Samsung Plasma TV 2009

As opposed to Panasonic which focuses more on plasma rather than LCD, Samsung gives more attention to their LCD TV models. This is quite natural, each brand focusing on what they’re best at – Panasonic is building the best plasma TVs, while Samsung is competing with Sony for #1 place on the podium in LCD TV department. While Samsung’s LCD TV offer brings quite a few enhancements and new technologies to the table (LED backlighting), their plasma TVs are not generating the same amount of “buzz”.

General Overview of Samsung’s 2009 Models

2009 Samsung Plasma TV names are differentiated from previous models by the letter “B”. The older models (from 2008) were being named using letter “A”. For example, Samsung PN50A550 would be a model from 2008, while PN50B550 would be a model from 2009. Also, since Samsung uses the same series names for both LCD and Plasma, the latter are being named starting with “PN” (as opposed to “LN” for LCDs). For example LN50B550 would be an LCD TV, while PN50B550 would be a plasma TV. Since we’re discussing about the model names, first number is the screen size in inch (e.g. 50), while the second number defines the series and subseries (e.g. 550 – series 5, subseries 5).

Excepting the entry level models in series 4, which are 720p, all the other series from Samsung have 1080p displays. The models in series 4 come in 42 and 50 inch sizes, the series 5 models offer most size options measuring 50, 58 or 63 inch, and the series 6 and 8 come only in 50 and 58 inch sizes. The available sizes offered by Samsung are more limited compared to Panasonic 2009 plasma TV models which are also available as 46 and 54 inch variants.

The quality and set of features is quite easy to determine – the higher the series number is, the better the quality. In other words, series 4 offers entry-level models, while series 8 has the most advanced high-end models. Of course, if you don’t care how thin your TV is and you don’t need a bunch of exotic features, you can get the same great picture quality for less money by picking a model in series 6.

All models except PN50B450 and PN42B450 have 600Hz Subfield Motion Technology. This technology is supposed to improve the quality of fast moving scenes (e.g. sports). The idea behind it is the same as with 120Hz refresh rate for LCD TVs. Of course, plasma TVs always performed well when it came to fast moving images, so in practice this is just a marketing buzzword (both for plasma and LCD).

Series 8 and 6 have Internet@TV, which is the equivalent of Panasonic’s Viera Cast service. Basically it offers you the possibility to access certain Internet services directly from your TV.

Continuing the trend from 2008, Samsung uses the Touch of Color™ design. This year there are two options – amber (for series 6) and grey (for series 8 and some models in series 5).

Samsung 2009 Plasma TV Series

* Touch of Color™ (ToC) is available only to some models in series 5 – B550, B560 & B590 subseries.

NOTE: Specifications on Samsung website are in some cases incorrect or misleading, especially if you are using the model comparison feature.

Samsung Series 8 (B860 & B850)

Series 8 has Samsung’s top of the line plasma TVs. The main characteristic of these TVs is their narrow depth. They are slim plasma TVs, measuring only 1.2 inch in depth. From this point of view, Samsung series 8 models are the equivalent of Panasonic Z1 and V10 series.

Aside from the fact they are slim, B860 and B850 models are similar to the ones in series 6. One of the extras they have is the Picture in Picture (PIP) feature.

Design-wise, the Touch of Color™ color is gray, as Series 5.

Series 8 Specs at a Glance

  • Resolution: 1080p (standard) / 1920×1080 (exact)
  • Contrast ratio: 3,000,000:1 (dynamic)
  • Anti-glare filter: Ultra FilterBright Plus
  • 24p cinema mode: YES
  • USB: YES (2 on side)
  • Ethernet: YES
  • WiFi (802.11): YES (with adapter)
  • Internet@TV: YES
  • Other: Slim design (1.2 inch thick), Picture In Picture, Wide Color Enhancer Pro

Series 8 Models

Samsung Series 6 (B650)

The models from Series 6 are only two – one measuring 58 inch and the other 50 inch. Both of them have 1080p resolution as it is expected from a high-end plasma TV. These plasma TV models bring improvements over series 5 and series 4. First of all, the dynamic contrast is 3,000,000:1 and the features are more numerous. We can find 2 USB connectors, Ethernet (LAN) connectivity, DLNA support, and Internet@TV.

The models from series 6 also feature Samsung’s Touch of Color™ (ToC) design. As opposed to the other series that have the grey ToC, B650 models have the amber version.

Series 6 Specs at a Glance

  • Resolution: 1080p (standard) / 1920×1080 (exact)
  • Contrast ratio: 3,000,000:1 (dynamic)
  • Anti-glare filter: FilterBright
  • 24p cinema mode: YES
  • USB: YES (2 on side)
  • Ethernet: YES
  • WiFi (802.11): YES (with adapter)
  • Internet@TV: YES
  • Other: Wide Color Enhancer 3

Series 6 Models

Samsung Series 5 (B590, B560, B550, B540 & B530)

Series 5 from Samsung has most models and most screen size options. It also contains 5 subseries. Samsung B530 plasma TVs have less connectivity options (3 HDMI instead of 4, no headphones jack). B540 and B530 subseries don’t have USB and WiFi support. For the other subseries, the WiFi is available only using an adapter.

Aside from these differences, all Series 5 have 1080p native resolution and are mid-level models for consumers that want full-HD resolution and good quality but can live without exotic features as internet connectivity, DLNA, etc.

B550, B560 and B590 subseries feature the grey Touch of Color™ design specific to some of the Samsung 2009 plasma TVs.

Series 5 Specs at a Glance

  • Resolution: 1080p (standard) / 1920×1080 (exact)
  • Contrast ratio: 2,000,000:1 (dynamic)
  • Anti-glare filter: FilterBright
  • USB: YES – for B550, B560 and B590 subseries.
  • Ethernet: NO
  • WiFi (802.11): YES (with adapter) – for B550, B560 and B590 subseries.
  • Internet@TV: NO

Series 5 Models

Samsung Series 4 (B450 & B430)

Samsung Series 4 plasma TV models are entry-level, targeted at consumers without much demands. These models come in 42 and 50 inch sizes and have 720p native resolution. There are two subseries – B450 and B430, the latter having fewer connectivity options – only 2 HDMI connectors (as opposed to B450 which has 3), and no PC connector.

Series 4 Specs at a Glance

  • Resolution: 720p (standard) / 1024×768 (exact)
  • Contrast ratio: 2,000,000:1 (dynamic)
  • Anti-glare filter: FilterBright
  • USB: YES (only for service)
  • Ethernet: NO
  • WiFi (802.11): NO
  • Internet@TV: NO

Series 4 Models

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