What is the Samsung UE65KS9000?
Connections & Control
Features & Specs
The 2016 Smart Hub is powered by Tizen and is designed to provide users with simple access to their favourite content all in one place. Live TV, streaming services, games and even the menu are included. In practise, it’s very well laid out and, as per the billing, extremely easy to use; we have to say it bears more than a passing resemblance to LG’s WebOS platform but that’s no bad thing. Selections are presented in a ribbon at the bottom and by default include your most used apps, inputs and services. Some customisation is possible, including adding your favourite channels – from the built-in tuner, or connected set-top-boxes, which is very handy.
Samsung UE65KS9000 Recommended Settings
Picture Settings: Out-of-the-Box
Looking at the measured results for the default Movie mode setup and we can see the KS9000 is in pretty reasonable shape, and certainly many times better than the other modes, although there’s definite room for improvement.
Next we checked out the colours, as against the Rec.709 standard used in production and delivery of HD video.
Picture Settings: Calibrated
Picture Settings: High Dynamic Range
Black Levels and Contrast RatiosSamsung has long been a proponent of using VA type panels which results in good black levels and accompanying impressive contrast performance. Relatively speaking, Samsung’s TVs were a little lacking in this department, last year, but the 2016 SUHD TVs have returned to form. We measured an averaged black level 0.038 nits on the 65-inch KS9000, from a chequerboard pattern without any dimming engaged and, of course, lower with Smart LED either in Low or High. Our preferred setting, at least for Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) content was the Low position but you don’t really get a choice with HDR, else the potential peak luminance (we measured 1048nits on a 2% window pattern) dips quite dramatically, to around 420nits, which will obviously impact the specular highlights in an HDR image. The issue with that is an increase in haloing effects around dark objects and a slightly more noticeable pulse as the backlight adjusts. It should be taken as read that a UHD Alliance Premium certified TV possesses great contrast and so the KS9000 does, with a calibrated On/Off ratio of 3,783:1 and an ANSI of around 2,900:1, in SDR mode. We should also make mention of the Moth Eye filter the 65KS9000 has equipped which does a really good job of rejecting ambient light and maintaining those impressive looking blacks, in challenging conditions.
Backlight UniformityThe UE65KS9000 doesn’t have a perfectly uniform backlight distribution but it is very good indeed. The two most noticeable spots of non-uniformity were situated at the bottom corners but were less than postage stamp size and non-distracting unless we fixated on them; we know some are prone to do just that but the majority of people keep their eyes toward the centre of the screen. Also, if staring at the bottom portion of the screen, there could be a 2cm (ish) band where it would be lighter than the rest of the panel, which is no doubt a result of the fact that Samsung has mounted the LEDs here in an effort to gain more over all light output. Again, we didn’t find it troubling but some might. In terms of uniformity on brighter content, the KS9000 was extremely impressive with virtually no panel banding witnessable, even with extensive viewing of Euro 2016 (we have to, it’s work, honestly) and we also didn’t once see a trace of dirty screen effect, which is nice.
Local Dimming and Viewing AnglesThese two factors of performance are more closely related than you might expect, possibly as a result of the curvature of the screen. The fact is that the dimming is far more effective when you’re sat square on to the screen of the KS9000 than if you’re off at an angle where we could see large plumes of light when objects were at the top or bottom of a generally dark screen. The difference from plumb on to off at an angle really is marked so we would say it’s a concern for some living room layouts, assuming those sat off-centre would notice, or even care. Our advice: get yourself sat in the best seat and don’t mention it. Judged from that position, the dimming for an edge-lit set is probably as good as we’ve seen and very agile. In terms of contrast and colour wash-out, that’s also present out of the sweet spot but there’s a definite improvement over the 2015 models here and we’d say it’s hardly noticeable at 45 degrees, or less, off centre.
Motion HandlingWe’ve seen a few glitches with the motion handling of high-end Samsung TVs, in the past, and now the present as the KS9000 occasionally gets tripped up with fast moving action, with or without the Motion Plus options enabled. There doesn’t seem to be much pattern to it but it’s easy to spot when you’re watching something like Football – yes, the Euros again – where the motion will stutter and splutter for a second or two before returning to normality. It’s a shame as otherwise we liked the motion handling but it could be the sort of picture anomaly that grates more over time. For the record, we don’t at all like the Auto Motion Plus settings, at default values, as it’s a horribly soapy presentation but we did feel the need to engage some mild judder reduction when watching UHD Blu-rays else some panning shots would stutter more than we’d like. Also for the record, we measured the motion resolution at 300 lines with Auto Motion Plus off and the full 1080 lines with it on but we’d take a spot of blur over the fake looking video-cam-esque look of the alternative.
Standard and High DefinitionWhile we had some complaints with the early 4K TVs over their ability to deinterlace broadcast 1080i, matters have definitely improved here with the KS9000, to the extent where you would be hard pressed to notice any difference between it and a high quality 1080p TV from years gone by. There have never been any issues with scaling high definition to an ultra high definition panel and, given a good source – especially a Blu-ray disc - with a fairly static scene, the resolution can and does look perceptibly improved, although this doesn’t remain the case with objects in motion. In other words, if, like us, the majority of your viewing is still made up of ‘Full HD’ content, there’s no downgrade watching it on an UHD TV as accomplished as the KS9000 and sometimes it’s an upgrade.
In terms of standard definition, and we try and avoid that wherever possible, attempting to make up the information for the near 8 million missing pieces of the equation – an SD TV has 414,720 pixels against 8,294,400 in a UHD TV – is never going to be an easy task for the scaling algorithms. In fairness, the Samsung does a reasonable job but the majority of broadcast SD is ropey in the first instance, to say the least, and that’s only magnified on a 65-inch screen. About the only content we found remotely watchable were some of the kids’ Disney DVDs, so at least the little ones might not complain. Moral of the story – if you happen to be one of those still with a significant diet of standard definition material, a 4K TV isn’t really for you.
Ultra HD & High Dynamic RangeWe were waiting for this review sample for quite some time while Samsung finalised a software update that brought with it the new HDR+ mode in to the Picture Menu. It’s a pseudo HDR effect, designed for non High Dynamic Range material which we found partially successful, although we can’t say we’re totally sold on it, however clever it may be. It works by analysing the hue and saturation of the source material within the native gamut of the panel and then the luminance of a particular scene to boost the gamma curve and broaden the dynamic range. In certain scenes and with come content, it works in giving images a real lift, although colours can look totally different – reddish hues can become blue, and vice versa - from the calibrated Rec.709 gamut while with others it can have seriously detrimental effects. We experimented while watching some games from the Euro’s (yes, it’s getting boring now) and found skin tones to look entirely unconvincing with some serious ‘clay-faces’ visible in the crowd and on the players. On the other hand, an episode of Bloodline (watch it!) was far more impressively handled and when we turned the processing off, it looked plain flat for a couple of minutes while our eyes reacclimatised. It’s a shame, although entirely understandable, that the HDR+ processing can’t be used in conjunction with the Game Mode as that could be spectacular. Our (at least my) recommendation would be to leave HDR+ off for critical viewing but by all means experiment with it for fun as, at times, it gives you some indication as to how the future of video will look.
Watching native HDR and Ultra HD was an entirely different matter. My UHD Blu-ray collection isn’t massive – The Revenant, Deadpool, Wild, San Andreas and Kingsman – but it’s sure to grow fairly rapidly as at least the first two of those titles look utterly mesmerising, nay spectacular, with incredible detail, mixed with expansive colour palettes and blistering specular highlights. Forget 3D, HDR is where it’s at if you want a video window in your living room. While not quite so good, but still great, Marco Polo streamed via Netflix is also well worth checking out on the KS9000 and our only criticism of its HDR performance is one we noted above. As you need to have Smart LED (i.e. the dimming system) on High to get the maximum available brightness of the panel, blooming effects from the backlight were far more noticeable than they were with it set to Low and, again, even more so when off-axis. It’s only really here when the limitations of an edge-lit lighting system is felt but that doesn’t stop us from being wowed with the HDR performance of the KS9000.
Input Lag & Energy Consumption
The energy consumption of the Samsung KS9000 is pretty low, given all those pixels and all that brightness on offer. On a full window 50% white pattern we measured 137W in its default Standard picture mode and 90W in our calibrated Movie mode. This increased significantly in HDR mode, of course, with the UE65KS9000 consuming 287W at default settings.
Samsung UE65KS9000 Video Review
How future-proof is this TV?
|4K Ultra HD Resolution|
|Colour Space (percentage of Rec.2020 - 100% best)||72%|
|HDMI 2.0a Inputs|
|HDCP 2.2 Support|
|4K Streaming Services|
|Smart TV Platform|
|Picture Accuracy Out-of-the-Box (score out of 10)||8|
|What do these mean?|
- Great blacks & contrast
- Capable of high colour accuracy
- HDR looks stunning
- Dimming system is mostly effective
- Excellent processing
- Impressive screen uniformity
- Great smart features
- Very low input lag
- Dimming system blooms off-axis
- Occasional stuttering motion
- Doesn't track Rec.2020 well
- UK catch-up services missing
- No 3D
Samsung KS9000 (UE65KS9000) UHD 4K TV Review
Should I buy one?The Samsung UE65KS9000 is very close to as good as it gets in TV technology at this present time. The looks are gorgeous with a 360 degree design ethos and a striking curved screen and chassis, while the connectivity options are bang up-to-date and geared to the future with HDMI 2.0a inputs with HDCP 2.2 compliance. Samsung has upped the usability factor of their 2016 TVs, too, with a pared down menu system and a new remote control which is so smart that it can control all of the equipment connected to the TV as well.
In terms of the Smart TV features, the KS9000 is also well blessed. The Tizen platform is beautifully presented in the form of a ribbon at the bottom of the screen and a pop-up suggestions bar above it. There are dozens of streaming services on offer, including Ultra HD/HDR services from Netflix and Amazon, integration with IoT (Internet of Things) appliances and equipment and the ability to play high quality games. The UK catch-up services are currently missing in action but due to land soon.
The out-of-the-box accuracy of the 65KS9000 was decent, rather than stellar but the calibration controls are certainly sufficient to gain incredible fidelity to the SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) standards, at least. We would have like to have seen a similar performance in the factory HDR settings but Samsung - as other manufacturers - seem more interested in the DCI P3 colour space than the Rec.2020 they should be concentrating on.
Still, that didn't stop the Samsung looking utterly stunning with HDR material, whether from disc or streamed. The dimming system is highly impressive, although not so much from off-centre of the screen, while black levels and contrast are excellent, thanks in part to the highly effective moth-eye filter. The KS9000 also deals with lesser resolutions as well as can be expected with some 1080p content looking like it was of a higher resolution, although there is the occasional break down in image processing with the odd spot of stuttering motion handling.
The Samsung UE65KS9000 really does fulfill its brief as a premium Ultra HD TV and definitely merits its AVForums Highly Recommended Award.
What else is there?
We'll give you two alternatives in a similar price-bracket and with comparable performance. First, we would suggest taking a look at the Panasonic TX-65DX902B, which is a flat screen model and can be had for just a whisker under £3,000 but boasts a full array backlight, rather than the edge based system with the KS9000. The other is the 65inch Sony XD93 which is also edge-based and, broadly speaking, performs very similarly to the Samsung but the HDR accuracy is better, although the dimming is not quite so good.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.