55" 1080p 3D LCD/LED TV
For 2011 Samsung ups the ante in TVs again, their UN series LED TVs were immensely popular in 2011 and each one we reviewed was impressive in picture quality, appearance, feature set and overall quality. Replacing last year's C8000 series are the D8000 series and they are slimmer, lighter, better looking and loaded with even more features. It doesn't look like Samsung will be losing the TV crown in 2011.
Picture and Viewing Features
The UN55D8000 uses a 1080p, 240Hz LCD panel with LED edge lighting, the edge lighting is capable of local dimming for increased contrast in dark scenes and better contrast than LED or LCD televisions with constant back lighting. For the new D8000 work has been done to reduce cross-talk during 3D programming and to smooth out any uneven lighting commonly found in edge lit TVs.
These Samsung LED panels can get very bright and they produce rich, saturated color. Sometimes the colors can appear oversaturuated but many viewers like that look and broadcast and cable networks comply by oversaturating their content. On the D8000 this makes color leap off the screen, very powerful but not as realistic as some might like. The color can of course be dialed back using Samsung's excellent picture controls.
The D8000 sees 2D to 3D conversion return, we were not wholly impressed by this feature last year but content shot in 2D will never have the pop of content shot with a 3D camera, however it would be nice to see improvement in this feature.
The UN55D8000 looks good... really, really good. The single pane of glass goes all the way to the edge and is surrounded by a .2" chrome strip. The whole TV is around a half an inch deep and just looks impressive no matter what angle you are looking at it. All of Samsung's LED TVs for 2011 are showpieces for any living room.
Internet Applications and Connectivity
High end Samsung TVs will include their new "Smart Hub" in 2011, this divdes the connected features of the TV into 4 categories:
- Samsung Apps: Samsung was the first to offer an HDTV app store similar to the ones you find on today's smartphones. There is plenty of free content like YouTube, Pandora, streaming media and social media content and there is also premium content that varies in price but is for the most part cheap.
- Web Browser: Smart Hub equipped televisions come with a full web browser. Surf the internet without getting up from the sofa and getting your laptap.
- Your Video: Based on what content you watch this area of the Smart Hub will suggest content you may enjoy based on your viewing habits.
- Search All: Search your TV, any DLNA connected devices and even networked PCs all at the same time. Quickly find the content you are looking for
The physical appearance of the UN55D8000 is the feature you will notice first, the glass that stretches all the the way to the slender chrome frame and the .5" depth are striking.
Bright, colorful LED backlit LCD panel has excellent black levels thanks to local dimming
Expanded Internet Features give you more to watch, all the time and the included web browser and WiFi are standouts amongst those.
The D8000 has plenty of connection options, plenty of HDMI 1.4 inputs, analog component and composite video and for the first time Samsung is including built in WiFi in a television.
-Jack Burden, Editorial Contributor
HD Picture Quality: 9/10
Standard Definition Picture Quality: 9/10
Features Rating: 9.5/10
Value Rating: 9.25/10
Overall Rating: 9.2/10