Amazingly, it’s now already almost six months since we got our hands on our first 3D TV: Samsung’s 55in UE55C8000. A set that left us feeling impressed, aside from a few reservations.
However, the 3D world certainly hasn’t been standing still since April. So when we were offered the chance to look at the UE55C8000’s recently launched bigger brother - yes, that’s BIGGER brother - we jumped at it.
Of course, it didn’t exactly dent our enthusiasm that the 65in UE65C8000 happens to be the biggest 3D LCD TV yet, bringing LCD into line with the largest 3D plasma we’ve seen to date, Panasonic’s 65in P65VT20.
As with almost all Samsung’s 3D LCD TVs, the UE65C8000 uses edge LED lighting. And as usual with Samsung, the technology has been used to deliver a genuinely gobsmacking, ultra slim (under 30mm) design, given extra pizazz - as if it were needed - by a glorious brushed metallic silver bezel with transparent outer trim.
What’s more, having so slender a rump sitting behind so massive a hunk of screen merely emphasises Samsung’s technological - and iconic - accomplishment with its current edge LED designs.
Not that the UE65C8000 is only a pretty face. For instance, it also comes packing some pretty extensive picture management facilities. Particularly welcome is the extent to which you can play with Samsung’s Motion Plus video processing engine. Motion processing systems can often cause as many problems as they solve, and different people have different tolerances to what motion processing can deliver. So it’s really excellent to find that as well as three basic levels of Motion Plus ‘power’, you can also manually tweak the judder and blur processing elements. Personally we preferred to use the Clean preset, or manually keep the judder processing pretty low but the blur processing fairly high.
We were also very happy to find a sliding gamma control, the tools to adjust the red, green and blue balance of each of the six primary video colours, and the crucial (for accurate calibration) ability to adjust the offset and gain levels of the red, green and blue image elements, and tweak the white balance further using the increasingly common 10-point system.
As usual with a Samsung TV, the UE65C8000 also scores very highly for its multimedia capabilities. These lead off with access to Samsung’s highly impressive Internet@TV service, offering a wide variety of genuinely useful ring-fenced content such as the BBC iPlayer, YouTube, LoveFilm, Facebook, Google Maps, Picasa, Skype and Twitter.
You can also play back a diversity of multimedia file types from either a connected DLNA PC or USB sticks, with further use for the two provided USB ports coming from both the option to add a wi-fi dongle and the option to record from the built-in Freeview HD tuner to a compatible USB HDD.
Recordings made this way are of the pure digital bitstream, and so are flawless in quality, and Samsung is more flexible with the USB HDDs it supports than Panasonic’s USB recorder TVs. You can still only play things you’ve recorded back on to the TV you recorded them from, though; you can’t record TV shows to USB for watching on external portable devices.