The bigger the curve the more the impact
What is the Samsung H8000?
We've already reviewed the 55-inch version of Samsung's flagship Full HD TV for 2014.The UE55H8000 was an excellent example of a modern LCD TV with LED edge-lighting and a Full HD panel. The image accuracy was impressive, the processing superb and the smart platform extensive. The H8000 also sported a curved screen, which certainly made it stand out from the crowd but also divided opinion. Now it's the turn of its bigger brother to come under the spot light and whilst we expect the performance of the UE65H8000 to be similar, how will the curve perform with the larger screen size.Specs-wise the 65-incher is identical to the smaller model and comes with two remote controls included, two pairs of active shutter glasses and an evolution upgrade path. The 65-inch model retails for £2,799 and whilst that's expensive for a Full HD TV, if the UE65H8000 delivers the same level of performance as its smaller sibling it will still offer value. Perhaps more importantly, the larger screen size may also enhance the effect of its curved screen, justifying Samsung's claims of a more immersive experience. Let's find out...
Design and ConnectionsThe design is simple but effective and the screen is surrounded by a black bezel that is 1cm wide and around the outer edge there's a silver trim, whilst along the bottom is a small gap where the front firing speakers are hidden. The overall build quality is very good and the panel sits on what Samsung call the 'Arch Curve' stand. It obviously can't be swivelled but the H8000 can be wall mounted with the provided spacers. There's an indicator light at the centre bottom, just beneath the company name, and whilst it could occasionally be distracting, it can also be turned off.
It's business as usual on the design front, with curvy looks and great build quality.
At the rear there is a small control joystick on the right, whilst on the left hand side is the two-pin power cable connector. The H8000 doesn't have a built-in camera, nor does it use a One Connect box, so the connections are all on the rear left of the panel, above the joystick. Here you'll find four sideways facing HDMI 1.4 inputs, that are 25cm from the edge. In addition there are all the legacy connections, an aerial socket, two satellite connectors, three USB ports, an Ethernet port, an IR extender, a service port, a 3.5mm audio jack and an optical digital output.
The H8000 comes with two remote controls included, the first of which is Samsung's standard black plastic controller and the second is their new Smart Controller. This includes a motion sensor, a touch pad, video control keys and a microphone for voice control. The H8000 uses active shutter 3D and comes with two pairs of RF glasses which are light, comfortable to wear and the lenses are large enough to fit over regular glasses. The lenses also aren't too tinted. which is good but the arms can't be folded in and the sides don't block out any ambient light.
MenusThe H8000 uses Samsung's current menu system, which remains one of the better examples. It's sensibly laid out, intuitive to use and easy to navigate. It even includes short descriptions of what each control is supposed to do, which can be handy. The Picture menu includes all the classic controls that you would find on any modern TV such as the Backlight, Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness, Colour and Tint. From the same Picture menu, you can also access submenus for Picture Size, 3D, Advanced Settings and Picture Options. There's no aspect ratio button on the remote so this must be selected in the Picture Size sub-menu.
The Picture Options sub-menu includes controls for Colour Tone, Digital Clean View, MPEG Noise Filter, Motion Plus and Cinema Black. Samsung's calibration controls are excellent and can be found in the Advanced Settings menu, where there are sub-menus for Gamma, White Balance and Colour Space. There's both a two- and a ten-point White Balance, along with a Colour Space gives you a choice between Auto, Native and Custom. If you choose Custom you have access to a full six-axis Colour Management System (CMS) that is very effective. Finally there is also an option to apply your calibrated picture mode to other inputs.
FeaturesThe H8000 is another good example of how much better the built-in audio has become on TVs in 2014, thanks to front firing speakers, greater amplification and additional subwoofers. The larger screen size delivers a greater the sense of stereo separation, allowing the 65-inch panel to create a decent soundstage. The Samsung could also go quite loud without distorting and dialogue remained clear, whilst music and effects were well delivered. So whilst we would always recommend using an outboard audio solution for a high-end television, if you do decide to use the built-in speakers you shouldn't be disappointed.
When you access Samsung's Smart Hub, there is a bar across the bottom which shows apps you have opened previously and gives you immediate access to the more popular apps. There is also a very comprehensive set of catch-up and video streaming services and, new for this year, a dual-screen feature, faster processing, improved motion and voice control and the latest version of Samsung's remote app. The Smart Hub itself has also had a slight facelift, with all the photo, video, music and social features being combined in one multimedia screen, thus making room for a new screen dedicated to games. A detailed review can be found here.
The video apps remain as comprehensive as ever.
As is aways the case with Samsung TVs, the best out-of-the-box choice is the Movie mode, which will deliver a performance that matches the industry standards as closely as possible for a factory setting. A list of suggested settings based on the measurements taken during the review can be found here.
As the graphs above show, the H8000 delivered a very good greyscale performance out-of-the-box, apart from a minor excess of green and a deficit of red; whilst the gamma was tracking around our target of 2.2. The colour gamut performance was also impressive, with all the colours measuring close to their targets and combined DeltaEs (errors) all below the visible threshold of three. Overall this is an excellent performance and given the available calibration controls we would expect to improve this still further.
The H8000 includes both a two- and a ten-point white balance control, so it was a simple task to get all three channels to measure in equal amounts. This resulted in errors that were well below the acuity of the human eye, delivering a smooth transition from black to white that was free of discolouration. The gamma was still tracking around our target of 2.2 and overall this is a reference performance. The CMS employed by Samsung on their TVs is also extremely effective and we were quickly able to deliver a reference performance when measured at 100% saturation.
All the colours were hitting their respective coordinates for Rec.709 precisely, whilst white was also measuring exactly at its target of D65. There was a tiny error in the saturation of red but this certainly wasn't visible and, just like the greyscale, this is a reference colour performance overall. This impressive level of colour accuracy continued when we measured at lower saturation points and most of the colours were at or very near their targets, with only some minor errors in red and blue. However these errors certainly weren't apparent when watching actual content.Black Levels, Contrast Ratio and Screen Uniformity
The overall uniformity for our H8000 review sample was very good and was also pleasingly free of dirty screen effect and banding. The H8000 uses an SPVA panel and in our testing native black measured at 0.06cd/m2, whilst the Samsung also had no problem hitting our target of 120cd/m2 for white. This resulted in a very good on/off contrast ratio of 2,067:1; whilst the more representative ANSI contrast ratio was 1,873:1. The use of a SPVA panel may deliver better blacks but it also results in a narrower optimum viewing angle. Anything outside a 90 degree radius began to look a bit washed out, so correct placement will be critical, especially since the panel can't be swivelled. However the curved nature of the screen does actually help in this respect because when viewing at an angle the far edge of the screen is curved towards the viewer and thus isn't as washed out.Picture Processing
The video processing on the H8000 was excellent and the Samsung proved extremely competent at deinterlacing and scaling standard definition content, with clear and crisp reproduction of fine details and no unwanted ringing. The Samsung also had no problems detecting both 3:2 and 2:2 cadence correctly and, as long as the Auto2 Film Mode was selected, scrolling video text over film was also delivered perfectly. The quality of the video deinterlacing at 1080i50 was just as good as it was for standard definition and there were no apparent issues with 24p content. All this content was perfectly replicated and the motion handling also proved to be quite impressive for a LCD TV. However if you watch a lot of fast moving sport, then you might consider the Motion Plus frame interpolation feature, although as always we would never recommend using it with film-based content. Since the H8000 uses a curved screen, it also includes the Auto Depth Enhancer that adds depth by adjusting the contrast of different parts of the image.
The H8000 delivered a sizeable input lag of 120ms when in the calibrated Movie mode but thankfully things improved dramatically when the Game mode was selected. This brought the input lag down to 48ms which is still a bit high compared to other Full HD TVs we have tested this year. We found that renaming the input PC brought this down slightly to 42ms but this might still be too high for serious gamers. For the rest of use the H8000 was certainly responsive enough and we found gaming on the big 65-inch screen to be highly enjoyable. In addition, if you sat quite close to the display, the curved nature of the screen could also help to make the gaming experience even more immersive.
- Standby: 0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Normal Mode: 97W
- Calibrated – Professional Mode: 112W
- Calibrated - 3D Mode: 130W
As we expect from Samsung, the image accuracy is superb, as is the picture processing.
Samsung H8000 Picture QualityWe have been consistently impressed by the quality of Samsung's TVs this year and the UE65H8000 proved to be no exception. As we have come to expect, the Samsung delivered an extremely accurate picture, with natural colours, great blacks and an excellent contrast ratio. This meant that whatever your viewing material, the H8000 could deliver a very watchable picture and the superb video processing meant that even standard definition content could be bearable on the big 65-inch screen. Of course once you shifted to high definition content, the performance immediately stepped up a gear, resulting in a very impressive image. Whether watching HD broadcasts or Netflix, the images showed plenty of detail and motion was handled just as effectively. The even backlight and decent black levels meant that dark material remained watchable both during the day and at night. Whilst the combination of the native dynamic range and the Auto Depth Enhancer gave images plenty of impact.
When watching Blu-rays the H8000 took full advantage of the high quality image to fill the big 65-inch screen with every last pixel of information. Recent Blu-ray purchases like Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and The Amazing Spider-man 2 looked superb, with clean, detailed and film-like images, whilst the 24p was handled with ease. The curve certainly added to a greater sense of immersion and when sat reasonably close to the screen, the result was quite enjoyable - if you are sitting central to the screen. As is always the case, you quickly become used to the curve after a couple of days and you don't really notice it anymore. However you need to avoid having any light sources directly opposite the screen because otherwise the curve can result in multiple reflections. Conversely, the curved shape of the screen can prove highly effective at avoiding reflections from light sources at the sides. We found that the majority of our visitors during testing were immediately impressed by the attractive nature of the curved design and even those that were ambivalent quickly adapted.
The H8000 was equally as impressive when it came to 3D and the basic accuracy of the image resulted in pictures that looked suitably natural, whilst the panel's inherent brightness paid dividends. The active shutter glasses worked extremely well, delivering 3D images that were free of any distracting crosstalk or other unwanted artefacts. We had no problems with flicker, as long as there weren't other light sources in the room, and the lightweight nature of the glasses made them comfortable to wear for long periods. When watching recent 3D Blu-rays such as Rio 2 and The Lego Movie, we found the resulting images to be both hugely enjoyable and highly immersive. The larger screen size certainly helped here, as did the curve, which surrounded you and created the sense of looking into another world. Overall the 3D was excellent, with well handled motion, plenty of detail and an impressive sense of both depth and layering within the image.
The H8000 delivers an impressive performance in both 2D and 3D.
- Great blacks and contrast ratio
- Reference greyscale and colour accuracy
- Excellent video processing
- Superb Smart TV System
- Effective motion controller
- Not Ultra HD 4K
- No built-in camera
- Relatively expensive
Samsung UE65H8000 (H8000) Full HD TV ReviewUnsurprisingly, Samsung have delivered yet another quality TV in the form of the UE65H8000. The Korean giant has been on something of a roll this year and it doesn’t look like this will be stopping any time soon. The H8000 makes for a very classy Full HD TV with a minimalist but suitably contemporary design. The build quality is good and there are plenty of connections around the back but the ‘arch curve’ stand can’t be swivelled. The H8000 also comes with two remote controls and two pairs of active shutter 3D glasses. The menu system remains well designed and easy to use and the calibration controls are highly effective. The Smart Hub has had a slight redesign and continues to offer the most comprehensive set of catch-up and video streaming services on the market.
The picture performance of the H8000 was excellent, with accurate and natural-looking colours, good blacks and plenty of dynamic range. The backlight was pleasingly uniform and free of any other issues, making the Samsung an effective TV both during the day and at night. The picture processing was also excellent and the motion handling very impressive for an LCD TV, so regardless of the content the H8000 can deliver. The 3D was also excellent, with plenty of depth and an absence of crosstalk. On a 65-inch screen, the curve definitely added a more immersive element to both 2D and 3D, whilst the larger panel also improved the stereo separation and overall sound quality. The Samsung used surprisingly little energy for a screen of this size and only a slightly high input lag is worthy of note for gamers.
Whether the Samsung UE65H8000 justifies its £2,799 price tag depends on how much faith you have in the development of Ultra HD 4K but it certainly represents the current state-of-the-art as far as Full HD is concerned. So if you feel that high definition is more than enough for you then the H8000 is certainly worthy of a demo.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
2D Picture Quality8
3D Picture Quality9
Ease Of Use9
Value for Money8
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