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Samsung C8000 (UE46C8000) Review

Samsung releases its latest flagship TV but is the addition of 3D really a game changer?

TV Review

27

Samsung C8000 (UE46C8000) Review
SRP: £2,199.00

Introduction

Samsung, along with Panasonic, has been a major proponent of 3D technology over the last year. In fact if rumours are to be believed Panasonic practically funded the research and development on Avatar, which explains that film’s prominence in a lot of Panasonic’s marketing. So it should come as no surprise that none other than James Cameron himself was present at the recent launch of Samsung’s latest line up of 3D displays. Make no mistake the consumer electronics industry has an awful lot riding on 3D and you can bet there was a lot of praying and finger crossing when Cameron’s sci-fi opus opened back in December. The question is can the success of 3D in the cinema translate into something similar in the domestic environment, well let’s take a look at Samsung’s new UE46C8000 and find out.

Design and Connections

Samsung have been aggressively marketing the use of LED edge backlighting for a couple of years now, although their misleading use of the term ‘LED TV’ has come in for some justifiable criticism. The UE46C8000 is the latest addition to the line and sports a measured thickness of only 3cm, which is quite remarkable when you consider how many features are packed away inside. Of course everything comes at a price and I’m not just talking about the RRP, what you gain in credit card thickness you lose in other areas which I’ll come back to later. Still in terms of looks the UE46C8000 is an attractive display with a brushed aluminium bezel which surrounds the screen and is 3cm thick at the top and sides and 4cm thick at the bottom. Around the outside of the bezel is glass edging which is 0.5cm thick at the top and sides and 1.5cm thick at the bottom. Within the bottom glass strip there are a number of touch sensitive controls such as on and off, input source etc. The illuminated Samsung name appears in the middle of the bezel at the bottom but thankfully this can be turned off and the back of the display is black plastic. The stand is something of an acquired taste and consists of four chrome feet and rather reminds me of a Cylon Base Star in Battlestar Galactica. Overall the build quality is excellent and the design is both elegant and contemporary.

This design esthetic also extends to the remote control which is one of the nicest looking remotes I have ever seen. The remote follows the same brushed aluminium, black and chrome look as the main display with rounded corners and touch sensitive buttons. Once you’ve got used to the touch sensitive buttons I found the remote both easy and comfortable to use with all the necessary controls sensibly laid out. Since the buttons are touch sensitive the remote might be difficult to use in a very dark environment but there is backlighting and I found that thanks to raised edges on certain parts of the remote I always knew where the important buttons were.

The UE46C8000 uses active shutter glasses but unlike some other manufacturers, Samsung do not provide any when you purchase the UE46C8000 which seems a bit parsimonious. Instead you are expected to buy them separately at £80 a pop which means an average family of four is looking at a £320 outlay just for the glasses and presumably any guests will have to squint. Another drawback is that they are also quite fragile and could easily fall victim to an over-zealous child. On the plus side they are comfortable to wear (even over normal glasses) and unlike the Panasonic design, stop light from coming in the sides. They come with a pull-string bag to keep them in and are activated by pressing a small button on the top right of the frame. The glasses I was using are battery powered but there is also a rechargeable option, however these are even more expensive. If you buy the UE46C8000 along with a Samsung 3D Blu-ray player then you get two pairs free along with a copy of the Monsters Vs Aliens on 3D Blu-ray.

The UE46C8000 has a generous selection of connections at the rear but their layout may not be to everyone’s taste. At the back there are downward facing inputs for the aerial, a LAN port, component video in, composite video in, two RGB in and an audio in for DVI or PC. Due to the ultra-slim nature of the display all these connections are smaller than normal (3.5mm jacks for most) and require special adaptors that come provided. The remaining connections are also at the rear but are sideways facing and about 12cm in from the edge. There are four HDMI inputs one of which has an Audio Return Channel, two USB ports, a headphone socket, a Common Interface (C.I.) slot, a digital audio out which requires a provided adaptor and an analogue audio out that also requires an adaptor. It is clear that Samsung are trying to accommodate both the slim design of the display and the possibility of wall mounting in the design of the connections but I’m not convinced by sideways facing inputs. The problem is unless these inputs are far enough away from the edge of the display you can see the cables at the side, especially if you use high quality HDMI cables. However that minor point aside I liked these connections, they were plentiful and sensibly placed to allow for wall mounting and easy to use.

Menus

The UE46C8000 uses Samsung’s latest menu system which is a good thing because it is well thought out, pleasing to look at and offers a clear and concise series of choices. The menu also responds quickly which is a pleasant change after recently using more elaborate and slower responding menu systems. The menu offers a basic set of choices including Picture, Sound, Channel, Set Up, Input Source List, Applications and Support but within these main choices are an almost limitless series of sub menus. The Channel menu obviously shows you all the available Freeview channels and the Input menu shows the source list and gives you the option to edit the source names if you so wish. The Application menu gives you access to the Content View function which can also be engaged directly using the remote, as well as options for the Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) functions. Content View in turn gives you access to the [email protected] service, the Media viewing options and the EPG, all of which can also be accessed directly from the remote.

The Set Up menu allows access to sub-menus relating to Time, Language, Subtitles, Text, Network etc. One idiosyncrasy of the UE46C8000 is that to engage the Game mode you have to enter the General sub-menu in the Set Up menu, rather than including it as another picture mode within the Picture menu. The Sound menu is also fairly comprehensive with a choice of presets such as Movie, Music, Standard, Clear Voice etc. as well as controls for an equaliser, SRS surround, audio languages, audio formats and speaker selection. The sound produced by the UE46C8000 was average but I’m assuming that anyone buying a display like this will wisely be using an outboard receiver to provide the surround sound.

The picture menu offers a choice of four types of viewing modes called Standard, Natural, Dynamic and Movie, the latter being Samsung’s attempt at an accurate preset. There are the usual basic controls that you would expect to find on a LCD display such as Backlight which controls the backlight setting of the LCD panel as well as Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness, Colour and Tint. In addition there is the Eco Solution control which adjusts the backlight setting depending on the ambient light but I find that this can cause fluctuations in the display’s brightness and I prefer to leave it off. Both the Picture Mode and the Eco Solution can be accessed directly using the Tools button on the remote.

Within Advanced Settings there is Black Tone which allows you to change the Black Level of the image just as the Brightness control does, Dynamic Control which varies the Contrast on-the-fly to try and boost the dynamic range, Gamma which adjusts between the bright and dark areas of the image, RGB Only Mode which allows you to see each of the three primary colours individually and is a useful for checking correct colour decoding, Flesh Tone which attempts to correct inaccurate flesh tones but at the expense of the rest of image, Edge Enhancement which is an additional Sharpness control, xvYCC which expands the colour gamut and LED Motion Plus which tries to compensate for motion to produce a clearer picture.

Also within Advanced Settings is an option called Colour Space which gives you a choice between Auto, Native and Custom; if you choose custom you have access to a full 3D Colour Management System (CMS) which will allow for accurate calibration of the colour gamut. There is also a choice of a two point white balance control or a ten point White Balance control which will allow for very accurate calibration of the greyscale. Samsung are to be congratulated for including such comprehensive calibration controls.

Within Picture Options there is Size which obviously gives you sizes to choose from includingAuto Wide, 16:9, Wide Zoom, Zoom, 4:3 and Screen Fit. This function can be accessed directly using the P. Size button on the remote. There is also Colour Tone which gives you a choice of Cool, Normal, Warm1 and Warm2, a Digital Noise Filter control (3D noise reduction filter) which will reduce analogue background noise and a MPEG Noise Reduction Filter which attempts to address over compression in MPEG encoded material. There is a HDMI Black Level control that I left set to Normal and a Film Mode option that has two choices, Auto1 andAuto2. There is the Motion Plus function which controls the 200Hz frame interpolation and also offers controls for Blur Reduction and Judder Reduction. Finally the Smart LED function controls the LED backlight to try and improve picture clarity.

The final sub-menu within the Picture menu contains all the 3D related controls and can be accessed directly by using the 3D button on the remote. This sub-menu allows you to choose the 3D Mode (2D to 3D, Side by Side, Top and Bottom etc.), the 3D View Point (which adjusts the 3D perspective), Depth which only affects the 2D to 3D mode, Picture Correction which adjusts the images for each eye, 3D Auto View which automatically selects the correct 3D Mode when it receives a 3D input and 3D Optimisation which allows you to control the Motion Plus functions for 3D. The UE46C8000 allows you to save the settings (including White Balance and Colour Space) for each input, this is a very handy function as it allows you to correctly calibrate each input for the device that is connected to it.

Test Results

In order to measure the Out of the Box results I used the Movie mode which represents Samsung’s attempt at a calibrated preset. I set the Backlight control to the middle setting and moved the Contrast control down a little because I felt it was too high but the Brightness and Colour settings were fine as they were. I set the Sharpness to zero and for the same reason I turned the Edge Enhancement off. I also made sure that Black Tone, Dynamic Contrast, Flesh Tone and LED Motion Plus off. The Colour Space I left on Auto for the time being and I left the Gamma setting at zero. Colour Tone was set to Warm2, the Picture Size was set to Screen Fit, Film Mode was set to Auto1 and the Noise Filters, Motion Plus and Smart LED functions were turned off.

As the results show the greyscale performance was quite good for a preset with the three primary colours measuring quite close to 100 below 50IRE but larger errors were creeping in at over 70. The colour temperature was again quite close to the D65 target below 50IRE and was measuring a little high over 50IRE. The gamma curve was measuring in excess of the target of 2.2 and in fact was even higher than 2.4 which would be a more appropriate setting for a display in totally light controlled room. The RGB Tracking shows Red and Green running about 5% below the target line of 100 from 50IRE out and Blue running about 7% over the target for the same range. However with a ten point greyscale calibration available we would hope to improve on this performance.

The colour gamut performance shown on the CIE chart wasn’t very good for a preset and is sadly a step back in terms of out of the box accuracy compared to previous Samsung displays. As you can see all three primaries are over saturated, especially green which is unfortunately becoming more common these days. The errors in the primaries are also affecting the secondary colours, especially magenta. However the UE46C8000 includes a Colour Management System so once again we would hope to make improvements with calibration.

Although the UE46C8000 includes a ten point greyscale calibration control which allows the calibrator to set Red, Green and Blue for every point from 10IRE to 100IRE. It was actually quite difficult to use with, for example, the setting of 3 affecting the 40IRE point rather than the more obvious 30IRE. However after a great deal of trial and error I was able to calibrate the greyscale and the results were excellent with a DeltaE of less than one for all IRE levels which is imperceptible to the human eye. All three primaries are now smoothly tracking around 100% with the Colour Temperature now spot on D65 and whilst the gamma is still tracking slightly high, this is overall an excellent performance. According to Samsung the gamma measures very close to 2.2 if you use a full raster instead of a window to take the measurements and this proved to be true.

Using the 3D CMS I was able to improve the overall colour performance considerably. After calibration Green and Blue and all three secondaries were measuring very accurately with a DeltaE (error) of less than 2 which is excellent. Unfortunately whilst red was improved it was still showing a large error in Hue which couldn’t be improved further with the CMS, due to Red’s position in the display’s native gamut. However, overall this is a very good colour performance. Whilst they weren’t always that intuitive to use, Samsung are to be congratulated for including a ten point greyscale calibration and a proper 3D CMS with control over all six colours, other manufacturers please take note.

The digital video processing capabilities of the UE46C8000 were put through a comprehensive series of tests and it passed almost all with flying colours. Using both my PAL and NTSC HQV benchmark discs I first checked the SMPTE colour bar test which the UE46C8000 easily passed, correctly scaling the full 576i and 480i images without any loss of detail or unwanted ringing. The UE46C8000 also scored very highly in the jaggies tests on both discs as well as performing very well on the diagonal interpolation test, with two of the three moving bars appearing smooth and only the bottom most extreme bar showing very slight jaggies. The UE46C8000 also resolved all the fine brickwork in the detail tests and quickly locked onto and displayed a solid image in the film detail test (provided the Film Mode is enabled).

However, the UE46C8000 actually failed the test displaying film material with scrolling video text when Film Mode was set to Auto1 but passed when it was set to Auto2, so if you experience any problems with video text over film try changing between the two settings. In the cadence tests the UE46C8000 correctly detected both the 2:2 (PAL - European) and 3:2 (NTSC - USA/Japan) tests as well as a number of less common formats. The UE46C8000 also performed very well in tests on the HQV Blu-ray using high definition content. With the player set to 1080i the UE46C8000 correctly deinterlaced and displayed both the video and film resolution tests (provided the Picture Size is set to Screen Fit). I have read in other reviews that the UE46C8000 had problems with film based 1080i sources but I couldn't find any issues with my tests. The UE46C8000 also showed a reasonably fast response to changes in cadence as well as good scaling and filtering and good resolution enhancement.

The only high definition test that the UE46C8000 performed poorly on was the one showing video text overlaid on film based material regardless of which Film Mode setting I used. The UE46C8000 also performed well with the Spears & Munsil Blu-ray which has a number of tests designed to check a display for clipping, its sharpness, any image cropping, chroma alignment, the high and low parts of the dynamic range, chroma and luma performance, geometry etc. I was able to use this disc to confirm that the UE46C8000 was correctly reproducing black down to video level 17 and not clipping white at video levels above 235. Overall this is an excellent set of results and means that the UE46C8000‘s video processor should be able to handle whatever standard or high definition signal you throw at it.

In Movie mode the input lag measured at 110ms which is slow even for a LCD display. However things improved in Game mode with the UE46C8000 measuring an input lag of 40ms which should be sufficient for all but the most hardened gamer. As I previously pointed out, to enter Game mode you need to go into the Set Up menu and then the General sub-menu which seemed a bit strange to me. I would have thought it would be more obvious to include Game mode in with all the other picture modes and having to find it buried in a separate menu was something of a nuisance.

As is the case with most LCD manufacturers these days, Samsung has promoted the supposed energy saving benefits of LED backlighting but to be honest I haven’t found this type of display to be any more energy efficient than CCFL displays. The UE46C8000 also includes an Eco Solution control which is designed to make the display more energy efficient by adjusting the overall brightness of the display depending on the ambient light but this causes the brightness of the image to fluctuate and is best left off. The same goes for the Dynamic Contrast control which if left on will adjust the brightness and contrast settings from scene to scene and thus cause the energy consumption to fluctuate. As I mentioned earlier the screen also turns itself off when there is no signal which I assume is an attempt to improve energy efficiency as well as another way to boost the contrast ratio numbers. Using a full raster in Normal picture mode the UE46C8000 measured 56W at 0IRE, 145W at 50IRE and 145W at 100IRE. In Movie mode the results were better and measured 69W at 0IRE, 117W at 50IRE and 117W at 100IRE. In standby the energy consumption was less than 1W. Overall I found the energy consumption to be quite high compared to some other LCD displays with LED edge lighting that I’ve recently tested.

Picture Quality - 2D

In calibrated settings the UE46C8000’s highly accurate greyscale and very good colour gamut coupled with excellent deinterlacing and scaling resulted in a very good picture when watching actual viewing material. Standard definition Freeview broadcasts were quite watchable and any problems tended to stem from the broadcasts themselves rather than the display and DVDs looked very good, regardless of whether they were PAL or NTSC discs. With high definition broadcasts the UE46C8000 deinterlaced the 1080i signal without any problems and the resulting image looked very solid and benefited from the increased resolution. In addition Blu-rays looked fantastic and the UE46C8000 displayed the full 1080p24 images perfectly without any issues. Once again I have read in other reviews reports of judder when the UE46C8000 handled 1080p24 content but all the test material and Blu-rays I watched were judder free.

The UE46C8000 includes Samsung’s Motion Plus which adds 200Hz frame interpolation which is designed to further enhance the resolution. Whilst I have no problem with increasing the frame rate in multiples of 50 or 24 depending on the source material I am not a fan of any form of frame interpolation. Even though I can sometimes see slight improvements in video based material, I don’t find the improvements really warrant all the fuss that manufacturers’ marketing departments make and, ultimately, these systems make little or no difference to the motion limitations inherent in LCD technology. Worse than that, when used in conjunction with film based material the interpolation has a detrimental effect on the image, which loses all sense of being film-like and begins to look like video. Personally I rarely use any frame interpolation functions and, to be honest, I almost always leave them off. As I had with other displays, I noticed that when there was no signal, even for a second or two, the UE46C8000 will stop displaying an image completely giving a totally black screen. I assume the purpose of this is to make the display as energy efficient as possible but it also be a surreptitious method of improving the perceived black level and thus artificially boosting the contrast ratio numbers. This 'global dimming', for want of a better word, has an unfortunate side-effect because, by briefly having a completely black screen, you were made more aware of display's actual black level.

To be fair the black levels were quite good compared to other LCD displays I've tested but obviously not up to the standards of the best plasmas. Still the use of local (precision) dimming technology certainly helped and the blacks that the UE46C8000 produced in dark scenes were some of the best I've seen from a LCD display. Samsung certainly seem to implemented their technology for dimming a LED edge array very well, I was never aware of halos or blocky illumination that sometimes affects localised dimming.
It is a shame that Samsung weren't so successful at creating a uniform backlight using the LED edge array, I was surprised at how uneven the LED edge backlight was when displaying a dark screen. There was definitely a noticeable cloudy effect present with brighter sides and especially corners, in fact backlight bleeding was so bad you could still see it on brighter images. I photographed the screen whilst it displayed the a 10 IRE raster in an attempt to show this effect. It is a shame that manufacturers feel the need to sacrifice backlight uniformity in a marketing driven pursuit of ever thinner displays as this problem badly affects what is otherwise a very good image.

I found that the UE46C8000 also suffered from the usual off-axis problems that plague all LCD displays that use VA panels but to be fair it wasn’t too bad compared to many other displays. Scenes became washed out once you moved your head to one side or another (or up and down) and variations in brightness became more pronounced. It certainly wasn’t as annoying as the uneven backlight because even if you were sat directly in front of the screen you could still see that. The screen is quite glossy so the UE46C8000 is very good at preserving black levels in rooms with ambient light but the trade off is that you can see reflections during darker scenes. Whether this is a benefit or a hinderance will depend largely on how much ambient light you have in your room.

Picture Quality - 3D

The biggest problem I had when testing the 3D performance of the UE46C8000 was finding any actual content to watch on it. Unfortunately my cottage is a listed building which precludes me from erecting a satellite dish and so I couldn’t watch Sky’s 3D channel which is the only real source of content at the moment. On top of that the 3D Blu-ray of Monsters Vs Aliens that I had been promised failed to materialise. However I bought the Avatar game so I was at least able to play that in 3D and Phil kindly lent me a 3D Blu-ray demo disc so I could view some full resolution 3D material. Overall I found the 3D experience to be quite impressive with material conveying a real sense of depth that was genuinely immersive. The images were clear, had good colour and detail and were still bright (in Standard Mode). There was a perceivable drop in brightness when you turned the glasses on but it was still brighter than any 3D movie you will have seen at the cinema. 3D material in full 1080p24 looked especially good with excellent colour, detail and a lack of noise that really impressed. However compared to watching a 3D film on a big movie screen I found the experience at home to be somewhat disappointing when reduced to a 46" display.

To be honest I don’t think it will be films that sell 3D technology to the mass market, but rather sporting events and gaming. I found playing the Avatar game in 3D on the PS3 was genuinely immersive and much more fun than 2D. There are still problems with the technology (if you move too fast the image blurs quite noticeably) and the resolution is lower than 3D Blu-ray but there was a real sense of three dimensional space which adds to the game playing experience. Also the idea of wearing 3D glasses to play a game doesn't feel in the least bit artificial whereas wearing them for watching TV or movies felt a little strange. Given that I wear glasses in normal life I suspect it will be a particularly hard sell to people with perfect eyesight. The 2D to 3D conversion almost worked and there were times when you did get a sense of depth but then at other times the display would become confused and it was as though Salvador Dali had taken control of your TV. If the images were reasonably static then the conversion was better but quick pans and cuts caused it loads of problems. It tended to work better with games and did add some dimensionality but I couldn't help thinking how good a real 3D first person shooter will be. To be honest it is quite impressive that this kind of on-the-fly 3D conversion technology works at all in a domestic TV set but ultimately it is nothing more than a gimmick that quickly becomes boring. I really couldn't see myself every actually watching a TV program or even playing a game using this technology and as soon as you put on some real 3D material its limitations are readily apparent.

The major problem with the 3D image on the UE46C8000 was an image artefact called crosstalk. This artefact is caused when latent images intended for the left eye are perceived by the right eye and vice versa, thus creating a ghost-like double image. Our 3D Guide Video explains this in greater detail for those interested in finding out more. These latent images are due to the response time of the panel coupled with imperfect sync with the glasses in active shutter systems. The UE46C8000 includes a 3D Viewpoint control that is supposed to help reduce cross talk but on the UE46C8000 this issue was always present to some degree or another in all the content viewed and caused the image to appear slightly blurred. I found the glasses comfortable to wear and easy to operate, although on a couple of occasions I lost the synch with the display. I'm not sure if this was my fault or due to the glasses and the display losing their connection but I noticed it happened after a dark scene so it might be related to the display blacking out when there is perceived to be no signal. Also if you tilt your head the image darkens and you lose the 3D effect so this precludes lying down on the sofa and watching TV (as I often do). And finally if you want to try and calibrate the 3D image then you are given the CMS and a Two Point greyscale option. However you will also have to find a way to compensate for the glasses effect on luminance.

Features

Set up is very easy with the TV providing a series of simple choices as you set the time and date and tune in the Freeview channels. The EPG is excellent, it is intuitive and easy to use and shows all the stations in a clear and concise way; it also includes a thumbnail image of the station you are currently on. The [email protected] function was also easy to set up, you just connect a LAN cable using the adaptor provided and then the system automatically downloads all the necessary services. This took about 10 minutes and when it was finished there were applications for YouTube, LOVEFiLM, Skype, Twitter, Google Maps, Picasa etc. To use the Skype application to make video calls you will need to purchase an add-on camera and microphone from Skype’s on-line shop. You can also buy a wireless dongle for about £80 from Samsung which can be connected to one of the USB ports.

Aside from the obvious addition of 3D which I’ll discuss separately, Samsung have clearly pulled out all the stops when it comes to features for the UE46C8000. As previously mentioned they have used LED edge backlighting in order to make the chassis ultra-slim but as one of Samsung’s top of the line displays they have also included their HyperReal picture engine coupled with 200Hz Motion Plus frame interpolation technology and localised dimming. The UE46C8000 also uses Samsung’s ultra Clear Panel and has a resolution of up to 1080p for both 2D and 3D content. In addition there is Samsung’s Wide Colour Enhancer Plus function which is designed to expand the colour gamut of the display as well as Samsung’s Mega Dynamic Contrast function which attempts to increase the contrast ratio by adjusting the brightness and contrast controls on-the-fly.

The previously mentioned [email protected] platform provides viewers with a gateway to a multitude of entertainment ranging from Video, Music, Social Networking, News and Games amongst others. Samsung’s [email protected] offers users a diverse range of content and by simply connecting the UE46C8000 to the internet via a LAN cable or a Samsung wireless dongle you can access services such as LOVEFiLM, BBC iPlayer, Twitter, YouTube and many others. The UE46C8000 also includes a Freeview HD tuner and offers an extended PVR feature which makes recording your favourite programs convenient and easy. To access this function you just need to connect a HDD to the UE46C8000 via a USB port and the use the PVR feature to select the date, time and channel of whatever program you wish to record.

The UE46C8000 is DNLA compliant and thus allows you to transfer videos, music and photos from your PC or mobile device, either via LAN, USB or wirelessly. It also allows you to connect with multiple PCs. In addition the UE46C8000 includes the DiVX video on demand function. Finally all of Samsung’s 2010 LED backlit LCD HDTVs are Energy Star-Compliant, using 50% less power than last year’s models and are made with eco-friendly materials. In addition the UE46C8000 includes an Eco Solution function that can change the backlight depending on the ambient light in order to improve the energy efficiency of the display.

Verdict

6
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

Pros

  • Good Calibrated Colour Gamut
  • Good Calibrated Greyscale
  • Good Video Processing
  • 3D Capability
  • Freeview HD
  • Elegant Design
  • Attractive Remote Control
  • Full 3D Colour Management Sysystem (CMS)
  • 10 Point Greyscale Calibration
  • Good Streaming Capability and Internet Platform

Cons

  • Very Poor Backlight Uniformity
  • Poor Off-Axis Performance
  • Cross Talk Ghosting in 3D
  • No 3D glasses included with display
  • Gaming input lag could be better
  • Game mode not included with other Picture Modes
  • Side inputs could be better positioned
  • Price

Samsung C8000 (UE46C8000) Review

The UE46C8000 has many fine attributes including an elegant design, numerous features like Internet TV and comprehensive calibration controls. The calibrated greyscale performance was excellent, the calibrated colour gamut was very good and video processing was superb but all this was compromised by very poor backlight uniformity. It is a shame that in their efforts to push LED backlighting and ultra-slim displays Samsung have allowed marketing imperatives to impact on image quality, especially at this price point! The addition of 3D is a nice feature to have and it certainly provides a degree of future proofing but the jury is still out on 3D at home. At lot will obviously depend on content but there aren’t actually that many 3D films on release and I can’t really see 3D Blu-rays taking off in the near future. Sport definitely benefits from the added dimensionality so Sky’s new 3D channel may prove popular but I feel that pubs and clubs seem a more appropriate venue for 3D sporting events.

That leaves 3D gaming and it is here that I think the greatest potential exists. Whist Avatar isn’t the best game you can buy the addition of 3D improved it immeasurably and as soon as you removed the glasses the game felt flat and uninvolving. However unless the price of active shutter glasses falls quite quickly the manufacturers could have problems marketing this particular technology to consumers and personally I found cross talk to be a real problem with LCD 3D displays, when compared to 3D plasma displays. Ultimately this is a very capable display with excellent greyscale and colour performance and superb processing, sadly poor backlight uniformity compromises its 2D performance and cross talk hinders its 3D potential. The price is also an issue when you add up all the pros and cons.

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

.
.
.
.
6

Screen Uniformity

.
.
.
.
.
5

Colour Accuracy

.
.
8

Greyscale Accuracy

.
.
8

Video Processing

.
.
8

Picture Quality

.
.
.
7

3D Picture Quality

.
.
.
7

Sound Quality

.
.
.
.
.
5

Smart Features

.
9

Build Quality

.
9

Ease Of Use

.
9

Value for Money

.
.
.
.
.
5

Verdict

.
.
.
.
6
6
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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