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Samsung UE55C8000 55in 3D TV - Picture Quality, Audio and Verdict

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Samsung UE55C8000 front


Our Score:


Having covered a lot so far, I’ll try and wrap up the rest of the Samsung’s picture performance assessment as succinctly as possible. Starting with its black level response, which is good.

Crucially there’s much less sign of the backlight inconsistency I noted on the preview sample of the cheaper Samsung UE46C7000 in my 3D TV: First Impressions feature. This is good news but it’s particularly welcome where 3D is concerned, since seeing this essentially 2D distraction lying across the 'surface' of a 3D picture would have been very distracting.

I suspect that some of the reason for the UE55C8000’s superior backlight uniformity has to do with its move to only having LED lights along the top and bottom edges of the screen. Not putting them down the sides as well clearly tackles the common problem of too much brightness in the corners of the picture, where the LED light paths would have had to cross over.

Rather less successful is the local dimming aspect of the edge LED lighting. Although it’s a little cleverer than the similar system found on the LG 42LE7900, even at its lowest setting it can still cause some clear and distracting ‘boxing’ around bright image elements - as well as generally leaving the image looking slightly unstable. So personally, I’d say leave the feature turned off. This is a slight pity, since turning local dimming off does reduce the UE55C8000’s general black level response a touch, leaving it looking merely good rather than great. Samsung UE55C8000 front angle

Nonetheless, the picture’s brightness is spectacular - especially remarkable considering the screen only uses top and bottom LED lights. Colours are fearsomely intense too, yet aside from some slightly monotone peak reds, they’re also extremely natural in tone and really subtle in blend.

Provided you avoid the set’s noise reduction systems as much as possible, you’ll also be seriously impressed by how sharp its pictures look when showing HD. And this sharpness holds good even during motion-packed action sequences thanks to Samsung’s latest 200Hz processing.

The 200Hz engine is clean too, provided you only run it on its ‘Clear’ setting, reducing both the judder and blur commonly found to some degree with LCD TVs without generating nasty artefacts. I’d say the UE55C8000’s motion talents prove a big help, moreover, in making its 3D pictures look clearer, cleaner and punchier than those of the preview UE46C7000 I assessed.

Samsung also continues to make huge improvements with its standard definition upscaling engine. If there were serious weaknesses in Samsung’s upscaling engine, they’d stand out like a sore thumb on the UE55C8000’s colossal screen. But actually its standard def pictures look clean, sharp and colour-rich to a degree few if any other king-sized TVs can match.

Really, the only significant annoyance I found with the UE55C8000’s non-3D pictures concerns its viewing angle. For watching it from even as little as 35 degrees off axis can lead to a significant drop-off in black level response, and a marked increase in the screen’s backlight inconsistency.

Focusing finally on the UE55C8000’s audio, it’s definitely an improvement on the pretty feeble efforts of Samsung’s 2009 LCD/LED models. Though it’s still only adequate rather than truly exciting.


So my first experience of a fully functioning 3D TV has come to an end - and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. In fact, were it not for the crosstalk issue, I’d be totally convinced that 3D is going to become as big in its own ‘events-based’ way as HD has. Even as it stands, I think it’s got far more legs than I or many of my fellow journalists perhaps expected.

It remains to be seen how the UE55C8000’s 3D abilities might compare with other brands of 3D TV. But my gut instinct is that they will actually hold up very well against other LCD and LED TVs, with Panasonic’s imminent 3D plasma models probably likely to provide the toughest challenge.

Importantly, though, the UE55C8000 is also a stunningly attractive, feature-heavy star with non-3D footage. So provided you can swallow its price, it’s a seriously impressive TV even if you only decide to use its 3D talents every now and then.


April 26, 2010, 9:28 pm

For a pricey unit like this they still expect you to spare the change on HiFi extras to make up for the poor audio now that is a surprise. I await the PS3 740P'ish 3D games on this big TV should be fun to truly see what 3D has to offer.


April 26, 2010, 9:32 pm

So you actually played games? With all that extra processing then, has Samsung managed to improve upon last year's input lag reduction? Or are you still not testing that?

Gaurav Sharma

April 27, 2010, 1:39 am

I think the effects of Riyad leaving are already apparent, the most recent TV reviews have been shallow at best.

How does this compare to last year's B8000 model, which it replaces?

How does it compare to previous "10/10" LED sets such as the Sony X4500? If it's 9/10, I'm assuming it falls short, but where and how?

Where is this model placed in Samsung's line-up? Is this their cheapest or most expensive 3D LED TV or neither? (clue: there's a C7000 and C9000 series).

Is the Dynamic Edge lit LED technology worth recommending over standard Edge LED? How does it compare to real backlit LEDs?

etc etc. You can do better.


April 27, 2010, 4:47 am

yup - mentioned input lag to the new editor in my welcome to him. AM still on a 34 " CRT Trinitron here for gaming. Every milisecond counts (hugs my g9x mouse)

john mortimer

April 27, 2010, 5:13 am

samsung PS50C7000

please review asap as this is like only £1300

or samsung PS63C7000 is like only £2300


April 27, 2010, 1:12 pm

Yeah its not a full review if you do not Quote/Test input lag.


April 27, 2010, 1:44 pm

Regarding HDMI v1.4

I see that you state this is required to utilise the 3d features of the TV correctly. However I have an AV (Sony ES range) amplifier that only has 1.2 / 1.3 (not quite sure) ports. Does that mean that if I put a "3D source" of any kind through my amplifier I am going to have issues ?

I'm not that keen on 3d in the first place, so if I'm caught having to replace a £700 amp too then it will be a long time before I upgrade.

Finally a small point. Many of us will be buying TV's more for 2d than 3d for a long time yet. Perhaps you could separate the "picture quality" score into 2d and 3d elements in future ?



April 27, 2010, 2:02 pm

One of the main reasons a lot of people will jump onto the 3D wagon is due to gaming. Why is'nt there never any mention of input lag in these reviews?...I'm planning on buying PS3/xbox soon or link up my PC to one of these TV's - paying between 1 to 3k we need to know if games are playable surely?


April 27, 2010, 3:03 pm

Okay guys, we get the picture. We'll look into the issue and see what we can come up with.

@Gaurav Sharma: Not sure what you're on about, this is as in-depth as any other TV review we've done. Also, you're very much missing the point of, well, reviews if you think a 9/10 now makes this a worse TV than one that got 10/10 some time ago. Times change, products move on and so do our goalposts - a couple of years ago you'd be happy with at least one HDMI, now we expect at least three.

@AJ: I can't see us adding 2d and 3d image quality as we've got enough scores for TVs already. Scores are for quick reference and you should read the actual review to understand the subtleties.

@john mortimer: We'll be looking at the full range as soon as possible.


April 27, 2010, 3:30 pm

Did I just read Ed making a promise to consider the introduction of input lag figures?!

Hell has frozen over!


April 27, 2010, 3:41 pm

This is a lovely set and I'm drooling, I have to admit. But it is not exactly cheap (even allowing for the street price being lower and, one day, falling lower than that). My question: as someone who has no interest in 3D whatsoever - I've tried it enough times, really - how much extra is my wallet being penalised for a capability that is completely unwanted? Or, to put it another way (and what I'd like TR reviews to factor in), how much would/should it cost if it were just a 2D TV? I mean, is this thing worth the price just as a 2D TV?


April 27, 2010, 3:55 pm

@Metalex: Apparently so. ;)

@Ripsnorter: The premium for 3D capability is actually quite small so far as I'm aware - in the region of a £200 - £300. This is because 3D in this form is essentially nothing more than a fast framerate and a pair of glasses. However, as is often the case, the latest technology is being introduced to the top end hardware first so it's still going to be expensive. I'm not sure about Samsung's products off the top of my head but I do know that Panasonic will be releasing TVs that are identical to the 3D sets just without 3D so we'll be able to see for certain when they arrive.

Charm El Snake

April 27, 2010, 8:42 pm

I am so annoyed that when they came up with the 3D standard, they didn't think to standardise the interface between the telly and the active glasses. You just know you're going to have to put up with extortionately priced glasses from the manufacturers, which will put off people from buying into the new technology. And to make them a separate purchase is simply taking the Mickey.

Hans Gruber

April 28, 2010, 1:16 am

I got to demo one of these 3D tellies in John Lewis today. They were playing Monsters vs Aliens 3D and well, there were some good moments for sure but much of the film (the vast majority) was very flat with little inkling of the extra depth 3D can bring to a film. That said the out of the screen moments were pretty cool.

The active shutter glasses were far more comfortable and much lighter than expected. It's hard to see where that £100+ goes build quality wise. They had rechargeable glasses that you tethered to a charging point (presumably on the telly somewhere) and non-rechargeable kinds. The glasses lowered the overall scene brightness considerably, as did they reduce sharpness to a not too insignificant degree. The TV really was very sharp though - lovely picture for standard 2D as well as a decent enough pic (with the glasses on) for 3D. The Samsung 3D Blu-ray drive was an extra £350. Anyone wanting to swap this TV for my -cough- Kuro, well, just leave your details here and I'll get back to you (pronto!).

AJ - unfortunately you will need a new amp with HDMI 1.4 to support the 3D side of pictures, as well as a new Blu ray player and a new TV of course. Definitely not a cheap upgrade. Onkyo have just released their latest refresh of their AV line that support HDMI 1.4.


April 28, 2010, 12:44 pm

Thanks @Red

I guess that's me out of the "new TV" race for a long time then. Although I take it I will still be able to update my TV sometime in the future with my present Amp if I'm not bothered about 3D.

HDMI being a moving standard is really one of the HiFi companies worst ideas ever. It's also hugely confusing and your average bloke on the street doesn't even know about it at all. Even looking at the Sony website today for their present top of the range amps it does not tell you what versions the HDMI ports support. The fact it isn't software upgradeable is just the icing on the cake.

The only bright side to this is that 3D in the home is pointless and I don't for 1 second feel the need to buy a TV with it. Sitting around in a darkened room, 5ft from a 55" screen with sunglasses on is a good idea ? I think not.


April 28, 2010, 3:25 pm

@AJ The amp might work with 3D. HDMI1.4 has the same bandwidth and data transfer speeds as 1.3. The only thing the amp would not be able to pass-through are the new flags which tell the TV when a 3D mode is being transmitted. It just might be a case of you needing to select (on the TV) which 3D mode the blu-ray player is putting out. Much like manually adjusting aspect ratio.


April 28, 2010, 5:44 pm

Jopey has a point I think - there is some debate as to whether current HDMI 1.3 amps will be able to passthrough an HDMI 1.4 signal, maybe by bypassing any amp video processing etc. For example, on my Denon AVR-2310 it's possible to switch off video conversion, which means that the HDMI signal is basically untouched from source to TV.

Red, don't forget that a firmware update is coming for the PS3 which will enable it to play 3D Blu-Ray. The PS3 isn't HDMI 1.4, so obviously some form of 3D is possible with earlier versions of HDMI. Moreover, current Sky HD boxes, which also do not have HDMI 1.4, will support Sky 3D broadcasts. However, I have no idea whether there will be a noticeable decrease in picture quality when using equipment with older HDMI ports. Maybe someone from TR with first-hand experience can answer this question.

Hans Gruber

April 28, 2010, 6:10 pm

AJ, jopey & Metalex - sorry should say I gave an unqualified & over-simplified answer since I was thinking of in-receiver processing and not simple passthrough. It gets complicated where AV receivers are concerned so please forgive the perhaps less than helpful response AJ, I was going by bare specs rather than any experience or thought for how you could find a workaround. Just assumed it would double up bandwidth requirements, more like 4K would than simple 2K extended (as with revisions of 1.3xx)? Should say I don't know about the tech side really. http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...


April 28, 2010, 8:15 pm

Thanks everyone. I actually suspected this may be the case.

Interesting to hear that the PS3 has an update coming out (from a curiosity point of view). As stated above I'm really not interested in the 3D, but just peeved off that at some point in the future I can see myself having to buy a new amp just to upgrade the ports. Still that's a long way off yet.

And to begin with HDMI seemed such a good idea too :-(

Hans Gruber

April 28, 2010, 11:41 pm

HDMI simplifying things? Yeah, didn't it just? ;) Now some are saying DisplayPort offers a better deal since (unlike HDMI) it's royalty free.


May 4, 2010, 12:15 pm

Hi guys,

I’m new to your community and because I did my homework before purchasing a 55” C8000 I am now, after 3 weeks of ownership and day and night (how much of night only my wife knows ) testing and ENJOYING in the position to express myself to the public.

First of all my location is Bellevue WA, USA (this is near Seattle); second, I must tell you that I was in the market for a 55” 240 Hz LED to replace my 42” Plasma screen.

Because I’m a Samsung fan I first looked for a Samsung, but… Surprise, the only 2010 set to fit my needs is a 3D. It has never crossed my mind to go for a 3D before that. So… Go back home and do your homework for 3D. I found out that there is a Samsung (the only 3D on the market) named C7000, but if I’ll wait for seven more days I could get the C8000, much nicer better features, bla, bla, bla…

I started to look up the differences and realized it makes a whole lot of sense to wait.

The deal was a price match at the most up scaled specialty store and I got it for 2799 + the 3D Blue Ray player for 399 and the “starter kit” consisting of two pairs of active glasses and the only 3D available movie for free. You will have to add the tax of 9,5% to the package.

Because I have a high tech wiring inside the wall consisting of all you might want to hook up to your screen but two years ago’s technology I thought that my HDMI (1.3) will do. WRONG!!! I didn’t! And the reason why that happened is that 1.3 has no wire on pin 19.

1.4 has!!! This explains also why all devices able to get an update for 3D are able to do so. The hard upgrade is in the cable and not the device itself.

All these devices have pin 19 hooked up “for future use”. I hope it does make sense. Don’t get me wrong, everything works fine, but the 3D coming from the Player.

Back to the TV! It’s a great piece of technology to own. And the reason for me not waiting for the competition to come up with their stuff was simple the fact that Samsung is the only company to do 2d to 3D conversion.

The 3D from the Player and the 3D disk is fabulous. The rest of HD content, no matter where it comes from (we have over 200 channels in HD), satellite or Blue Ray will show deepness depending of the type of content. Wearing glasses is no issue due to the fact that they are extremely light.

Watching in 3D is an event and not the common way to watch TV. One thing I noticed after testing a lot: You will have to change settings for 3D out of 2D comparing to watching in 2D. It was a little bit annoying before finding the best settings ever for the best results ever, but now it’s only fun.

I would say go with Samsung for this conversion feature or you will spend too much for the limited content available to watch in 3D with a different brand. BTW, 46” is nothing compared to 55”.

Have fun!

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