As we saw in our previous TV review of the outstanding P55VT30, when it comes to big-screen 3D thrills Panasonic’s latest plasma screens are going to take some beating. But that’s not about to stop Samsung from having a good old go at it in the huge and deeply gorgeous shape of its new 64in plasma TV, the PS64D8000.
If there’s a massive plasma TV that’s looked prettier than the PS64D8000, we can’t think of it. Essentially, from the front at least, it’s a dead ringer for Samsung’s iconic C8000 LED models: a vision in shiny metallic silver with a neat transparent trim extending out from each of its extremities.
It’s inevitably a bit fatter round the back than the impossibly thin C8000 series, but actually, at just 37.1mm it’s daringly thin by plasma standards. Tucked away on the acres of space taken up by this rear panel are a comprehensive selection of connections, all accessed from the side to make the screen easier to wall mount.
Connection highlights include the increasingly de rigueur four HDMIs (all built to the 3D Ready v1.4 standard); various multimedia options including an Ethernet port, two USBs and a D-Sub PC jack; and an LNB port alongside the usual RF aerial jack.
There’s built-in Wi-Fi too for folk who don’t want to hard wire their TV into their network, while deeper investigation of the LNB port and USBs finds the former able to accept Freesat HD feeds while the latter can record to USB HDDs from the set’s digital tuners, as well as playing back all the most widely-used photo, music and video file formats.
The PS64D8000 has a Freeview HD tuner too, of course, though you might want to note that you can only tune in either the Freesat HD tuner or the Freeview HD one - you can’t have both tuned in at the same time.
The PS64D8000’s network abilities are prodigious, as you would expect of a flagship plasma TV from Samsung. It can easily tap into all the multimedia files on your DLNA-enabled PC courtesy of Samsung’s AllShare interface, and it’s equipped with the fullest interpretation of Samsung’s Smart TV online functionality.
We stress ‘fullest interpretation’ back there because the PS64D8000’s online services include a couple of features conspicuously absent from Samsung’s step-down PS51D6900 plasma model we tested recently, namely a full Web browser, and Skype video functionality.
These potentially very handy features - so long as you can stomach the sight of your mates appearing via Skype on a 64in screen - are joined by the reams of other Smart TV content also found on the PS51D6900. These include high quality video streaming from the BBC iPlayer, LoveFilm, AceTrax, YouTube, and Samsung’s own Explore 3D service (carrying a selection of free 3D documentaries, music videos, film trailers and kid’s shows).