At a Glance
Samsung's plasma TV combines a low price and some nice features, but it doesn't accept 1080p input.
Ease of use and a low price, along with great specifications and some nice features, earned the Samsung HP-T4264 high marks despite a picture that, while not bad, wasn't as good as on the other four plasma sets we reviewed for our November 2007 issue's HDTV roundup.
The HP-T4264's color rendering was only fair, but everything else about the picturewas pretty good. And in most other ways this is a gem and (at $1400) a bargain. For one thing, it's easy to set up. All of the inputs--most of them situated on the back panel--stick outward instead of down. Like most sets, the HP-T4264 includes a few extra-easy-to-access inputs on the side, but its side selection is especially nice, with a headphone jack, a USB port for viewing pictures and listening to MP3s from an external device, a second S-Video port, and even an extra HDMI connector.
The menus are compact and readable. Like most TVs' on-screen menus, they're transparent, but you can shut off the transparency to increase readability. When you scroll through sources, the HP-T4264 skips ones that have nothing plugged into them. And you can rename the others, selecting from obvious choices like "DVD" and "DVR"--though you can't enter your own names (in case you've started calling your VCR "Gertie").
Other cool features include a still button and picture-in-picture; you can't watch two channels simultaneously, however, because the HP-T4264 has only one tuner.
We looked at four plasma TVs with native 720p resolution, and three of them handled a 1080p signal by downconverting it and displaying it as best they could. Unlike them, the Samsung HP-T4264 refused to handle the signal at all. In the real world, this shouldn't be too much of a problem, though, since you can set any Blu-ray or HD DVD player to output content at a lower resolution. But because we couldn't make our test equipment simultaneously output 1080i or 720p for the HP-T4264 and 1080p for the other sets, it failed that test, which dragged down its overall performance score.
The HP-T4264's remote is long and a bit unwieldy, but it's programmable, and some of the buttons light up.