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Samsung F9000 (UE65F9000) 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV Review

The pinnacle of LED TV engineering, so far?

by Mark Hodgkinson Oct 29, 2013


Home AV review

16

SRP: £4995.00

Introduction

The Ultra HD revolution continues to gather pace, with more and more manufacturers beginning to show their 4K hands.

We’ve already seen the ‘junior’, 55-inch member of the Samsung F9000 family and it left Steve Withers highly impressed but the extra 10-inch diagonal screen size of the 65-inch F9000, under scrutiny here, is going to place greater strain on Samsung’s video processing prowess. After all, there’s still virtually nothing available to watch in the 65F9000’s native, 3840 x 2160 pixel count.
So the emphasis, at least for the time being, is on how it copes with lesser resolutions. With a price tag just shy of £5,000, this display is certainly going to have to excel in the core departments to get anywhere near justifying it’s place in the market – 4K panel, or not. Let’s see how this big gun of the Resolution Revolution fares on the front line.

Design & Connections

The 65F9000 is unmistakably a Samsung display, bearing the ultra-thin black bezel outside of the gloss black screen and finished with a silver trim on its edges. Nothing remarkable there, in this day and age, but for an LED/LCD TV it does carry a weight of noteworthy status. For those accustomed to setting up large screen LED TVs, we’d issue a word of caution that you will need to phone a friend in order to get this one up on to its heavyweight rectangular base-stand. Once safely erected, the 65F9000 is an impressive and imposing sight but surprisingly low-slung, so placing a soundbar or centre speaker in front is likely to result in a small portion of the screen being obscured.

You'll need to phone a friend to get this baby up

Aside from the mass, the other extraordinary design feature of the F9000 comes in its connectivity options. To negate the inevitable changes in both the HDMI and Ultra HD specifications, as the format finds its feet, Samsung has created the One Connect box which houses virtually all the interfaces for connected equipment, including 4 HDMI ports, 2 USB and a digital audio out. The ‘One Connect’ then attaches to the chassis of the F9000 with a proprietary video cable. The Samsung F9000's One Connect box will be upgradeable as and when standard are updated, so there should be no worries on being future-proofed but Samsung aren't a charity, so expect there to be costs associated.

...there should be no worries on being future-proofed.

As is the norm for a high-end TV these days, the 65F9000 comes with 2 remote control choices in the box. One is a standard black plastic affair, which feels totally out of place in such a high-end package, whilst the other is far more ‘designer’. The touchpad remote looks like something from a sci-fi movie and as well as the eponymous touch controls, also allows for voice controls and search via the built-in mic. Also included are a variety of basic, well-used controls but, in all honesty, we still preferred the conventional route and it’s not as good as LG’s Magic Motion controller so there’s some work to do before it can be regarded as a viable, full replacement.

One Cheap/One Chic

Menus

Samsung’s high-end displays always present an almost baffling set of options and the F9000 is no exception. The Picture Menu, alone, goes on for pages and pages but we’re thankful of the generous set of calibration controls. Most of the fancy sounding, ‘enhancement’ controls can actually be disabled although there are a couple we’ll look at later on that can - and do - bring benefits. A quick shortcut to switching off all, or at least most, of these processing options is to select the Movie Picture mode, which will also bring the added advantage of presenting the most accurate images. And if all the options are too much, you can always turn to the helpful e-manual built-in to the menu system.


Features

What the F9000 hasn’t got, Smart TV-wise, would probably be easier to cover, as Samsung truly has thrown the kitchen sink at this one. At the heart of the Samsung offering is the redesigned Smart Hub from where you can get at pretty much all that’s on offer. Samsung has, this year, split the content in to five separate categories (sorry, panels) these include 'On TV', 'Films & TV Shows', 'Photos, Videos & Music', 'Social' and 'Apps'.
Samsung has gone heavy in their products’ integration to your existing set up, including the ability to incorporate channel listings from the likes of Sky, Virgin and Freeview and use them in their content suggesting, S-recommendation feature. There’s also an IR extender in the box that will allow you to use the touchpad remote as a controller for a set-top-box but in the case of using a TiVo at least, it’s a somewhat convoluted process.

Samsung’s continues to be the only Smart TV manufacturer able to offer the catch-up services of all the major free to air platforms, so there are players from ITV, the iPlayer, 4OD and Demand 5 built-in, as well as loads of paid-for services such as Netflix and LOVEFiLM. Naturally YouTube also makes an appearance but there’s literally dozens more to get your teeth in to.
. If you can’t find anything to watch, or listen, to from the web then the F9000 has you well covered as a media streamer, with a very generous number of file types supported, including MP4, MKV, MP3 jpeg, to name but a few. It all ticks over very nicely too, thanks to the inclusion of quad core processing and to top things off, the bezel is home to a built-in, retractable camera that can be used for Skype video calls or leaving messages on.


So Smart, it hurts

Test Results

Out-of-Box Performance

As we can see, in the default Movie mode, there really wasn’t too much wrong with the 65F9000’s output. Greyscale tracking showed a slight predominance of green in the whites and a bit too much blue in the darker portions of the picture but it’s hard to fault for a pre-set. Likewise, colours were also pretty much where they need to be against the HDTV Rec.709 standard, with just a few minor errors to iron out using the CMS.



Calibrated Results

Samsung’s calibration controls are amongst the best in the business and using both the 2 and 10 point White Balance controls we were able to dial in perfect greyscale and gamma tracking. The only thing we couldn’t fully fix with the controls was the slight under-saturation in red but it got close enough to prove virtually unnoticeable.


Just as importantly, colour tracking at lower saturation points was fantastically accurate, resulting in pictures that were very believable across the board. One thing we would note, if Rec 2020 becomes the colour standard for UHD TV, then this panel is not likely to be able to cope with the added demands of the more saturated colour palette but as nothing is agreed yet, that’s a moot point for now.

Contrast, Black Levels & Screen Uniformity

Perhaps Samsung’s greatest achievement with this 65-inch F9000, is in producing a panel with almost pristine uniformity. To be hyper-critical, there was a very faint, scotch pancake size patch of light visible toward centre left of the screen, on an all-black background but even that disappeared with the Smart LED control engage; and engage it you should. Even with it ramped up all the way to High, there’s no sense of details being crushed and few enough side-effects to make it a must. That said, we’ll give little to no credibility to the 0 cd/m2 measurement we took on a completely blackend screen with Smart LED set at High but the averaged reading of 0.33cd/m2, from a checkerboard pattern, would seem fair reflection of actual performance.


For the number crunchers, that’s an ANSI contrast of about 3500:1, which is very good, and made all the more so by the excellent screen uniformity. Our only real cause for complaint, from a screen consistency standpoint, was panel banding with some panning shots. Again, sporting content is a good place to go and see this issue but it rarely proved a distraction.

Smart LED is a must to bring out the best in the F9000

Video Processing

On paper (or is that screen), the Samsung 65F9000’s video processing is immense. Scaling of even lowly standard definition signals was nearly flawless and the same can be said for the deinterlacing and cadence detection qualities. In practical terms, the combination of having to both deinterlace and scale sometimes caused edges to break with real world content. It’s the challenge of eliminating blur with fast paced content that’s a more pressing concern, however, and it’s something we particularly noticed when watching Football at 1080i50. There is the option of trying the LED, or regular, Motion Plus processing but the former proved ineffectual and the latter erratic, introducing frequent jerky and stuttering movement. So, we need the standards bodies to come to the rescue by making sure they insist on frame rates brisk enough to ensure we’re not going to be seeing too much undue blur with our UHD sporting content; 120fps doesn’t seem unreasonable here but that’s also probably beyond what LED/LCD could reasonably support.

Picture Quality – Ultra HD

Let’s face it, there’s not a great deal of content for us to discuss here. Samsung provided us with a couple of demos with a native 3840 x 2160 resolution, in h264@50Mbps and it would be fair to say both looked sublime. One – a familiar subject of Samsung demo material – was a cookery slot whilst the other was a whistle-stop tour of the Sydney harbour area. Would I have noticed the lumps in the Hollandaise sauce and the granules of non-melted chocolate in the ganache at 1080p? Possibly but there was a certain texture and life-like quality to images we’ve not really witnessed with Full HD, on a television, at least. Likewise, the footage from around Sydney was blessed with an enhanced sense of reality – hippos, for some reason, look incredible at Ultra HD resolutions and the detail evident in Sydney Harbour Bridge was mesmerising.

Native 4K can be mesmerising

In an ideal world, we’d have been given the same content at 1080p as a comparison but that wasn’t on offer so we experimented with viewing distances vs detail perceivable, as best we could. (As a quick side note, I have slightly better than 20/20 vision and have never required prescription glasses). From our usual viewing spot – 7 feet and 10 inches away (yes, we measured), we couldn’t quite pick out all the rivets and imperfections on the Bridge and it was only when we were just inside 6ft, that we were able to resolve the full picture. That’s a pretty close seating position for a screen so large and certainly untypical of the average living room setup.

So, does that mean UHD is going to be a waste of time for most? Well, we won’t answer that question for anyone, you need your own eyes to be the arbiters on that, but, from what we’ve seen so far, the benefits aren’t solely resolution based. The above mentioned solidity and texture of images is incredibly pleasing and - if the pertinent standards bodies get their wish - wider colour spaces and increased frame rates will only help seal the deal. Whether an LED/LCD TV will ever really be up to those new challenges is another matter but with OLED waiting in the wings, the future looks promising for Ultra High Definition, if only from an enthusiasts standpoint. We’ll let the manufacturers worry about how to sell the idea to the masses whilst we carry on enjoying the fruits of their endeavours. We will just close by saying that we can’t wait for the next UHD TV to arrive with a whole batch of new content for us to salivate over.

Picture Quality – Full HD & SD

Whilst getting excited about the future is all well and good, the here and now isn’t 4K. We’d presume that most people prepared to stump up 5 grand on a TV will at least have some interest in picture quality and, for that, they are really going to need to be sending the 65F9000 a minimum of 720p. In fairness, Samsung’s scaling engine is superb. Those (rare) SD channels with decent bitrates can look passable and a high quality DVD transfer can look surprisingly good, but you shouldn’t be expecting miracles from the majority of standard definition material available.

A little late to the party, perhaps, I’ve just started watching Game of Thrones on Blu-ray and it’s testament to the qualities of the 65F9000 at 1080p24, that I was compelled to romp through all the episodes before it was sent back. With the Smart LED control engaged – and you should – black levels and dynamic range were superb with no sense of detail being lost.
For an edge-lit LED the dimming system is truly astonishing and as accurate as any we’ve encountered in a full array LED. There were times it could be caught out – any scenes which are predominantly dark with flickering flames (plenty of those in GoT), would cause the screen to briefly illuminate all-over but Smart LED is still most certainly worth using.

There were even times when the 65F9000 could make Blu-ray look better than 1080p, such is the finesse of the video processing, but that’s pretty much restricted to scenes that are almost static. One of the major challenges for Ultra HD TVs is to maintain clarity with moving pictures; all those extra pixels will show up any blur more clearly and whilst that wasn’t really an issue with the Blu-rays we watched, it was certainly evident with several football matches we viewed at 1080i50. We can certainly see now why the ITU and EBU are pushing for framerate of 120fps, and beyond, and to be frank, we’d have preferred to watch our sport on a 1080p native panel. Movies are another matter, however.

To be frank, we’d have preferred to watch our sport on a 1080p native panel. Movies are another matter, however.

Picture Quality – 3D


The Samsung 65F9000 certainly has a lot going for it with 3D content. There’s size in particular, 65-inches is excellent for 3D in the home, giving pictures the necessary impact and depth and the almost stellar brightness the F9000 possesses ensures they’re delivered with impressive punch. The F9000 employs an active shutter 3D system but we never felt there was undue flicker or any real sense of eye-fatigue but we could certainly see a little crosstalk, at times, in very high contrast scenes. Still, no matter, the Samsung 65F9000 delivered one of the best 3D experiences we’ve had in home, to date.

One of the best 3D experiences we’ve had in home, to date.

Conclusion

8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Pros

  • Superior dimming technology
  • Incredibly life-like images
  • Almost uncanny uniformity
  • Tremendous scaling of lower res content
  • Knock-out picture accuracy
  • Built to last
  • Smarter than your average TV

Cons

  • Sports & fast paced action can be blurry
  • It aint cheap when there's little to no 4K content

I own this 0
I want this 12
I had this 0

Samsung F9000 (UE65F9000) 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV Review

Samsung has come out all guns blazing in these first exchanges of the Ultra HD Revolution. The Samsung 65F9000 is a kick-ass, killer, kosher and near kingly 4K TV that is as much testament to the Koreans’ engineering know-how as it is to the dawn of a new era.

The first thing that strikes you is the build quality - it's reassuringly solid and heavy and the One Connect box means you won't be left floundering when the standards start changing. Menu interfaces and navigation are smooth and slick and Samsung has stuck in just about every Smart feature one could hope for.

Out of the box, the F9000 was already fairly faithful to Industry standards but following a quick calibration, performance was absolutely Reference category. Combine stunningly accurate colours with superb dimming and you get pictures that leap out of the screen, dripping in dynamic range.

Video processing was generally so good that the 4K panel even managed to improve the better 1080p content we gave it to digest, although sports and fast moving content at 1080i showed the limitations of LED technology. For Ultra HD to succeed, we need the standards bodies to ensure we have high enough framerates so that the next gen of TV entertainment doesn't become a blur-fest.

All in all, the Samsung F9000 is an absolute triumph of engineering. We'd certainly encourage anyone tempted in to the world of Ultra HD to put it right at the top of their go-see list but, caveat emptor, there's little to no native content to watch on it. For now, at least.

Highly Recommended

The Rundown

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

9

Screen Uniformity

8

Colour Accuracy

9

Greyscale Accuracy

10

Video Processing

9

2D Picture Quality

8

3D Picture Quality

8

Sound Quality

7

Smart Features

10

Build Quality

9

Ease Of Use

7

Value for Money

7

Verdict

8

Our Review Ethos

Read about our review ethos and the meaning of our review badges here.


    1. Phil Hinton

      Phil Hinton Editor Staff Member

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      Mark gets to check out Samsung's 65-inch 4K F9000 and is left impressed. Is this the best Ultra HD TV available yet?

      Read the full review here.
    2. Smith2004

      Smith2004 Member

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      Thank you for the review, Mark. Just one query. What are the viewing angles like on this set? I've always been put off Samsung sets by the fact that black tends to drain away (to my eyes at least) whenever you move over 20 degrees off-centre.
      • Thanks Thanks x 1
      Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
    3. Mark Hodgkinson

      Mark Hodgkinson Reviewer & News Writer Staff Member

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      They do diminish a touch but from anywhere I'd even consider placing myself, they were fine. More like 40 degrees than 20 and considerably better than the WT600 I have at the moment, in that regard.
    4. Smith2004

      Smith2004 Member

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      Thanks for the reply. 40 degrees isn't too bad for an LCD, particularly a Samsung one.
    5. Har-One

      Har-One Member

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      Mark, thanks a lot for the review. I have been following the 4K "revolution". Steve gave a 9/10 to the 55''. Is there much difference between the two? It is good to hear that screen uniformity is good but no so good that the motion has some issues. How does it compare to the 65'' Sony, motion wise? Does the motion problems affect fast moving 1080p Blu Ray content?

      I thought that Samsung was using a 200Hz panel. Do you know if that is the case?

      Samsung said that will the replace the one box. Is this an official statement from Samsung? Will It be a free replacement?

      Is there any review in the pipeline for the LG and Panasonic?
      • Thanks Thanks x 1
    6. MAX1210

      MAX1210 Active Member

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      The WT600 is Panasonics 4K-UHD LED (TX-L65WT600B) so I'm guessing the review isn't too far away.
      • Thanks Thanks x 1
    7. Mark Hodgkinson

      Mark Hodgkinson Reviewer & News Writer Staff Member

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      I've not seen both but on balance I think 8 is fair. It loses quite a lot in terms of it being a value proposition. My money would go 65VT65, at this time, if I had to buy a TV today.

      Motion was much worse with interlaced content. There's some blur with 1080p24 but not really any more than we're used to.

      Not sure, I'll ask the question re the panel.

      Yes and yes :)
      • Thanks Thanks x 1
    8. Har-One

      Har-One Member

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      Is there any owner's thread for this TV? or any owner at all?
    9. Dextur

      Dextur Active Member

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      Saw it in action today.

      I don't think 4k is overrated .

      If they can nail down the issues even LCD 4k is leaps ahead of 1080p to my untrained eye.

      Oled 4k will be absurd.
    10. Tboner

      Tboner Member

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      And yet the DLNA compliant ( NOT IE still does not like fully setup NAs box that works with other makes of Tv fine )
      Samsung TV is still poor and have seen one on demo today , screen clouding still an issue , had banding from a blu-ray player ( a Samsung Player ) on direct connection. the 55" was next to it and no banding on that but still clouding patches, poor Tv or poor manufacturing quality controls ! The samsung rep was in the store and said that some clouding was acceptable on LED TV's !!!.The DT 60 Panasonic was the next TV along on the rack picture on that was fantastic compared to the Samsung.

      Something on a side note someone must know why is that the price jump from a 55" to a 60" is so big ! just demand ?
    11. Lappy

      Lappy Member

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      It's 65", not 60 ..
    12. Tboner

      Tboner Member

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      Did i say it was 60 " ? I asked a question why prices seem to jump so much above 55" ?
    13. Lappy

      Lappy Member

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      Sorry, I thought you were talking about f9000, and it comes only as 55 and 65.

      Here where I am, 55" is 2900€, and 65" 4500€. Cheaper then in UK, but still 65" is to much for me right now.. and no usb 2.0.. so I'll wait :|
    14. Tboner

      Tboner Member

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      I just think it's mad that the jump from 55" to 60" is around 35-40% in price on a hi end TV's , almost as if they presume that if someone has a big enough room for a 60" or 65" they will pay the price :( , may be wrong could be demand , could be manufacturing issues who knows.
    15. charles

      charles Member

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      My TV watching is via Virgin Media.For watching standard definition and high definition stations would the equivalent Samsung non 4k TV give better results?
    16. Tboner

      Tboner Member

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      Depends if you are willing to take the risk on a good one , a bad one or a okish one when buying a samsung , suggest you look around a little Ref Quality control of the samsung panels and clouding issues , yes they are cheaper but you may have to get them sent back a few times before you get an acceptable panel :(
  • Screen

    Display LED
    Backlight Type Edge
    Display Format 4K Ultra HD
    Screen Size 65 In
    Resolution 3840 x 2160 Pixels
    1080p24 Support Yes
    Claimed Contrast Ratio Mega Contrast
    3D Technology Active
    Refresh Rate 1000 Hz
    Aspect Ratio 16:9
    Picture-in-Picture PiP
    Image Enhancement Engine 3D HyperReal Engine

    Digital-TV

    Tuner Freeview
    Freeview HD
    Freesat
    Freesat HD
    EPG Yes

    Features

    3D Accessories Active Glasses
    PVR Features Twin Tuners
    External PVR Ready
    Smart TV Yes
    Smart TV Features WiDi
    NFC
    Miracast
    DLNA
    Skype Ready
    Built-in Camera
    Video on Demand Access
    Media Player
    Web Browser
    App Store Access
    Remote App
    Voice Control
    Face Detection
    File Formats XViD
    WMV9
    MPEG1
    MPEG2
    MPEG4
    MKV
    AVCHD
    DivX
    DivX HD
    AVI
    MP4
    M4V
    WAV
    FLV
    WMA
    MP3
    AAC
    JPEG
    MPO

    Sound

    Speakers Stereo with Subwoofer
    Speaker Output 70 Watts
    Supported Sound Formats Dolby Digital
    Dolby Digital Plus
    DTS
    DSP Sound Features

    Product Properties

    Energy Efficiency Class B
    Power Consumption 180w
    Power Consumption (Standby) 0.3
    Release Year 2014
    Width (With Stand) 1462.3 mm
    Height (With Stand) 884.2 mm
    Depth (With Stand) 320 mm
    Weight 32.1 Kg
    Width (Without Stand) 1462.3 mm
    Height (Without Stand) 837.8 mm
    Depth (Without Stand) 40.7 mm

    Connections

    HDMI Type HDMI
    HDMI with ARC
    HDMI with MHL
    HDMI 1.4
    HDMI Inputs 4
    Scart Connections 1
    Composite Inputs 1
    USB Ports 3
    Common Interface Slot Yes
    Ethernet Port Yes
    Digital Audio Out Yes
    Headphone Socket Yes
    Wi-Fi Built-in
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