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Samsung Series 8 UE46B8000 - 46in LCD TV - Samsung Series 8 UE46B8000

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Samsung Series 8 UE46B8000 - 46in LCD TV

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

First impressions of the B8000's picture quality with two of our favourite HD sources of the moment (Dead Space on the Xbox 360 and the Blu-ray of Quantum of Solace) were almost unbelievably disappointing. Both suffered from black levels that looked unexpectedly washed out and - shudder - deeply uneven across the screen, with the edges of the picture tending to look much brighter than the middle. Yikes. Suddenly Samsung's extravagant claims for its edge-based LED lighting were starting to look very stretched indeed.

Thankfully, though, it quickly occurred to me that Samsung has a nasty habit of shipping its TVs using the most rubbish presets imaginable. And this proved to be the case with the UE46B8000 - with knobs on. Though, just to keep me on my toes, the solution to each source's black level problems was quite different.

With Dead Space, the single most important change was to adjust the screen's ‘HDMI Black Level' setting from Normal to Low. With the greyness clouding, the nightmarishly dark corridors of the infested space ship suddenly turned into something you could genuinely called black, while the uneven backlight became all but non-existent. Now, at last, I was wrestling with the monstrous alien mutations and my own nerves rather than murkiness caused by the TV's initial backlight flaws.

Also helpful in turning the set from zero to hero in the gaming black level department are the Backlight level adjustment (I personally would leave it set no higher than four for HD gaming) and the Black Tone adjustment (which I set to Dark).

You also need to adjust the TV's image preset option from the horrifically over-aggressive Dynamic factory preset the TV ships with to a Game preset (weirdly tucked inside the TV's Setup sub-menu rather than the main picture one!), before tweaking the game settings for better black levels in the ways discussed a moment ago.

You can, if you wish, achieve many of the same picture characteristics found with the Game setting if you just use the picture's main Standard preset. However, the game mode crucially also takes much-needed measures - including deactivating the 200Hz engine - to reduce lag between a source signal arriving at the TV's inputs and it then appearing on-screen. Fail to use the Game mode while gaming and your performance will very likely diminish. You have been warned!

Turning to the TV's HD movie black level problems, the first thing to say is that oddly the option to adjust the HDMI Black Level is greyed out and can't be used while watching a Blu-ray. Thankfully the black level problems aren't nearly so bad to start with as they were with our Xbox 360, so pulling down the backlight (I personally went as low as its ‘2' setting!), setting the Black Tone to Dark, keeping brightness to below 50 and reducing the contrast to below 85 got black levels looking pretty much as good as I might have hoped for and certainly way better than anything you'd get from the vast majority of standard LCD TVs.

In fact, pictures really do look as dynamic in contrast on the UE46B8000 as they do on the best backlit LED TVs. What's more, the edge-based LED system seems to have largely eradicated the haloing around bright objects noted with last year's Samsung LED models - or most other ‘direct' LED models, come to that.

james1000

May 4, 2009, 4:32 pm

And yet again it looks like I have fallen into the "still waiting for the perfect lcdtv" category. Am I being a perfectionist to expect a tv which ships with good picture, good sound AND good factory settings? At � I really dont expect to have to tweak settings depending on what I am using the tv for. 5 years after purchasing my excellent Sharp LC26-GA4E and Im still waiting for a worthy replacement.

smx

May 4, 2009, 5:10 pm

Buy Pioneer Kuro or Sony's X4500 models

PS3½

May 4, 2009, 5:38 pm

Does the 200hz processing make any discernible difference over the 100hz used in the B7000 and B6000 (or any other 100hz sets). Is more detailed retained during fast motion? I'm asking this as many reviews of the Sony's 200hz Z4500 stated that there wasn't a major difference between it and Sony's 100hz sets.

Ripsnorter

May 4, 2009, 5:58 pm

At the risk of being laughed at by other TristedReviews members in the playground at breaktime, is it possible to store the various settings (for games, films, etc.) for selection as and when, or does the set 'remember' them once the relevant source is detected? Or do they have to be entered every time?

PS3½

May 4, 2009, 6:52 pm

The threat of burn-in rules the Kuros (or any other plasmas) out for many buyers, and the Sony X series is still quite expensive. Samsung, for most of the time, tend to produce good sets at a relatively reasonable price. I suspect their latest edge-lit LED models will sell buy the ton compared to many other brands.

Chocoa

May 4, 2009, 7:40 pm

".....while using just a single screw. Impressive."





Gulp, 18Kg on ONE screw!!.. Better get that screw fixing right then.





Living in an old house, with dry lined walls, I would have to avoid said mounting, or my investment would be short lived ;)

John Archer

May 4, 2009, 7:45 pm

Just thought I'd post a quick response to the first four comments on my review.





Regarding james1000's comment, I have to say that I feel you're rather cutting off your nose to spite your face here. If you actually compared a 46B8000 with your beloved Sharp, you would be astonished by how much better the new Samsung is.





I'm not saying you should definitely buy a 46B8000 - there are a lot of good TVs out there right now. But clinging on to a now thorougly outdated screen while waiting for a dream of perfection that will probably never happen (especially as the 'perfection' goalposts seem to shift with every new flat TV generation!) just doesn't seem to make much sense to me.





I also think that you're placing a bit too much emphasis on the 46B8000's factory preset concerns. This is probably my fault for being so clearly narked by them in my review. But the fact is that while shipping a flagship TV with rubbish factory settings is undoubtedly irritating, unhelpful and even pretty stupid on Samsung's part, getting pictures looking excellent on the 46B8000 really is only a matter of a few minutes fairly easy work - especially if you follow the guidelines note in the review.





In fact, although I didn't say so in the review, if you simply choose the TV's Cinema preset you'll immediately get a good improvement in images - although the results are still no match for an image you've set up yourself.





Anyway, the bottom line for me is that in 'punishing' Samsung for not doing good presets by not buying a 46B8000, you might actually be harming yourself more than Samsung!





Turning to smx, his suggestion that you buy a KURO is well made to some extent - so long as he meant KURO plasma, not KURO LCD. Though I would also say that smx may be surprised by just how close the Samsung's image quality - when correctly calibrated - gets to the KURO.





As for the Sony X4500s, these too are superb sets - but only, again, after you've invested time in calibrating them properly. They tend to push green way too much and look overbright, for instance, if you just stick with their presets. Plus they don't look nearly as nice as the Samsung - if that sort of thing bothers you! - and cost hundreds of pounds more.





As for PS3, I'm afraid I'm not in a position to comment definitively on his excellent question, as I haven't yet seen a B7000 or B6000. But based on previous Samsung 100Hz incarnations, my gut instinct is that the B8000's 200Hz system actually does make an appreciable difference. I'll try and remember to make some mention of this when I finally do review a B7000 or B6000.





Finally, I can tell Ripsnorter that you can save settings on a 'per input' basis. So you don't have to recalibrate things every time you switch sources.





Hope this is all helpful to you in some limited way!






PS3½

May 4, 2009, 8:59 pm

Thanks for the reply John. I took a chance and ordered a 46B8000 a few weeks ago. I based this decision on my viewing of the B7000 (which I thought very good indeed), but wished to opt for a 200hz set as I watch a lot of football. The B7000 would probably have been fine, but I thought I may as well go the extra step. Hopefully I won't have to wait that long to find out!

Elysium

May 4, 2009, 9:22 pm

I really would like to know just how well the set compares with others in terms of 'gaming' - which is something far too many reviews concentrate too little on it seems. I understand that all sets have a "gaming" mode - but we need to know the exact effect this has in terms when the using our beloved console. In terms of giving motion problems, judder, etc. Naturally we would like to lose as little quality as possible - and then there is the issue of input-lag which is a concern for the hard-core gamer. It's one of the reasons I have been leaning towards the Panasonic Plasma G10 .. but I hate to worry about burn-in or image-retention.. so a lovely LCD with as little input-lag as possible, and good design is what I am after..





Please give some further indication on the input-lag, gaming concerns.

james1000

May 4, 2009, 10:50 pm

@John Archer.


Thanks for tackling my points, if somewhat arrogantly. Please could you explain how Im cutting off my nose to spite my face? If my "beloved Sharp?" had packed in and I was without a tv then fair enough, but it still does its job well enough. Yes it may not be cutting edge anymore but Im not the sort to upgrade for the sake of it. As far as Im concerned there IS an issue with image quality if you have to tweak settings individually for high def content, xbox 360, blueray and sky receiver. A good portion of your review is taking up explaining all necessary adjustments which may be helpful but wont win any prizes in this tvs marketing campaign. I dont mind a little tweaking but one setting is all I need with my outdated Sharp so its intriguing why a model 5 years newer cant match that. Viewing angles arent the best and im sorry but a tv which needs "the right room conditions" is ridiculous. Audio is poor too with 6/10. Finally, I fail to see how Im punishing Samsung. This is a strange thing to say simply because Im disappointed with how the tv fairs in your review. If anything being disappointed shows I like Samsung. Until a tv is released which scores well with picture, audio and a generic setting I think Ill "cling on to my thoroughly outdated screen" thankyou very much.

David 27

May 4, 2009, 11:32 pm

what to do, i was looking forward to reading Johns review on the new samsungs, i thought i'd probably end up getting one, but i have to say the Sony W5500's review seemed more impressive, since i'm not the most techie person the idea of having to tweak settings does put me off, is there much between the two?

Ripsnorter

May 4, 2009, 11:46 pm

@John Archer.


Thank you for replying to my query. All I have to do now is hope that the design meets the approval of She Who Is To Be Feared.

klawd

May 5, 2009, 12:15 am

hi John





please help us out which one would you pick out of these three. samy b8000, sony w5500 and the pany g10 plasma ? (or wait till the z5500 comes)

Grim Fandango

May 5, 2009, 3:42 am

Thanks for a great review.





One question though:





I am to upgrade my old Toshiba 36" CRT TV with a flat panel display and am very uncertain about what would be the best tv for me.





I primary watches movies from DVDs, but I do also like to watch the UEFA European Football Championship and the FIFA world cup every 4 year when they take place. I will not accept a TV which performs bad in either of these categories.





I don't watch much sport execpt for the above mentioned, and for TV it is usually "Idol" type of shows once in a while and news.





I guess based on this input the Pioneer Kuro KRP-500A (or KRP-500M) would be my ideal choice, but I have one other habit that ruins this a bit: I also like playing games from PC!





From the downloadable manual for the Pioneer KRP-500A it says the highest resolution this TV supports is 1280x1024 (both for VGA and DVI), while I am a bit uncertain of the M model as the manual seems to suggest this supports Full HD also for PC (maybe someone can help with clarifying this?).





It also says in the manual that it is not recommended to game for more than two hours as there is a chance for burn-in then.





Even if I ditch PC playing in favour of PS3/XBOX360, this burn-in issue would still be an issue.





I think these issues pretty much rules out gaming for me on the Pioneer plasmas.





I am therefore thinking that maybe a high end LCD TV would be more perfect for my needs, and have specifically thought about this new 8000-series of Samsung, the sony top of the line Z series (46" inch), or maybe even the forthcoming Samsung 9000 series. I was also thinking about the Philips 9803H model, but have ruled this out because I would like the extra size so that the leap from my old TV feels even greater.





Now to my question:





* What recommendations whould you give to me based on my input above?





* Would the 8000 series be a perfect match?





* Is there any indication that the new 9000 series will be released before summer (june/july) or would I realistically probarbly have to wait until christmas time for this?





* Or should I rather use my PC connected to my trusty Dell 2408WFP for PC gaming and ditch all plans for big screen PC gaming and rather consentrate on film and thus go for the Pioneer?












basicasic

May 5, 2009, 4:23 am

I notice you mention Samsungs claim of a 40% power saving over normal LCDs. Did you check the power consumption of the set to see if their claims were true?





That aside good review and impressive set.

Pbryanw

May 5, 2009, 7:31 am

@james1000 - Having owned two Samsung TV's, including my current TV, I can confirm that a bit of tweaking is required to get the best picture results. However, if you enjoy visiting tech sites like TR, then you'll probably used to a bit of tweaking to get the best out of hardware and software :)





I don't know why Samsung sets don't come with better out-of-the-box settings, but I suspect one batch of settings will never please everyone. Also, as each new generation of TV's come out, I find there are more features, and therefore more settings, to control.





I think it's becoming worse with each new TV generation. My Mum & Dad's CRT Toshiba, bought about ten years ago, had about four picture options (contrast & brightness were two). Compare that to my Samsung which has one main picture menu, with about 10 options, with two further picture sub-menus, which offer finer controls. I just think a bit of tweaking is something you've got to get used to, especially with newer TV's, and especially on the higher end models.

en1gma

May 5, 2009, 6:09 pm

Most - if not all TVs - come out of the factory with rubbish settings. This is normally because the manufacturers set them to "look good/stand out" in somewhere like Currys or Comet, as opposed to your front room where it is likely to be not so brightly lit, etc. Just using the simple THX Optimiser tests on Disney/LucasFilm DVDs, for example, makes such a difference.





Of course, by going through sites like TrustedReviews, readers here are less likely to buy on a whim in a shop, aren't then?... ;-)

Kezman

May 6, 2009, 11:57 am

I thought i read somewhere recently, though I could be wrong, that Samsung's as of yet unreleased 9000 LED series as well as having a seperate media box, will be LOCAL dimmed. Doesn't this therefore directly contradict samsung's suggestion that edge based LED is superior when the top of the tree 9000 will apparrently go the other way?

phantoma

May 6, 2009, 6:13 pm

Nice review, thanks.





What's a good SoundBar One could use with this panel?


I wouldn't want a dedicated 5.1 system for watching regular TV or the occasional movie really.

PauloAmore

May 6, 2009, 9:54 pm

Hi,





Thanks for the review (of a TV i've been waiting for). I wonder though if you reviewed the DLNA functionality of the screen? I'm hoping it is easy and plays loads of video codecs so I can rip DVD's onto a NAS or a windows home server.... But, it needs to be easy, elegant and childs play. Is it?





Thanks in advance


Paulo

jenseike

May 6, 2009, 11:11 pm

Hello..





I think that this was a great review and I have decided to buy this tv rather than the 7000 series.. I have a couple of questions for you however. First, did you notice any clouding/flashligting on this tv. I know there have been many complaining about this on the 7000 series.. If you noticed this, will I be able to calibrate this out?..


Last, I see you are mentioning some calibrations tips in the review - but I am sure that you tweeked a litle more than this. Can you provide your calibration tips to me?. I would be gratefull since I am collor blind and therfor have big problems doing this my selfe.. Thanks again for the review..





Jens

Systematic

May 7, 2009, 6:44 pm

John,





Please could you write a quick post on what settings to select to achieve the the best possible performance out of this set?





I will be purchasing the 40" model on May 12 and will be using it for primarily SD broadcasts, Occasional BRAY and Occasional PS3 games.





Thanks mate.

RAMIT

May 8, 2009, 7:07 pm

Hi, Great review I'm pretty well sold on this TV. How and where did you get one from, as they don't appear to be in stock in the UK yet ?





Also do you know why they don't appear to be selling the 55" version in the UK, it is on the US SAMSUNG web site ?

varun

May 23, 2009, 11:14 pm

Hi John, Nice review thanks. I am contemplating between : Samsung 7000(100hz) vs 6000(100hz) vs Samsung 40B750(200hz). The 8000 is not yet out in India. The led ones are nice looking but the speed of 40B750 is 200hz bcos of which I am considering the same. Pls give your recommendation

Valsam

June 10, 2009, 1:00 pm

It is a confirmed and actual FACT. Samsung will Release (Release date and price yet to be announced) the next LED model B9000.It will introduce for the first time LOCAL DIMMING in her models therefore eliminating any previous backlight flaws , clouding or whatever.


What scares me is her possible price. How much higher than the 8000 will be? My guess on this is that will be above or very close to 3000 euro.


Well I guess Time will tell. I am now canceling my plans of buying the B8000.

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