You also get a prodigious number of smaller, more niche ‘apps’. These now number around 60 versus the 40 or so available just weeks ago, showing how fast this new side of TV functionality is growing. It’s still debatable how many of the relatively small-scale apps are really useful, given that they mostly comprise very basic games, small and specialised news and information feeds or pretty simple tips on everything from cooking to tying a tie. But they’re currently all free, so far as we can see, and you’re under no obligation to download anything you don’t want. So while we’re not sure the app store is as big an attraction as Samsung thinks it is, at worst it can be considered harmless.
Also worth highlighting here is the rather brilliantly presented ‘hub’ screen used for accessing not just all the prodigious amounts of Smart TV content, but also all your more regular TV sources.
Delving into the PS64D8000’s onscreen menus reveals that a) these menus are attractively designed and b) that they’re accompanied by a rather inspired on-screen instructions manual, which explains in simple language what each feature in the TV’s menus does as soon as you move your cursor over it.
Among the most interesting features for people thinking of coughing-up two and a half grand on a TV are a respectable (though not comprehensive) colour management system, a 10-point white balance adjustment system, a selection of gamma presets, and a ‘cell luminance’ feature that provides an extra level of refinement to the set’s general brightness tool.
Deciding to save 3D for last and feeling a bit mischievous, we kicked off our testing of the PS64D8000 with some fairly grubby standard def Freeview broadcasts. But the PS64D8000 quickly had the last laugh as far from delivering the mushy mess we’d expected to see with such poor quality sources being stretched to 64in, the TV somehow made them look really rather good.
Sharper than they had any right to look, cleaner than we would have thought possible, naturally coloured, and rich in contrast. In fact, as a standard def TV the PS64D8000 is an even better option than the mighty Panasonic P55VT30.
After its standard def heroics we were pretty keen to see how the set handled HD. And it didn’t disappoint. The enormity of the screen proves a great forum for underlining just why HD has caught the public’s imagination so wholeheartedly, as good HD images appear with a level of clarity and detail that’s almost disconcerting when writ this large.
Colours are punchy and dynamic, too, and exhibit a range and subtlety of shade that only the very best TVs can muster. Colours look predominantly very natural.