Samsung's LN46A650 HDTV is a joy to use from the moment you turn it on for the first time. That's when a wizard instructs you to pick a language and asks you whether you'll be using the TV at home or in a store. Then it searches for channels, and you're ready to go.
The long, backlit remote gives you access to a menu that pops up when you press the Source button and lists the active inputs at the top and highlights them. But despite being extremely usable, this model has its annoyances. I had to turn off the special Entertainment setting before I could change the sound mode. And though the LN46A650 provides picture-in-picture, its programmable remote lacks a PIP button to make viewing two inputs at once more convenient. The remote doesn't lack much else, however, and it has an iPod-like jog wheel rather than a circle of arrow buttons.
In our PC World Test Center evaluations of the Samsung LN46A650, judges gave the set an average score for image quality. This model's 120-Hz technology is meant to help with fast motion and panning, but two jurors detected pixelation and garbling in scrolling text. Meanwhile, I noticed that the Vatican's brick wall in our "Mission: Impossible III" Blu-ray test vibrated enough to make me think I was watching an interlaced clip.
A side-mounted USB port supports playing back music and photos from any USB storage device, and an ethernet port at the rear works with Samsung's InfoLink RSS service, which delivers news, weather, sports, and financial data to the set.
The LN46A650's stellar design and ease of use make it just the thing for viewers who appreciate both form and function.
For a selection of smaller sets, see "The Top 42-Inch HDTVs."