The most eye-catching thing about the PS64D8000’s HD pictures, though, is their contrast. For sitting right alongside the vibrant colours and some punchy whites are found the richest blacks Samsung has produced on a plasma TV to date. They’re markedly deeper than those of the PS51D6900, and while not quite challenging the black level dominance of Panasonic’s best plasmas, they certainly help the set produce the sort of cinematic images most buyers of a 64in TV will likely be after.
The PS64D8000 initially looks set to complete a clean picture sweep by serving up some cracking 3D pictures, too. We were struck by how vibrant and luminous pictures remained with Samsung’s active shutter glasses safely perched on our noses, and by how much detail, depth and texture there was in 3D Blu-ray pictures. In this respect, on screens as big as this the full HD active 3D format seems a necessity rather than a mere option.
We were also excited to find bright scenes exhibiting hardly any crosstalk. No matter how detailed or deep a sequence we threw at the PS64D8000, the edges of almost all objects, even those in the far distance, looked clear of crosstalk’s double ghosting problem in bright scenes.
Unfortunately though, the PS64D8000‘s crosstalk suppression doesn’t extend to dark scenes, as bright objects surrounded by darkness routinely appear with a degree of crosstalk noise around them - noise that’s made more obvious than it might otherwise have been by the sheer size of the screen.
Another flaw that becomes obvious if you sit too close to the screen is ‘fizzing’ in the plasma cells - a common plasma problem that thankfully all but disappears from a sensible viewing distance (and provided you avoid the set’s Dynamic picture preset). Also, while we’re on a negative roll, occasionally some red tones look a touch orangey, and the set’s average input lag of around 60ms when using the TV’s provided Game preset could cause you a few more deaths in Call of Duty than you’d like.
The PS64D8000’s sound lets us finish on the sort of high such a generally accomplished TV giant deserves, producing enough clarity, dynamic range and raw volume to do the king-sized pictures proud.
With its glamour-puss looks, cutting-edge online functionality and above all generally high performance standards, Samsung’s PS64D8000 is a brilliantly affordable big-screen option for people unable or unwilling to pay for the extra qualities - especially with 3D - delivered by Panasonic’s latest plasma screens.