As with many Samsung TVs that have come our way this year, the UE46D8000’s out of the box picture settings are pretty ‘out there’; far too bright, contrast-rich and colour-heavy. This makes them eye-catching, certainly, but it also exaggerates source noise, makes colours look unbalanced, and worst of all causes some pretty obvious backlight consistency problems during dark scenes.
Thankfully, although it’s not endorsed by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), the UE46D8000 is packed with enough picture calibration tools to put things right. At the very least you should make sure you set the backlight down to its 12-13 (out of 20) setting, and get the contrast down to around its ’80’ (out of 100) setting. But we’d also recommend that you tinker with the set’s white balance and especially colour management tools if you really want to start to see the sort of subtlety the UE46D8000 is capable of as well as its more obvious dynamism.
The UE46D8000’s high position in Samsung’s range means, of course, that it’s equipped with 3D. And this being Samsung rather than its Korean rival LG, this 3D is of the full HD active variety, with a single pair of active shutter glasses included in the box. You also get what is currently for our money the mainstream TV world’s best 2D to 3D conversion processing.
The UE46D8000’s 3D pictures additionally stand out from most other active 3D sets with their brightness and colour richness. Not because Samsung’s Bluetooth-fed 3D glasses knock less brightness out of the picture than most, but because the edge LED lighting system that drives the set is capable of pumping out pretty extraordinary levels of vibrancy considering how little physical bodywork there is to play with.
The catch with the UE46D8000’s 3D performance shows up during dark scenes. For it's here that crosstalk ghosting noise appears fairly routinely. And as ever, when it does appear it distracts you from what you’re watching and gives the impression that the picture is slightly out of focus.
This is all the more unfortunate because actually, when crosstalk isn’t around (which is the case, thankfully, during almost all bright and colourful scenes, and even during dark scenes if they don't contain any small, bright elements) the UE46D8000’s HD 3D pictures look unusually crisp and detailed.
With 2D, provided you follow the simple setup advice mentioned earlier, there are really no major negatives to report. In fact, its 2D pictures are consistently brilliant.