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Samsung UE65HU8500: Picture Quality & Set Up

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Editors choice
Samsung UE65HU8500

Summary

Our Score:

10

Samsung UE65HU8500: Set Up

As we’ve come to expect from high-end Samsung TV sets, the UE65HU8500 provides a wealth of picture adjustments. Among the key options to play with are a backlight adjustment, a multi-level dynamic contrast option, a multi-level black tone adjustment, a flesh tone slider, white balance fine tuning, a gamma slider, normal and MPEG noise reduction, and various settings for both Samsung’s Motion Plus motion processing option and Smart LED local dimming engine.

Also present and correct on this 8500 series model is Samsung’s Cinema Black feature, which lets you ‘turn off’ the sections of edge LED lighting that correspond with the parts of the screen occupied by black bars during viewing of 2.35:1 aspect ratio material. This greatly reduces the distracting edge LED issue of clouding and shifting light inconsistencies in black bars as the backlighting self-adjusts to continually optimise itself to the ever-changing picture.

We found with the UE65HU8500 that we needed to set the Cinema Black feature to its Medium level to get a clean result.

In terms of other adjustments, we’d strongly suggest: turning off all noise reduction systems when watching HD and, especially, UHD; reducing the backlight to as low as its 9 or 8 level when watching films in a darkened room to get the best and most cloud-free black level performance; and making sure the backlight and contrast levels are no higher than their 12-14 and 80-85 levels respectively.

We also found it more or less essential to leave the Smart LED local dimming feature set on, albeit only to its Low level, in order to get the deepest, cleanest black level performance out of the screen.

For reasons explained in the 3D Picture Quality section of the review, meanwhile, we’d recommend nudging down the backlight setting for 3D viewing to around 16, and the sharpness to between 37 and 40.

One final thing worth mentioning to adventurous users is the UE65HU8500’s Professional Calibration Mode. This allows you to set your TV up with a level of precision usually only accessible to professional calibration engineers. The system even supports a wide range of USB colour meters, including some relatively affordable ones.

One little issue that occurred to us during set up was that it might have been nice if you could defeat the depth enhancement processing Samsung has introduced for its curved TVs. Hopefully this processing won’t, at any rate, cause input lag issues when gaming.

Samsung UE65HU8500

Samsung UE65HU8500: Picture Quality

Samsung’s top-level TVs have delivered pretty stellar picture results for the past few generations now, so expectations are sky-high for the UE65HU8500. And it’s obvious pretty much immediately that it’s not going to let us down – curve or no curve.

Feeling a bit stroppy about the fact that still nobody has got their bottoms in gear and delivered an easy-to-find native UHD source (more on this later), we actually started out our tests of the UE65HU8500 by trying out its upscaling capabilities with a few Blu-rays and TV shows. And our stroppiness evaporated more or less instantly as the set delivered an incredibly good upscaling performance.

Last year’s Samsung UHD sets were widely praised for their upscaling talents, but they’ve been shifted up at least another couple of gears for 2014, adding a hugely impressive amount of sharpness and detail to proceedings while also doing a remarkable job of kicking out source noise.

Samsung puts this startling improvement down to the extra processing power delivered by the new Quad Core Plus processing.

There is still inevitably a quality gap between native UHD content playback and upscaled content, but upscaled HD has never looked more watchable and ‘next-gen’ on a UHD TV to date. Even standard definition sources don’t look disgusting. Certainly the UE65HU8500 throws down a serious gauntlet for Sony’s upcoming new UHD TVs in this key UHD performance department.

A key component of the UE65HU8500’s much-improved upscaling appears to be the PurColour function. As well as saturations looking richer and more dynamic than those of previous Samsung sets there’s clearly much more definition in Samsung’s colour rendering, giving ultra-detailed areas like leafy trees and grassy fields a vastly cleaner, more precise look.

Not surprisingly this improved colour handling also pays handsome dividends with our two-hour or so compilation of native UHD demo content, enabling the screen to deliver even more accurately than Samsung UHD TVs did last year the bounteous joys native UHD feeds have to offer.

Native UHD feeds seriously do look nothing short of beautiful on the UE65HU8500. The level of detail and clarity on display goes beyond anything we’ve seen before thanks to a combination of the new colour precision and a vastly improved Motion Plus processing engine that’s now so good you can actually use it – at least on a relatively gentle setting – with UHD content without having to worry about any horrible side effects like flickering, haloing around moving objects, unnatural-looking grain or shimmering.

There’s also no hint of the slightly forced, stressed look seen previously on some UHD TVs as they tried to push the sharpness element of UHD content.

Samsung UE65HU8500

We also must admit that the screen’s gentle curve plays its part in the stunning sense with native UHD content that you’re looking at the real world rather than just watching a TV, as the sensation that the extremities of the image are at least tickling your peripheral vision increases your sense of immersion. We suspect, too, that Samsung’s new curve-based depth-enhancement processing is helping boost the sense of clarity and depth - though since the feature can’t be turned off we can’t confirm this impression with a simple head to head comparison.

The curve also enhances that key benefit of UHD pictures noted with last year’s UHD TVs: greater image depth. The ability of UHD to resolve smaller details means it can keep resolving the image further into the distance, leading to some spectacular results with long-distance view shots. Spectacular results made even more jaw-dropping, we have to say, by the further sense of depth created by the curve.

As we stared still longer into the wonder of the UE65HU8500’s UHD pictures, it also gradually dawned on us that the screen’s fantastic contrast performance was playing a huge part in the awesome sense of detail and depth. That's because the screen’s native contrast performance is so strong that it’s comfortably able to render extremely high levels of shadow detail even into the darkest corners, avoiding any distracting – especially in the context of a UHD image – hollow spots or flat areas.

The UE65HU8500’s immensely accomplished native black level capabilities also mean you can run it without using the Dynamic contrast system and still get a great black colour. A fact which contributes - along with the image’s superb lack of image noise - to creating the deliciously stable, direct feel to the UE65HU8500’s native UHD images that most distinguishes them from any we’ve witnessed before.

If you do want to boost the image’s dynamism via the Dynamic Contrast system though, the system’s lowest setting is pretty decent, working quickly and sensitively enough to only become distracting with its brightness ‘shifts’ while watching films with really extreme light to dark or dark to light cuts.

We’d been a little worried that the move to a curved, edge-lit LED screen may have caused Samsung issues with backlight clouding and inconsistency, but no – so long as you resist the urge to run the TV with the backlight set too high and leave the Smart LED feature set to low, backlight clouding with 2D footage is pretty much non-existent – especially if you use the Cinema Black feature.

If Samsung’s LCD TVs have had a weakness over the years it’s that they’ve tended to suffer with a quite limited viewing angle before contrast and colour reduce. But here again the curve surprisingly comes into its own. For the curve actually means you don’t really experience any significant drop off in colour or contrast from even quite extreme angles. Though as noted earlier you probably won’t want to view from more than 35 degrees anyway for other geometry-related reasons.

flaca

March 21, 2014, 1:13 pm

Just out if interest, and for when I inevitably pull the trigger on one of these or similar, what were you using for an UHD source?

Noel Grundy

March 21, 2014, 1:44 pm

How do you work your scoring out? 10,9,9,9,8,8 So basically averaging 9. Overall score 10?

Prem Desai

March 21, 2014, 4:25 pm

Losing all faith in your scoring system. At best, it is inconsistent.

Looks at the cons. Look at the price. Rubbish viewing angle. On what planet does this score 10/10?????

Utter nonsense.

ruudboek

March 21, 2014, 6:22 pm

An input lag of 62 ms is way, way too high. It's just another UHD tv is that no good for gaming.
Very disappointing of Samsung.

John Archer

March 21, 2014, 6:54 pm

Hi Prem

Fraid there's been a gremlin here. The scores for value and sound should both have read 9; the sound one was left at 8 until we got a new sample today without the fizzing flaw noted on the original sample (even though we always suspected the fizzing was a 'one-off' problem). And the value score was a mistaken throwback to a point only a couple of days ago where we thought the TV was going to be priced at £5,000, not £4,000.

The marks have been changed now and this hopefully means the overall mark makes more sense to you.

One other point to add here is that we always consider 2D picture quality as the single most important aspect of any TV.

Hope this clears things up for you, and apologies for the confusion!

John Archer

March 21, 2014, 6:55 pm

Hi Noel

Please see my reply to Prem above.

Thanks!

Taz

March 21, 2014, 9:47 pm

Where is this available for £4k? I've only seen it advertised for £5k!,

nik

March 21, 2014, 10:00 pm

Not clear anything

Where laboratory tests?

3D is very important and is not clear anything!

The screen has a 4:4:4 color ?

What true contras ?

Motion resolution (max) ?

Motion
resolution (dejudder off) ?

andyvan

March 22, 2014, 6:20 am

Just want to confirm that. John told me to change them an I forgot. My bad!

Charles

March 22, 2014, 9:40 am

Currys are advertising this set as £1000 more than the competition.My local Hughes in Norwich has these sets on their system at £4000 and on line companies like Simply Electricals,AV Lounge,Spatial etc all have them for within £5 of £4000.

godafoss

March 23, 2014, 9:40 pm

Still as clear as mud how this TV got a 10/10 overall. It's clearly not perfect, not even close to perfect. It's poor value, how it rates a 9 is a joke, maybe a 6 would be generous, it's lag is woeful, the reflections caused by the curve are terrible and let's face this is jts a high priced gimmick to extract even more money from suckers, the remote looks like something off a $200 cheap Chinese knockoff. It's your typical Samsung, that always seems to have quality issues and come to Australia and see how they handle warranty issues. This a company that had a class action taken against them in the USA and despite making changes to policy their, made no changes in Australia.

Benzyl

March 24, 2014, 12:07 pm

Lets face it you are prepared to spend £2000 or more on a TV then why do you care about the sound on it?
Why don't they just make the sets without speakers just have Audio return on the connections!

momo

March 24, 2014, 2:54 pm

There is another review which has very poor performance measured in ANSI contrast. What could you say about it? Thank you very much and best regards.

Evan

March 24, 2014, 3:35 pm

Because many people don't like the idea of cluttering up their living space with soundbars or surround sound systems. Sony's take on actually providing decent sound on the likes of the KDL-55X9005A is interesting, works well and looks pretty good too in my opinion. It's a toss up between having lovely slim bezels like the Samsung or better sound without a separate set of speakers. It will depend on personal preference.

torjs99

March 25, 2014, 10:51 pm

the only reason for buying a bent tv is to sort out keystone issues in an adsa carpark bought camcorder pirate, thou if you got 4k you could buy the bluray

anton

March 26, 2014, 8:18 am

It is confirmed that the ANSI contrast is not as good: 1,036:1. Much poorer than in the lower range models. Inexplicable.

gedgetdisqusser

March 29, 2014, 9:01 pm

Clouding here ...clouding there... No thanx ....

simon sazdov

March 31, 2014, 2:23 pm

Wasn`t this model supposed to be a flat uhd tv? And if not, what is the model for that one?

Andrew Nicholson

April 2, 2014, 7:57 am

May I ask if you tested the TV with a PS4 and how the games looked upscaled (regardless of the input lag)?

Patrik Gårdewall

April 4, 2014, 2:12 pm

Clouding? Im not supprised :)
Samsung had it already in 2009 with its LED TVs.
The Amateur Techs at Samsung must be idiots.
They should have solved it by now

As for the ANSI contrast haha
What a joke!
My Pioneer Kuro from 2008 has 41000:1 in ANSI contrast.
Thats what im talking about.

Patrik Gårdewall

April 4, 2014, 2:13 pm

Compare it to my modified Kuro at 41000:1 ANSI Contrast and you can see that time is standing still for the LED LCD tvs

Patrik Gårdewall

April 4, 2014, 2:23 pm

Right.
And what about rec2020 Gamut that all 4K tvs should have as it is the new standard.
Is it still the washed out low color SRGB Gamut here?

andyvan

April 8, 2014, 2:33 pm

Just further to the points above, our scores are not based on averages. From our scores guide: http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

"10 - ExceptionalA score of 10 indicates that the product sets the benchmark, or reference, from which to judge other products. Only the very best products need apply and TrustedReviews evaluates every 10/10 very carefully. Any product that scores 10/10 overall must be approved by the Editor and is awarded the TrustedReviews Editor's Choice award.

The key thing to remember about a 10/10 product is that it doesn't mean it's perfect. There's no such thing as a perfect product. What a 10/10 will do, however, is reset our expectations of other products in that category. For example, the Motorola Moto G is the only phone we gave a 10/10 to in 2013 because it was head and shoulders above any other 'cheap' phone.

Ton

April 18, 2014, 2:08 pm

thats the 7500 model, quite a bit cheaper, but with most of this ones features

simon sazdov

April 18, 2014, 3:58 pm

Thanks for the info.

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