Design and Connections
Despite the D8000’s lofty status within the Samsung ranks, it doesn’t come with anything fancy in terms of the remote control and it does feel a little cheap but it is sensibly planned and reasonably comfortable to operate. One feature we’re always pleased to see is a backlight and although the glow of the Samsung remote is fairly dim and it doesn’t quite stretch to illuminate all the buttons, it’s still a welcome feature.
Downward facing, on the bottom of the recess, we have aerial and satellite connections, a LAN port, a D-SUB PC input and a headphone jack. There are also two further adaptor inputs for use with legacy Scart connections. Samsung package all the adaptor leads in the box.
In the box of the D8000 came one pair of the active shutter SSG-3100 3D glasses that we found to be nice and light to wear but we’d have preferred the lenses to have been a little larger but the sides shields do a good job in blocking out ambient light. The lenses are a little green tinged but they’re not too prohibitive in keeping out light and 3D images aren’t too dull, as a result. Considering the 3100’s are widely available for around £40, we think they represent very good value.
Under the Picture Menu, beside the standard Picture Mode, Backlight, Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness and Colour options - on the first page of picture options - there's Screen Adjustment that houses zoom and overscan functions. The second page of picture options contains options for 3D output as well as Picture Options and Advanced Settings.
The 3D menu allows you to choose the mode of 3D you require, although most will find the option unnecessary as the D8000 features auto sensing of the signal and was never tripped up under testing. There are also options for setting 3D Auto View and the 2D > 3D conversion mode. Additionally there are effect controls and a 3D optimiser slider that we didn't find the need to move from the default position.
The Advanced Settings area of the Picture Menu features many of the controls we'll need to perform advanced calibration of the UED8000 including a CMS, White Balance controls - both 2 and 10 point - plus a global Gamma setting. There are also a couple of Expert Patterns that allow a calibration of the display itself (rather than an external source) plus a RGB only mode, which is useful for a quick colour calibration.
Also in the Advanced Settings there’s an option Flesh Tone that changes the luminance of, primarily, Magenta and is not needed; Dynamic Contrast bends the gamma all the way to S-Curve through its levels and Shadow Detail raises and lowers gamma, near black in the greyscale. Black Tone is best left off to save crushing shadow detail and likewise Edge Enhancement brings negative impact to picture quality by performing exactly as billed. Next we have Motion Lighting that bills itself as an energy saving feature which instantly raised suspicions but its effects proved fairly subtle in practice, nonetheless, we'd recommend it set to off. Finally, there is LED Motion Plus which we'll deal with later in the review.
For a more in depth look at the non-picture options of the D8000 we’d recommend taking at look at the reviews of 40 and 55 inch versions linked in the introduction, but for anyone looking for the Game mode, it’s under the System Menu under General - for some reason.
Having established the greyscale performance was already at a reasonable level, we then checked how the D8000 fared in reproducing the Rec.709 colour gamut and the answer was, very well indeed. There was the expected over saturation and excess luminance in red. In fact most of the colours were a little too bright, which was in keeping with our eyeballing of the D8000. Some might actually like the over-done look but having been exposed to numerous calibrated displays we were looking forward to taming the Samsung’s colour performance and the UE-D8000 has the tools on board to do such a job.
We’ve become accustomed to the higher end Samsung’s having absolutely excellent scaling engines and the 46D8000 is no different. Given a decent quality standard definition source, the Samsung wrung out every last detail without introducing ugly haloing. The scaling performance was augmented well by the ability of the D8000 to correctly detect progressively shot material sent in an interlaced signal, meaning that movies viewed through a set top box or DVD player will not undergo unnecessary deinterlacing and therefore don’t suffer a loss of resolution and nor do they pick up any jagged artefacts on the way.
Video deinterlacing was also of a very high standard indeed, which again ensures a clean, smooth look to pictures. It’s almost needless to say that the D8000 handled 1080p Blu-ray material shot at 24 frames per second without issues, but it’s our duty to do so, and it did. The HyperReal processing also couldn’t be tripped up by a mixture of film and video content being present on-screen simultaneously. In short, the D8000 provides an almost masterclass in cadence detection, scaling and deinterlacing. There is, however, an element of the video processing that isn’t too our taste but more on that in the Picture Quality section on the first page.
With Game Mode engaged, the D8000 returned input lag readings between 30 and 35milliseconds, which translates to 2 or 3 frames of the average console game. It’s certainly within our tolerances and is not going to be noticeable to the vast majority of gamers, we feel.
Like most LED lit displays, energy consumption measurements fluctuated very little. In our calibrated Movie mode, the D8000 drew an averaged 65W, whilst the out of box Standard picture mode asked a little more in taking 80W.
Picture Quality - 2D
Although the scaling is of a very high quality, naturally it’s with high definition sources that the D8000 truly wows; combining the excellent dynamic range with the reference calibration results produced some outstanding images with better than average viewing angles for the technology employed.
There were two fairly major hindrances to the D8000 though. The first being as result of cramming in the TVs components in to such a slim chassis, and the second down to Samsung’s predisposition to slipping in some backdoor processing. We are probably starting to sound like a scratched record with the first complaint and we’re almost tired of regurgitating it in almost every LED TV review but we’ve become increasingly less tolerant of the uniformity issues associated with the technology. Whilst there was some light pooling/flashlighting/call it what you will, it wasn’t overly noticeable with regular content and was comfortably more tolerable than the vertical panel banding evident on virtually all panning shots. Simply explained, it manifests as lines of alternating luminance, around 3cm wide, right across the screen – light, dark, light etc. The ‘banding’ is particularly evident when solid patches of colour are on screen, e.g. a football pitch or a skyscape but its ever present. We would really like Samsung to grasp the nettle - as Sony are promising to do -and produce TVs with deeper chassis to alleviate the problem but we doubt they will.
The second gripe we had is something we brought up in our first D8000 review and that is with unwanted processing applied to motion. It simply looks too smooth in situations where it shouldn’t. Samsung’s Motion Plus processing can be deactivated in the menus but there’s still something going on, even with it and Motion Lighting disabled. In point of fact, the Clear setting of Motion Plus provides good results with fast moving video based content but Samsung should leave it there and ‘Off’ should mean exactly that. It’s fairly easy to detect there’s extraneous processing going on with virtually any sports broadcast featuring action replays where the sudden change of pace we’ll see it breakdown altogether, on occasion, as it stutters, stalls and then eventually catches up. The ‘motion smoothing’ is also evident on film material and gives an artificial look to certain scenes. The panel is certainly well capable of handling the relatively low frame rate of film so why Samsung, why? We’re sure there are many owners out there that have no issues with the motion smoothing but we sincerely hope it becomes a truly optional feature in the 2012 range.
Picture Quality - 3D
A press of the appropriate button on the remote brings up the Smart Hub where the 'Your Video' feature runs across the top. ‘Your Video’ works as a recommendation engine, where your viewing habits are tracked and suggestions based on genre, subject matter, director, actor, actress etc are made, a la TiVo. It works well enough but is limited to content from on-demand services and we’d prefer it to be linked with programming from the EPG too.
Just to the right of Your Video sits the Samsung App store where one of the most popular choices, Explore 3D, gives access to over 100 items of free 3D content. Some of the material is of a promotional nature but there's also plenty of fully featured stuff in there too and you certainly can’t complain for free. Below Your Video and the App Store runs a set of 'Recommended' apps and below that, occupying the bottom half of the screen, interfaces for network/USB playback of media files, a Web Browser plus additional ways of accessing the EPG and certain Menu items.
As well as the Smart View App, there's also a Smart Remote app available that acts as a replacement for the supplied remote. The app is particularly useful for the included Web Browser and its main noteworthy feature is its ability to play embedded Flash video where competitors don't. The creation of folders for tidying up the Smart Hub by grouping your apps is possible through both the 'Remote' app and standard remote control but is, again, easier using a smartphone.
There’s also the ability to connect an optional Camera/Mic attachment for Skype calling and a USB hard drive for ‘lite’ PVR duties. We’ve previously remarked that we feel the Smart Hub looks a little cluttered but early indications from the upcoming ranges show a more streamlined appearance and we look forward to getting to grips with it soon!
- Excellent black levels - even in daylight
- Reference level greyscale and gamut post calibration
- 3D is very good
- Smart features
- Mostly excellent video processing
- Styling & design
- Unwanted and undefeatable motion processing
- Panel banding can be very distracting
- Remote control feels cheap for a flagship TV
- Some light pooling
Samsung D8000 (UE-46D8000) 3D LED LCD TV Review
The Samsung UE-46D8000 represents something of a conundrum for us when it comes to deciding on an award. Had it not been for the highly noticeable panel banding and unwanted - not to mention undefeatable - motion processing then it would have been looking at a rare AVForums Highly Recommended Badge. The D8000 possesses enviable black levels that hold up under bright lighting; absolutely reference calibrated greyscale, gamma and colour reproduction; relatively low input lag and a wealth of features all neatly grouped together in the Smart Hub. On the other hand, the two issues mentioned are of such magnitude that a lot of the good work is undone and, as a result, this Samsung just misses out.
Love or loathe its looks but the Samsung D8000 certainly stands out from the current crop of TVs with its almost borderless design and ‘daring’ quad stand. We’re not keen on the choice of materials used as they’re very reflective but we do like the near floating pictures the micro bezel affords. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the supplied remote control, just that it feels as though it doesn’t belong with a top tier product. The supplied 3D eyewear is light and comfortable to wear but we would have preferred slightly larger lenses and they’ve a definite green tint to them.
The Samsung menus are nicely presented and informative and we realty like the fact all the added features – and there are many – are grouped under one area, the Smart Hub. We do feel the hub suffers from looking a little cluttered but it’s a minor complaint and something Samsung seem to have addressed in the upcoming 2012 TVs. Another thing we’re big fans of are the extensive calibration controls found in the user menus by which we were able to extract reference results that married nicely with the mostly superb video processing of the HyperReality chip. The element of video processing that we’re not keen on is lamentably undefeatable and we don’t like the overly smoothed feel it gives to motion. Somewhat ironically the same processing doesn’t seem to affect 3D images and the D8000 proved a very capable performer in the added dimension with only relatively minimal crosstalk evident with real world material.
We’ve taken a stand, of late, against uniformity issues brought about by stuffing all the components of a TV into an ultra skinny chassis, and it’s largely due to this that the D8000 goes back to Samsung badgeless.
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
Our Review Ethos
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