Right, all this and we haven’t even looked at the UE55C8000’s picture-related features yet. The first thing to say is that it uses edge LED lighting, and in a first for Samsung, it follows the LG 42LE7900 in using a form of local dimming, where segments of the edge lights can be dimmed separately to other segments. Of course, I was rather unimpressed by this system on the LG set, actually choosing to leave the feature turned off. But we’ll reserve judgment on the UE55C8000 for now.
Also new to Samsung’s 3D TVs is an LED Motion Plus feature, designed to remove lag from fast-moving scenes, and a startlingly technical 10p white balance tool that allows you – while using the TV’s movie mode – to control the white balance in 10-point intervals by adjusting the red, green and blue brightness levels.
Handy, too, are a flesh tone adjustment, offset and gain adjustments for the red, green and blue colour elements, colour space adjustment, gamma adjustment, and best of all, the facility to not only adjust the strength of the TV’s 200Hz engine, but also the extent to which it applies its specific blur and judder reduction algorithms.
There’s plenty more we could talk about here, but it really is high time we got into the main event of the UE55C8000: its 3D functionality.
The rather gorgeous remote control carries a dedicated 3D button, which when pressed pulls up a variety of 3D options, depending on what source you’re watching. For instance, press the 3D button while watching a normal 2D source, and the TV switches into its 2D-3D conversion mode. More on this rather controversial feature later.
If you’ve got one of Sky’s side-by-side 3D images on screen, one of the options available is a side-by-side one – clearly indicated by a simple icon – alongside an alternative top and bottom 3D mode which, so far as I’m aware, no UK 3D sources are currently anticipated to use.
Play a 3D Blu-ray into the UE55C8000 from Samsung’s BD-C6900 Blu-ray player, and the TV will automatically switch into the correct active shutter playback mode.
Actually, the UE55C8000 outputs any 3D source it receives using its active shutter system; it has to, otherwise the images wouldn’t work with Samsung’s active shutter glasses.
No pairs of these glasses, by the way, are included as standard with the UE55C8000. This is a real disappointment given that rivals Panasonic and LG have declared that at least one set of glasses will be included with their 3D TVs. Though although Samsung wasn’t able to confirm the details at the time of writing, it seems likely that you will be able to order a pair for free somehow after you’ve bought the TV.
While we’re on the subject of Samsung’s 3D glasses (which are unlikely to work correctly with other brands of 3D TV, by the way), I’m not a big fan of them. They’re rather flimsy for something costing £100 or more, and they also let in too much ambient light from your surroundings, causing reflections on the lens that can detract considerably from the 3D experience. This is one reason why I recommend that you keep your room as dark as possible while watching 3D material.
Another reason is if you watch a 3D picture in a well-lit room, you tend to find the experience diminished by the visually odd relationship between the 3D image in your TV and the actual 3D world of your room. It’s hard to describe here, but I’m sure anyone who gets a 3D TV will quickly understand my point.
In other words, to get the most out of 3D you have to exclude as much of the outside world from coming between you and your TV.
With this in mind, I would definitely anticipate that when it comes to 3D, size matters. Handy, then, that Samsung decided to make a monster 55in screen my first full experience of 3D. Frankly, I’m just not sure I can live with anything less now…