if you like staring at a blank white static image with your contrast and brightness set at 100. It’s simply not going to happen and power consumption should actually be generally anywhere between 150-200 watts less than the maximum total specified.
Plasma technology is similar to old tube CRTs of the past, being that they need to charge “elements” that are within. With the LCD needing to have an external light source in the form of a fluorescent bulb in order to light up the liquid crystals, the plasma display needs to charge up the phosphors inside the display to generate an image for the viewer. Instead of liquid crystals in between layers of materials, plasma consists of cells that are individually injected with what is known as neon-xenon gas and that are sealed in plasma. Inside you have a grid dedicated to the three primary colors of red, green and blue. Turning on the television will charge this gas and produces the picture from its red, green and blue phosphors.
Upsides to plasma technology is that it can render deeper blacks (because plasma has the ability to turn off any pixels at any given time), provide better color reproduction, offer higher contrast ratios, and plasma technology has no problems handling motion, having no need for the 120Hz feature LCD’s are trying to compensate for. I think the most important factor plasma has going for it is that for energy consumption, it has the ability to switch off pixels at any time (like when you are watching a scene with dark colors).
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Samsung PN60E530 Product Overview
An energy efficient large screen HDTV with 1080p vertical picture performance.
Whether you enjoy sports or movies, or both, and looking for simple operation, enjoy affordable high quality performance and energy efficiency with our new 60" class E5 Series HDTV. Samsung's new 60" Class E530 Series Plasma HDTV combines a new slim bezel design, our new and patented Energy Savings Panel, and our Real Black Panel filter for a great looking TV that runs cooler, exceeds the ENERGY STAR® v5.3 guideline, and delivers a large screen cinematic experience that is easy on the environment and easy on the wallet.
Everything you could want in a TV - Real-life picture quality, great looks and plug and play versatility.
Samsung PN60E530 Product Features
Editors Note: I'm sorry to say this but isn't this the year 2012? How are having only 2 HDMI connections something that could be a marketable selling point? I will explain later on if having only 2 HDMI is good enough for most people. My 2008 Samsung PN50A650 (yes I know it's a higher series) has 4 HDMI connections and I use every single one.
Samsung PN60E530 Product Specifications
First Impressions, Bundle, Connectivity, and Design Overview
The Samsung PN60E530 comes in a large corrugated box surrounded by bodies of foam protection to prevent any damage and flex during delivery and no problems were seen when delivered. The box has a simple but nice design. No printed image graphics such as I've seen before, but it's not needed in a lower series product lineup model. The box was quite heavy, though two people should be able to lift it. I believe the whole package weighs about 100lbs.
The design is simple with a Samsung logo, PDP TV Series 5 logo, and some features located at the bottom of the box. Nothing fancy treatment like the more expensive models receive. The top right mentions the position relating to the front of the HDTV to help when transporting. Around the sides of the box are cut-out handles for lifting. Located near the bottom are plastic tabs that latches and locks the two corrugated pieces together. Once the plastic locks are removed, you can simply lift the top piece off to reveal the HDTV.
There's not much in the box. All you have is the HDTV, pedestal base, pedestal neck, and accessory bag containing the remote control, 2AAA batteries, 8 screws, ferrite core for AC cord, cleaning cloth, cable clip tie, quick start guide, and some other reading materials.
The base and neck are NOT assembled when you purchase the HDTV. Everything comes disassembled in the box, and this is my first time experiencing this as the other HDTV's I've reviewed on ModSynergy already came pre-assembled. Assembling the stand is a one person job and is relatively quick, however, connecting them to the HDTV requires an extra hand (or two) because the base is quite heavy, and you need to manage a screwdriver and screws all with one single hand, not really possible when you have everything laid out on the floor. Like I said it is best to have two extra persons to help you.
When I read the "Installing the TV Stand" leaflet, I then came across it saying "Assemble Stand before remove TV from shipping"...gee thanks! That could have came into handy before I laid everything out on the floor.
Another thing is while I was looking to installing the stand with its neck piece, I noticed this particular combination was not capable of swiveling, or moving left and right, which I found highly disappointing because when it got time to placing the HDTV on the TV cabinet, I had to get my helpers to move the TV back out so I could reach behind and connect everything. My 2008 Samsung PN50A650 plasma HDTV is able to swivel and that has become a very convenient, important, and great feature to have. With where this HDTV is sitting, it's a tight fit and it was impossible to connect everything without having the ability of swiveling.
Another complaint I have about this base and neck design is that it exhibits the same issue as I've had with computer monitors. If you bump into the HDTV, or even move around it to connect cables, the HDTV actually flops around and becomes wobbly. And this wobbly action is even more evident since it's a heavy HDTV. It doesn't really inspire confidence to me personally. I had to really make sure I screwed in the screws tightly. But once you have set everything, it's best not to touch anything. Just set it and forget it, like that cooking infomercial says!
While in the process of connecting all of my equipment I had successfully connected to my 2008 Samsung PN50A650, I had come to the point where I had to stop and just be amazed by the lack of connections. This Series 5 model really shows how it is really an inexpensive budget minded HDTV.
I quickly found out that I could not connect everything I wanted to the Samsung PN60E530. I could not connect my external speakers because there was no Audio IN jack (my speakers do not have optical capability), I could not connect my laptop for goodness sake because there was not a PC VGA connector available (my laptop does not have HDMI), I could not connect even a blue network cable as this PN60E530 does not have any network support in a day and age of social media and the Internet, and I needed more HDMI inputs. I could get away with using the single component input for one of my devices, however, I could not connect my external media player as all of the HDMI's were occupied!
Though I remembered that the Samsung PN60E530 had its own built-in USB media player dubbed ConnectShare Movie. This capability alone is great and is one of the saving grace' of the PN60E530. To be honest, the built-in USB media player that is inside the PN60E530 is a far better solution than what I previously had.
ConnectShare Movie allows you to view not only photos, music, but also video files of just about any time. I could play containers such as MKV, AVI, MP4, MOV, WMV, MPG, and there is a DIVX option in the menu to be enabled. I had no issues with 1080p high-bitrate files on my USB stick.
The menu options for ConnectShare Movie is limited though, you can't really change that much. It was disappointing to see that I could not customize my picture quality settings, like each other input has the ability to do. You can only choose the preset picture modes such as Standard, Dynamic, Movie, Entertain, it doesn't make sense to me.
I still cannot get past the lack of connections. Apparently, input and connection wise, this HDTV is not for me. The same could be true for many others, so please be sure when shopping for an HDTV is to know how many inputs and connections you truly need!
Connectivity wise the Samsung PN60E530 supports and has the following...
Now let us have a visual overview of the Samsung PN60E530 Plasma TV.
Looking at the PN60E530 for the first time you can't help but help notice a few things such as the glossy black exterior with its glossy blue black gradation. It's almost resembles the red Touch of Color series Samsung had a few years back. The process is almost the same, and so is the effect. In some of my photos, depending on lighting conditions the PN60E530's bezel can look purple. The base is also glossy.
Second you notice how small the bezels are around the plasma display. This is a 60-inch screen but having small bezels makes it look even larger. When I compare to my 50" Samsung PN50A650, the bezels are much thicker and that gives an illusion that the screen is smaller than it is. I really like this modern look of the PN60E530. The bezels are pretty small, and the side profile is quite thin.
Coming to the rear of the PN60E530 reveals that the Plasma HDTV is not glossy but takes the conventional matte black look. You can see how the neck attaches into the back of the HDTV with its four screws. When attaching make note of the notches. If the two top notches are not in properly, that is incorrect. Notice the lonely position of the power connector. The Samsung PN60E530 is capable of being wall mounted as you can clearly see the VESA 600mm x 400mm mounting points on the back of the HDTV.
P.S. I had no clue until I accidently found it. I did not read the manual firstly. I found it odd the first time around that on the HDTV there were no buttons at all in the usual spots that controls power, volume, and channels until I was doing a pat down search around the bezels. On the lower left hand corner, underneath the bezel, there is a one single dial (almost like on a blackberry) that you can depress/click down to turn on the HDTV. Once the HDTV is on, there is a quick on-screen description on how you change volumes, channels and navigate the menu. This is an interesting design but I like my old tactile buttons or touch sensitive buttons instead.
Let's Watch Some TV!
A melody chimes to welcome you the moment you turn on the Samsung PN60E530. In the event you don’t like the melody, you can turn it off in the menus. The first thing I did was scan for some HD channels for free! Yes you can watch free uncompressed HD channels over-the-air (OTA) by simply connecting a UHF or VHF antenna into the ANT IN port of your HDTV. The new ATSC standard allows you to watch local digital channels in your area without a fee. It's simply better than the old fuzzy analog NTSC OTA signals. If you are in the US and have access to digital encrypted cable service then you will be happy to see Clear QAM support, which is standard in just about all models on the market today.
Scanning for OTA HD channels only takes about five minutes. My first attempt with my existing antenna brought in the same number of channels that my old PN50A650 managed to see, 18 DTV channels near Toronto, ON, Canada.
One of the great things about OTA HD is the fact that it is free and 100% legal. Another thing is that it prevents you from shelling out monthly charges to your local cable provider, saving you lots of money in the long run. Lastly, OTA HD content comes in uncompressed from the source and thus provides better quality picture than if you are watching HD content through your local cable provider. This is because there can only be so much channels going through one cable because of bandwidth limitations (check up multiplexing). So be confident that you’re watching uncompressed high quality HD content when going the OTA route with a UHF/VHF antenna.
Switching between digital channels takes two seconds.
Among channels you can view the EPG (Electronic Programming Guide) that shows information regarding the show being watched, and in addition, can see the programming schedule of a specific channel ahead of schedule. With a tap of a button you can view text captions if desired.
One of the things I was disappointed with was the fact that you aren’t able to tune into channels manually (it has to be picked up through the channel scan), and that with each new channel scan, it’ll erase your old channel list, essentially starting from scratch. The problem with this method is that I have to delete all the channels that are duplicates and the ones I don’t want all over again. I’d like it if there were a personalized channel list that was unchanged, and that by scanning for new channels would only add channels that were not previously there.
If you are one that likes and uses the Picture-in-Picture feature, well its not on this model.
Coming from the old Samsung PN50A650 to the new PN60E530, I have to say the glossy screen display on both are different. I believe the new PN60E530's screen is more clearer, it looks less cloudy to an extent, I think the anti-glare coating is little different, because you can tell something is different by looking at both screens.
When I turned on the PN60E530 for the first time it was really evident that it had more brightness and contrast. To what extent I have no clue because the funny thing is that I could for the life of me find any specifications regarding brightness and contrast on Samsung's USA and Canadian website, which I find amusing and odd. Nonetheless, the PN60E530 is obviously brighter and clearer than the old PN50A650.
The picture quality once I changed settings in the menu relating to brightness, cell light, and contrast was surprisingly very good. I immediately felt this was an upgrade on the picture quality forefront compared to the old 50-inch PN50A650. At first, the blacks out of the box were too black...I guess Samsung's Real Black Panel Filter actually does work very well. Changing settings in the menu fixed this and brought back the shades in the shadows.
With such a large display as the 60-inch PN60E530 is, I noticed that when you look at the screen at a very close distance, you can see the many fine pixels and how they almost shimmer. When you are sitting from afar, you don't really notice the pixels, everything is sharp, fine, bright, and with natural looking colors.
You probably know how biased I am in regards to what I call as a band-aid that LCDs use when they offer displays with 120Hz, 240Hz, and 480Hz to theoretically speed up how motion looks. I just don't think it looks natural. When I saw the 600Hz tag on a Plasma TV like the PN60E530, I did not know what to expect.
I figured it could have been an option in the menu that you can enable to switch to 600Hz motion, like on a LCD, however, surprisingly I did not see such an option in the menu. I could only conclude that this 600Hz Subfield Motion is enabled permanently without you noticing. And I did not notice anything like 120Hz motion on a LCD on this PN60E530 Plasma HDTV. It looks completely normal and like a regular 60Hz display, it does not look fake and abnormal. I did not see much if any clipping or weird artifacts when watching American football games or any type of sports.
But I did see what happens on any display. In fast moving scenes and sports, the resolution never stays the same. I can only describe it as the pixels having a type of haze when the object is moving, and I do see hints of what I consider distortion during the same sequence. However, this happens on all displays, some better or worse than others. It's ghosting or trailing, whatever you want to call it, happens on every display. The PN60E530 does a good job.
The speakers that come in PN60E530 are down-firing and have a total of 20-watts (10w x2). As expected on just about any other HDTV, sound quality isn't the best, but I do believe its clearer and better than some other displays I've come across on the market. There is Dolby Digital and SRS TheaterSound HD profiles, but they artificially create feeling into the sound, and it's not a substitute for quality external speakers.
Menu and Options
The menu system on the Samsung PN60E530 has stayed similar throughout the years so it was very easy to navigate since I was already used it to it. There are quite a few options to tweak such as white balance, contrast, brightness, cell light (backlight), color, and much more.
I actually found on Crutchfield.com a very good analysis of the type of options on the Samsung PN60E530. It would have been redundant for me to say the same thing that Crutchfield has already done, so I will just quote what they have done below...
Pulled Product Features from Crutchfield.com (URL Link)
Screen Sizes: You can choose one of the following screen sizes.
16:9: Sets the picture to 16:9 wide mode.
Zoom 1: Vertically enlarges the size of the picture and allows you to move the enlarged picture using the arrows on the remote.
Zoom 2: Vertically enlarges the size of the picture more than Zoom 1 and allows you to move the enlarged picture using the arrows on the remote.
Wide Fit: Proportionally enlarges the picture to fit the entire screen without changing the aspect ratio.
4:3: Sets the picture to 4:3 normal mode with pillars on the left and right of the screen.
Screen Fit: See the full image with no resizing when HDMI (720p/1080i/180p) or Component (1080i/1080p) signals are inputted
Note: Screen Size settings can be stored for each external device you have connected to an input of the TV.
Picture Control: You can make the following adjustments for an optimum picture.
Picture Modes: Picture Modes apply preset adjustments to the picture.
Standard: suitable for a normal environment
Dynamic: suitable for a bright room
Movie: suitable for watching movies and games
Entertain: suitable for watching movies and game
Manual Picture Settings: The TV has several options for manually adjusting the picture quality.
Cell Light: sets the individual pixel brightness
Contrast: adjusts the contrast level of the picture
Brightness: adjusts the brightness level of the picture
Sharpness: adjusts the edge definition of the picture
Color: adjusts the color saturation of the picture
Tint (G/R): adjusts the color tint of the picture
Advanced Picture Settings: The TV also offers more advanced picture adjustments for fine tuning.
Black Tone: adjusts the black level on the screen to adjust the screen depth
Dynamic Contrast: adjusts the screen contrast so that the optimal contrast is provided
Gamma: adjusts the primary color (red, green, blue) intensity
Color Space: adjusts the range of colors available to create the image (Auto/Native)
Color Tone: adjusts the overall color tone of the televisions using one of four presets: Cool, Normal, Warm 1, Warm 2
Flesh Tone: emphasize the pink flesh tone in a picture
White Balance: adjusts the color temperature for more natural picture colors
Motion Lighting: The TV automatically adjusts the brightness of the screen in response to the brightness of the room. In bright light, the screen brightens. In dim light, the screen dims.
Note: You can adjust and store Picture Settings for each external device connected to the TV.
Noise Filtration: The Samsung TV provides digital noise and MPEG noise filtration.
Digital Noise Filter: If the broadcast signal received by your TV is weak, you can activate the Digital Noise Reduction feature to help reduce any static and ghosting that may appear on the screen. You can select Low, Medium, High, Auto, or Off.
MPEG Noise Filter: This filter reduces MPEG noise of the picture. You can set the MPEG Noise Filter to Low, Medium, High, Auto, or Off.
Film Mode: The TV can be set to automatically sense and process film signals from all sources and adjust the picture from optimum quality. Film mode is supported in TV, AV, Component (480i/1080i), and HDMI (480i/1080i).
Game Mode: When connecting the television to a game console, you can enjoy a more realistic gaming experience when selecting Game Mode.
Anti Burn-In Technology: To reduce the possibility of screen burn-in, this Plasma TV is equipped with screen burn-in prevention technology. Samsung's Anti-burn-in technology uses auto pixel shift and signal pattern processing functions to ensure that no images are burned into the plasma panel. The Time setting allows you to program the time between movement of the picture in minutes.
Pixel Shift: This function shifts the pixels of the displayed image every 1-4 minutes to prevent burn-in.
Scrolling: This function removes after-images on the screen by moving all the pixels on the PDP according to a pattern.
Side Gray (Dark/Light): When you watch TV with the screen ratio of 4:3, the screen is prevented from any damage by adjusting the white balance on both the extreme left and right sides of the television.
Auto Protection Time: If the screen remains idle with a still image for a certain period of time (10, 20, 40, 60 minutes) defined by the user, the TV's built-in screen saver is activated to prevent the formation of host images on the screen.
SRS TruSurround HD: SRS TruSurround HD is a patented SRS technology that solves the problem of playing 5.1 multichannel content over two speakers. TruSurround delivers a compelling, virtual surround sound experience through any two-speaker playback system, including the internal television speakers. It is fully compatible with all multichannel formats.
Sound Modes: You can choose from the following Preset Sound Modes:
Standard: Selects the normal sound mode.
Music: Emphasizes music over voices.
Movie: Provides the best sound for movies.
Clear Voice: Emphasizes voices over other sounds.
Amplify: Amplify mode is for people who have difficulty hearing.
Equalizer: You can manually adjusts the TV's built-in 5-band EQ (100 Hz, 300 Hz, 1 kHz, 3 kHz, and 10 kHz) for a more customized sound.
Auto Volume: Auto Volume automatically adjusts the volume of the desired channel, lowering the sound output when the modulation signal is high or raising the sound output when the modulation signal is low. This reduces the difference in volume when changing channels. The Auto Volume feature can be set to Normal, Night or Off.
Digital Audio: The optical digital output terminal will output Dolby Digital (when available) or 2 channel PCM. The digital optical output terminal only sends an audio signal in Dolby Digital when receiving Dolby Digital surround sound from a digital broadcast channel through the tuner on the Plasma TV. The optical digital audio output will only output in 2ch stereo from sources connected to the TV via HDMI, RCA, or USB.
ConnectShare: ConnectShare enables you to view photo and movie files, as well as listen to audio files saved on a USB Mass Storage Class device (MTP: Media Transfer Protocol is not supported) using the television's USB (type-A) port. Files must be formatted in FAT16/32 or NTFS. The TV can recognize up to 1,000 files in each folder.
Video Playback: The TV supports the following Video formats (MPEG 1/2/4, DivX 3.11/4.x/5.1/6.0, XviD, H.264 BP/MP/HP, and WMV-9) up to a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. Movie files are displayed in a folder and title list in either date or alphabetical order. The TV offers Play, Pause, Search, and Resume playback functions for compatible video files stored on a USB mass storage device.
Still Image Playback: The TV supports JPEG still image files with a maximum resolution up to 15360 x 8640. JPEG still image files can be viewed as a slide show with background music or as a thumbnail view (up to 15 images). Still images can also viewed full-screen and zoomed or rotated.
Audio Playback: The TV supports MP3 audio files with a frequency rate of 32/44.1/48 kHz. MP3 music files are displayed in a folder and track list, and can be sorted by Artist, Album, or Genre. Music files can be repeated or shuffled in a selected folder.
Firmware/Software Updates: Firmware/software upgrades can be performed by downloading the latest firmware/software updates from Samsung's Support Site to a USB thumb drive.
5-Way Joy Stick: The television is equipped with a 5-way "joy stick" like button on the bottom right side of the TV that lets you control the TV without the remote control.
Input Source Names: You can assign a pre-programmed name to each of the inputs. When input naming is completed, you will no longer have to remember which component is connected to each input when selecting a source to watch. Source names include VCR, DVD, Cable STB, Satellite STB, PVR STB, AV Receiver, Game, Camcorder, PC, TV, DVI PC, DVI Device, IPTV, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, and Digital Media Adapter.
Close Captions (CC): The Samsung Plasma TV provides Analog Closed Captions and Digital Closed Captions. The Digital CC offers customizable text, font, and size.
Note: The Closed Captions feature does work in Component, HDMI, or PC modes.
Program Rating Lock: The Program Rating Lock feature automatically locks out programs that are deemed inappropriate for children. You can block TV program based on their ratings and Movies based on their MPAA rating, so you have more control over what your children watch. The Program Rating Lock function is protected by a 4-digit PIN.
ENERGY STAR Compliant with ECO Settings: The Samsung Plasma TV is ENERGY STAR compliant and provides ECO settings to reduce the TV's power consumption and cut-down on energy costs.
Eco Sensor: Samsung's unique Eco light sensor measures the intensity of the room's light and automatically calibrates the brightness of the image on the screen. In a sun-filled environment, the screen gets brighter and in dim surroundings, the intensity is reduced. This feature optimizes the viewing experience while also saving you energy.
Energy Saver: This feature adjust the brightness of the TV in order to reduce power consumption. When watching TV at night, set the Energy Saver feature to High to reduce eye fatigue as well as power consumption. You can set this feature to High, Medium, Low, or Picture Off (sound remains on).
No Signal Standby: The TV will automatically switch to standby mode, if no picture is being received for a predetermined set amount of time (15, 30, or 60 minutes).
Auto Power Off: The TV will be automatically turn off after 4 hours of being left idle to prevent overheating.
Self Diagnosis: The Samsung Plasma TV provides a Self Diagnosis menu which allows you to check the television for picture, sound, and signal problems.
Picture Test: Use to check for picture problems. If the problem appears in the test picture, select "Yes" and follow the directions on the screen.
Sound Test: Use the built-in melody sound to check for sound problems. If the problem occurs during the test, select "Yes" and follow the directions on the screen.
Signal Test: An HD digital channel's reception quality is either perfect or the channels are unavailable. Adjust your antenna to increase signal strength.
On/Off Timer: The three On/Off timers allow you to program the television to turn itself on and off by selecting a specific on time and a specific off time. An On/off timer can be set to repeat only once, everyday, Mon-Fri, Mon-Sat, or Sat-Sun. You can also choose the On Timer's content (TV, USB, or Antenna) and volume. The on and off timers work independently of one another.
Sleep Timer: The sleep timer switches the television off after a specified amount of time. The sleep timer can be set to 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, or 180 minutes.
Wireless Remote: The supplied remote control is designed to only operate the Samsung Plasma television only. You can use the remote control up to a distance of about 23' from TV with a direct line of sight. The remote's buttons are backlit and will light up with a press of a button.
Note: This remote control has Braille points on the Power, Channel, and Volume buttons for the visually impaired.
Pedestal Stand: The TV is shipped with the pedestal stand unattached. The pedestal stand attaches to the television using the supplied hardware. The television weighs 71.8 lbs with the stand.
Wall Mounting: The TV has four threaded inserts on the back for use with an optional wall-mount bracket. The spacing of the mounting holes is 600mm (h) x 400mm (v) in accordance with the industry standards set by the Video Electronics Standards Association. The threaded inserts require M8 (8mm) machine screws (not supplied). The television weighs 62.3 lbs without the stand.
Note: When mounting the TV on the stand or a wall (with optional bracket) leave 4" of clearance on each side of the television and 4" above/below the television for adequate ventilation.
The Samsung PN60E530 is compelling because of the price point. It can be found on sale in Walmart USA for $848USD, or, 43% off which is a sweet deal. The same price is found on Abt.com.
I have mixed feelings with the Samsung PN60E530, but I can say that it's performance for the price is great. The picture quality is high quality and is an immediately upgrade from the older PN50A650 that I have. It's bright, clear, great natural color rendition, blacks can be overpowering (a good attribute that it can achieve this) but can be corrected.
Drawbacks you can read earlier on in my review at different points, but I would have to say the biggest downfall is the lack of connectivity options. It's light on the features. There is no network capabilities, only 2 HDMI, 1 component, and it doesn't have options to connect to your laptop via PC VGA connector, and Audio IN jack to mention a few.
Secondary drawback was the wobbly base/stand and how it cannot swivel which is inconvenient.
Third drawback was the fact that during USB media playback, you could not customize the picture quality, you could only choose from the presets available.
With all of that said, I still can give the thumbs up and recommend the Samsung Series 5 PN60E530 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz Plasma HDTV, especially if you can snag it at a sale price. Just be sure to check if the amount of connections it has suits your needs.