I had purchased my first HDTV a little more than a year ago, and I had decided that I would actually write a review on this TV.  I had purchased the Samsung PN42A50P (42″ Plasma), and currently have my TV connection (Verizon FIOS) connected via HDMI as well as my upconverting DVD Player.  I had got a decent deal on this TV ($799.99) in July of 2008 at Best Buy in Pittsburgh.  While looking for TVs I was leaning towards and LCD, however for my budget I set aside and picture size I felt this was a good purchase.

This model is only a 720p display, and I know there are debates on what size you will notice the difference between 720 and 1080, however I could not tell comparing TVs in this size range. The main difference between this TV in Plasma and that of an LCD is the number of pixels. Just taking into consideration the set’s resolution 1024×768 you would think that it has a 4:3 aspect ratio (non-widescreen), but this would only be the case if the plasma pixels were square in shape. They’re actually not – they’re rectangular as are the pixels of 95% of all the 42-inch HDTV plasma panels on the market today. 42-inch Plasma HDTV models made by Pioneer, Panasonic, Vizio, Philips, Samsung, Magnavox, etc. all feature the same 1024×768 resolution.
On thie PN42A450 there are multiple color settings and modes that can be picked for this TV.  The main one is the dynamic setting. By default this is the “preferred” setting that Samsung sets when you first turn the television on.  This settings is really bright and vivid, its more for “show” or “in-store use” than everyday viewing.
I have found the based on the position where my television is; and the amount of light in the room the “Standard” setting with Color Tone set to “Normal” works great after adjusting a few other settings in the menu options.
Also provided with this television is 3 other modes, Sports, Cinema, and Game.  Once you have set the TV on these “entertainment modes”, you cannot modify any additional color settings, (i.e. brigthness, contracts, etc.).  I typically just leave entertainment mode set to “Off” so that my main settings I have changed are being displayed.
I have used the sports mode while watching the Steeler games, and did notice the turf was just a little bit of a brighter green, however everything else appeared to be the same colors as if I had not turned the sports mode on.
The next topic is the speakers.  This Samsung TV’s internal speakers really are not that bad, considereing they are built in under the TV.  I’ve tested them out in the mornings, typically I’ll have the news on in the morning for work and while it is nothing like surround sound speakers, overall they are decent for smaller rooms such as a bedroom, or small living room.  For the most part I do have disabled the speakers all together because of having a dedicated surround sound system.
This unit does have the ability to work with 3D technology, something not too many televisions had when I purchased this.  I researched it a little online, and it appears you will need to connect a PC to your television with specialized software from Samsung along with their 3D glasses.  The last time I checked prices I believe it was in the $300-$400 price range, a little more than I’m willing to spend for this.
I’m amazed with the amount of components that can be hooked up with this TV.  It has 3 HDMI ports, 2 Component hookups, 2 Composite, 1 PC and 1 S-Video.  Currently I have my HD-DVR and DVD player setup via HDMI and I have been very impressed that I still have another HDMI port for any future purchases.
My last topic is I like having the option to update the firmware.  I have posted a recent post on the firmware upgrade for the Samsung PN42A50. I performed this upgrade, I havent noticed any improvements, however the whole process took under 2 minutes.  Simply extract the firmware to a USB Thumbdrive; plug it into the service port on the TV, and choose upgrade firmware from the menu.
If anyone is looking to purchase this TV there is a newer revision PN42B450P. There are a number of newer models that have come out since I purchaed this TV, and with the introduction of LED technology, plasma televisions really dropped in price. I looked around and that model and mine got great reviews for being a tv listed at a lower price point.

Samsung PN42A450P Specs.

Manufacturer: Samsung
Part number: PN42A450P1DXZA
Product type: Plasma TV
Diagonal size: 42 in
Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 1000000:1
Image contrast ratio: 2000:1
Resolution: 1024 x 768
Image aspect ratio: 16:9

Full Specs:

Screen Size 42″
Resolution 1024 x 768
Contrast Ratio 1000000:1
Viewing Angle Over 175˚ (H/V)
DNIe™ Yes
Digital Noise Reduction Yes
Brightness 1500 cd/m²
FilterBright Yes
Screen Aspect Ratio 16:9
Number of colors(expressed) Natural True Colour (18bit)
Grey Level(Gradation) 262144
Cinema Progressive (Film mode) Yes
Silhouette Editor (False Contour Reduction) Yes
Digital Comb Filter Yes

Sound Output(RMS) 15W x 2
Speaker Down Firing
Sound output SRS TruSurrounf XT

Swivel (left/right) Yes

Sleep Timer Yes (Max 180Min)
Clock & On/Off timer Yes
Auto Power Off Yes (15Min after – Signal)
OSD language English / French / Spanish
Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) Yes
Game Mode Yes
Anti Burn-in Technology Yes (APS, All white, Signal pattern)
Power Saving (Hot key) Yes (Yesff / High / Middle / LYesw)
Caption Yes
V-Chip Yes (Including Canadian V-chip)
Melody On-Off Yes
Plug & Play Yes
Absent Power Off Yes
Favorite Channel List Yes
Movie mode (Detail settings) Yes
Clock & On/Off Timer Yes
OSD Language English / French / Spanish
Game mode Yes

Tuners ATSC / NTSC / Clear QAM

Set size(WXHXD) with stand 1055.0mm x 724.0mm x 315.0mm
Set size(WXHXD) without stand 1055.0mm x 667.0mm x 96.2mm
Package(WXHXD) 1155.0mm x 844.0mm x 410.0mm

Set weight with stand 30.5kg
Set weight without stand 26.8kg
Package weight 36.8kg

Power Cable Yes
Remote Control TM96B
User Manual Yes
Battery 2EA (AAA)
Stand Yes
Speaker Integrated

Input & Output (side)

Composite (AV) 1
S-Video 1
Headphone 1

Input & Output (back)
RF input 1
Composite (AV) 1
Component (Y/Pb/Pr) 2
PC Input (D-sub) 1
RS-232C Yes
Audio Monitor Out 1
Digital Audio (Optical) 1
Power Power Supply 110V (60Hz)
Operation Power Consumption 350W
Stand-By Power Consumption Under 1W
Energy Star Yes
Panel Life Time Panel Life Time 100000hrs