If it were up to us, everyone would have a 55-inch (or larger!) TV, not a 40-inch TV like the Samsung UE40F8000. Even people with really tiny rooms. But if 40-inches is what you want and money is no object, look no further than the Samsung UE40F8000. Read on to find out why.
The Samsung UE40F8000 is the Korean brand’s flagship 40-in TV for 2013. And it wears its premium status right there on its sleeve with a design that’s borderline miraculous. If you can spot the frame of the TV in the picture below then you've got better eyesight than most.
The black bezel is less than 0.5cm thick. It's barely noticeable, which makes it so much easier to become immersed in what you're watching. That's doubly true if you’re taking advantage of the set’s built-in active 3D capabilities - two sets of glasses are included in the box.
The high glamour of the UE40F8000’s design continues on its rear thanks to a spectacular polished metal finish so lovely it makes you want to put the TV in the middle of the room so people can walk all the way round it rather than shove it into a corner or hang it on a wall.
The boldly curved stand is very pretty too, though you do need to make sure whatever furniture you’re going to sit the TV on is as wide as the screen, otherwise the front edges of the stand will hang off the edges and cause the TV to topple unceremoniously forwards - a silly, if manageable, design oversight.
If you decide you can live with hiding the luscious rear away completely by wall-hanging the set, you'll be pleased to find all the connections are accessible from the side. Even the power cable can be slotted in vertically.
The connections on the 40F8000 are prodigious in number. Samsung has returned to four HDMIs after an unwelcome flirtation with three last year, and its extreme multimedia ambitions are abundantly obvious in its three USBs, LAN port, and built-in Wi-Fi.
As you would expect from these jacks, they let the UE40F8000 play back a wide range of photo, music and video files from USB devices, DLNA-enabled PCs (via Samsung’s AllShare software), and Samsung’s Smart TV online service.
The online services are outstanding in their number and variety, especially when it comes to the number of video platforms on offer. When it comes to catch up services, as well as the BBC iPlayer and ITV player, 4oD is now imminent too, plus there are subscription services galore, including Netflix, LoveFilm, Acetrax, Blinkbox, and Curzon On Demand.
It’s not just the extent of Samsung’s multimedia facilities that stands out from the pack, though. The interface used to help you access all your myriad content sources is also unique and extremely clever. Almost too clever for its own good, in fact...
So radical is this interface that we’ve already done a two-part, in-depth exploration of it in an earlier feature - read part one of our Samsung 2013 Smart TV review. Here we’ll limit ourselves to pointing out the basics, starting with the fact that it uses five different home screens devoted to five different types of content: TV, on-demand, social media, personal file sharing, and Samsung’s App store, from where you can download any apps that take your fancy.
What’s more, the TV and on-demand menus are built round a recommendations system derived from the face that the TV can learn what sort of programmes you like by analysing your viewing history. Nifty.
All this said, at times the interface is a little impenetrable and vague, especially when you first get the TV - sometimes it feels as if the TV is dictating to you what to watch rather than simply helping you make more informed choices. The social page’s curious obsession with simply showing recommended videos from people in your Twitter and Facebook feeds seems a bit bizarre too, and doesn’t reflect the way most people use social media.