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Samsung UE60D8000 - 2D Picture Quality

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

The UE60D8000 isn’t endorsed by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), but that’s not to say it doesn’t have plenty of calibration tools. There’s a degree of colour management, gamma controls and white balance adjustment, as well as a lengthy list of processing features aimed at boosting everything from colour and contrast to sharpness and motion clarity.

You need to be careful with many of these latter processing tools, as most come with negative as well as positive side effects. But some of them can improve pictures with certain types of content, so long as you only use them on their lowest ‘power’ settings.

As usual with Samsung’s latest generation of edge LED TV, the first word that pops out of your mouth as you behold the UE60D8000 in action will likely be ‘wow’, as they clearly appear calibrated to continue the policy of ‘shock and awe’ started by the design.

Starting with 2D images, they are astonishingly bright, despite the tiny amount of space provided for the edge-based LEDs. This brightness ensures that colours are driven off the screen with exceptional aggression, making them look vibrant and pictures generally look almost insanely punchy and dynamic.

Samsung UE60D8000

What’s really surprising/impressive about the potency of the UE60D8000’s pictures, though, is the fact that it’s achieved while maintaining one of the deepest black level responses in the LCD TV world. Being able to combine lots of brightness with good black levels suggests a native contrast performance that most if not all other brands can only dream about matching - outstanding! This is a particularly great feature for film lovers.

Also impressive is how few reflections we could see on the screen despite its size (clearly there’s some clever filtering going on somewhere), and how sharp and detailed HD pictures look. Really big screens like the UE60D8000 are usually the best ones for highlighting HD’s quality versus standard definition, but Samsung’s new giant does even better than most king-sized rivals in this respect. In fact, it occasionally goes a touch far, to the point where edge-stressing and fizziness appear. But careful tweaking of the set’s sharpness settings - and turning off edge enhancement - can usually solve this.

We do have a couple of issues with the UE60D8000’s 2D pictures, though. First, the provided picture presets prove less than helpful, as they tend to push contrast and brightness too hard for comfort, leaving pictures looking noisy and tiring. Fortunately, it doesn’t take too much work to sort the presets out. But no amount of tinkering fully dealt with our other 2D UE60D8000 problem: inconsistent backlighting.

As soon as we heard about the UE60D8000 we’d been worried that this issue - where parts of dark images look slightly cloudy due to the screen not being able to achieve a consistent backlight - might trouble such a large edge-lit TV, and our worries prove at least slightly well founded.

For if you’re watching a dark movie scene on the UE60D8000 in a reasonably dark room - something many potential buyers would probably want to do fairly regularly - you can make out ‘jets’ of light sneaking a few inches into the picture from each corner.

Keithe6e

September 26, 2011, 5:39 pm

My mother bought the 46in version of this, the main reason was for the small bezel, the TV sits in front of a window, and because the bezel is so small we were able to get a 46in and only going slightly higher than her old 32in. Also the back of her old TV was grey, this one is black, so from outside you wound't even no there was a TV there.

Other features we really like, we added 2 cheap external HD's, and we've used one to act as a PVR and the other for storing Media on. It plays 3D MKV's SBS format too.

The upscaler on this appears to be very good too, but now that HD is broadcasting here, you can certainly tell the difference from SD and HD, BBC HD looks stunning (I think I know why the Dragons are called Dragons from Dragons Den, you can see the scales in there skin :)

RonRoyce

September 27, 2011, 5:03 pm

Seems like every manufacturer is going for side lit LED with all its inherent issues with black uniformity, not to mention the transistor radio sound quality due to the tiny speakers they are forced to fit because there is no room to fit anything half decent, instead of backlit LED, and all because everybody wants their TV's slimmer than a Rizla. Who cares how deep it is??? If you care about meaningless fashion details more than how it actually performs you deserve everything you get.

Getting properly fed up with TV after TV going for style over substance and with us the consumer having very little choice unless we have exceptionally deep wallets. If people weren't so gullible we may actually see some manufacturers seeing sense and givng us product with less built in picture defects!

Chris

September 27, 2011, 6:58 pm

+1

Like you say, direct-lit LED TVs seem to have gone the way of the dodo, with only a few manufacturers offering it in their pricey flagship sets (Sony and Philips spring to mind). Such a shame.

Having bought a Sumsung D7000 myself though, I can confirm that it's an excellent set despite the edge-lit backlight. This just makes me wonder how good it would be if it were direct lit though.

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