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Samsung PS51D8000 - 2D Picture Quality

John Archer

By John Archer
Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Samsung PS51D8000

Summary

Our Score

9/10

User Score

Review Price £1,099.99

As noted in earlier Samsung reviews, the sheer wealth of content on the PS51D8000‘s Smart TV platform makes it hard to sort the wheat from the chaff. Also, unusually for Samsung, our PS51D8000 suffered a few issues with certain apps not loading properly. For instance, we couldn’t access the Social apps (Facebook, Twitter) a few times, supposedly because of ‘interference on the network’. The issues were always temporary, but were invariably annoying.

Turning to the screen’s key specifications, it’s a full HD affair and is equipped with Samsung’s Real Black Filter for boosting black level response. It also provides a pretty extensive set of picture adjustments, including decent colour and white balance management, and an unusual feature whereby you can adjust the Cell Light output of the screen, effectively raising the image’s brightness (and power consumption) without reducing black level depth.

Samsung PS51D8000

A little time spent with some of these tools is recommended, actually, as not for the first time we found some of Samsung’s presets a little ‘gaudy’ or at the very least not to our tastes. But we’re not talking anything particularly severe level here; just 20 minutes with the tortuously organised but ultimately useful HD Video Essentials Blu-ray should be enough unless you want to pay a professional to do the calibration for you (though the PS51D8000 is not endorsed by the Imaging Science Foundation).

We were generally very impressed a few months ago by the picture quality of the PS51D8000’s supersized sibling, the 64in PS64D8000. So it’s no surprise to find the PS51D8000 delivering the goods too.

In 2D mode it really is quite outstanding. Right away we were struck by how richly saturated its colours are for a plasma TV, even after the set had been calibrated to deliver the most natural colour tones and most satisfying black level response.

Samsung PS51D8000

Helping deliver this colour vibrancy is a really strong brightness performance. As usual we’re not talking here about levels of brightness that might rival a top LCD TV, but the PS51D8000’s brightness is certainly good by plasma standards - so much so that you won’t have to keep your TV in perpetual semi-darkness to really enjoy it like you do with many plasma TVs.

What’s even better about the PS51D8000’s vibrancy and brightness is that it’s achieved without nearly as much compromise to black level depth as expected. For while its black level response during dark scenes isn’t quite as profound as that of Panasonic’s class-leading plasma TVs, blacks certainly look more natural, less grey, more replete with shadow detail and best of all more even than those of any LCD/LED TV.

Furthermore, we didn’t see any of the slight brightness flickering witnessed on occasion with Panasonic’s plasmas, with our only complaint in blackness terms given the PS51D8000’s remarkably affordable price being that some inputs seem to have a slightly shallower black level response than others.

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A Scotland

October 28, 2011, 6:56 pm

A couple of questions if you get a moment:-

1. Does this suffer from the indefeatable noise reduction "feature" of the Samsung LCD tvs?

2. Which would you choose out of the Panasonic GT30 or this?

A Scotland

October 28, 2011, 7:06 pm

One more question. Where have you seen it available for £1099 (as per the "price as reviewed")? Everywhere I look seems to be about £200 more than this making it significantly more expensive than the GT30.

Thanks.

John Archer

October 31, 2011, 8:57 pm

Hello A Scotland!

Regarding your first question, it does suffer undefeatable noise reduction unless you use the set's Game mode. This isn't actually too bad a situation, though, as you still get a good if not full set of picture adjustments available to you within the Game mode setup.

Also, I would argue that the undefeatable noise reduction isn't a really severe issue with HD sources, as there's usually so little noise in such sources anyway. But this is just my personal view and I know it won't tally with everyone's way of thinking!
As for whether I'd choose the Samsung over the GT30, that's a really good question as each screen has its distinct advantages. The GT30 is undoubtedly the best for 3D, simply because it has practically no crosstalk. The Samsung's 3D pictures are brighter and more colourful, but for me crosstalk is always the thing I struggle with most when watching 3D.
The GT30 also delivers a richer black level response in 2D mode, which can pay handsome dividends when watching films. However, the Samsung model has a more stable brightness level and much better motion handling with normal TV viewing. And its 2D pictures are brighter and more colourful for the most part. And the Samsung is a much prettier set aesthetically, AND it's got a (currently) superior Smart TV online service.
So the Panasonic model is probably the best option for serious HD movie fans, while the Samsung is a better 'all-rounder' when it comes to coping with - and providing - lots of different sources.
As for the £1099.99 price, it's available for that at www.electrical-shopping.com - though I note that the standard delivery charge is a pretty exorbitant £70...
Hope this is all helpful to you.

John

TROYBOY

November 2, 2011, 5:56 pm

Another question, whats the best tv for 3d and 2d right now that I could buy?
so far theres no definitive answer i can find.......

troy

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