Samsung UE55C8000 3D TV Review

As all of us are aware the January’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show) held in Las Vegas witnessed the unveiling of real and not the archetype 3D HDTVs with Samsung’s booth showcasing an array of 3D models, that included various LED LCD flat panels together with added 3D plasma sets. The first of the LED 3D models had just hit the telly market besides 3D Blu-ray playback feature that obviously requires a Blu-ray player that is 3D compatible. Looks like Samsung has hurled in a massive bonus in the form of an incorporated 2D to 3D conversion functionality that is user selectable, which allows consumers to watch anything in 3D. As you can imagine, this key feature might place Samsung to lead the 3D HDTV race.

In the following review, we will see about the Samsung 8000 Series UE55C8000 55″ TV, which is 3D ready, and when we say 3D Ready, we are talking about a telly that is competent enough in handling both – the new active Full HD alternate frame Blu-ray 3D setup and the side by side passive 3D format, which currently, which is currently being broadcasted via the Sky HD boxes to users with the complete Sky World Package. We are not talking about the old offset 3D images that have been broadcasted in the past. Guess such sort of blurry average 3D images can work with any TV and all that was required was just a pair of cheap, so-called cardboard 3D glasses, not to forget that funny green and red lens. 3D for home circa 2010 is much more of a sophisticated affair that is driven by a desire to make it High Definition and, more importantly, something that is actually good, rather than just a gimmick that is guaranteed to give you a massive head ache in two seconds flat.

Design:

Thin, Thinner and Thinnest:

To look at, the Samsung UE55C8000 55-inch 3D Television was simply drop dead gorgeous; seriously. Just when everybody were thinking that the design department of Samsung might be running out of steam, they shift tack and just blow us away all over again. The shift turned the TV to the conventional dark and gently coloured crystal finishing with curvaceous lines dumped for a radically atypical silver-y metallic finish perfectly rounded off by a silver transparent glass protruding for about half a centimetre from the extremities of the television. A huge 4-legged silver stand prevents the display from falling over. Silver TVs had been a thing in the past say sometime around 2005, and guess there must be quite a number of consumers happy to witness this design return.

That said, the bezel seems kind of distracting as the eyes have gotten used to the blacks for a long time now. Note that, there is also the rather key fact that the TV sticks out just 26.5mm at the rear. The sight of this gorgeous 3D TV is certainly one to behold with a vast 55-inch metal-wrapped profile, which is possibly slicker than the typical wall clock. Size does matter, huh!. Handy then, that Samsung had decided to make the monster 55” TV. Trust us, we are not sure after watching this TV, you can live with anything less than this.

Remote Control:

The remote, too, has undergone a makeover to match the TV’s design. Akin to the telly, the remote also has been styled in brushed titanium with a shiny hoary trim. With majority of the buttons buried under the face, there is very minimal feedback on pressing and takes a little getting used and you cannot really run your fingers over the surface of the remote to find your way around, at least, not to the same degree as before the remote does include some raised lines and a tactile dot for this purpose. We did appreciate that, like some of Samsung’s other remotes, the UE55C8000’s remote control features backlighting which can be enabled by pressing the dedicated button at the top-right.

Connectivity:

The Samsung UE55C8000 Full HD LED 3D TV is so slim that it has caused the company a few connection troubles. Thus, Samsung has decided to place all connections in sideways orientation which allows the TV to be hung on the wall without any issues. There is just not enough depth in the TV to support SCARTs, standard RF jack, Ethernet port, D-Sub PC Jack or even the RCA connectors that are used by normal composite and component video inputs. Probably this is why Samsung has decided to include adaptors that are smaller terminalled for all of these connections. The TV screams size zero with even four of its HDMIs and two USB ports looking extremely cramped. The HDMIs looks to be more fascinating than ever with all of them being v1.4 compatible, which looks to be the new standard intended to handle 3D signals, that carries all signal info required for 3D TVs to aptly recognise the kind of 3D fare they are receiving. The USBs used are quite noteworthy too as one of them will be able to take an HDD drive and either can be used to add a USB WiFi dongle if you want to spend a few extra pounds on securing one.

Features:

User Interface:

The Samsung 8000 series UE55C8000 3D LED TV has scores of multimedia features at its disposable, about which we will discuss in detail in future. Said that, it is a great relief to find that Samsung refined its onscreen menu well to cope up with the multimedia load, with all the multimedia options accessed through an attractive and intuitive circular pseudo 3D menu structure.

USB Recording:

You will be able to record programs via the Freeview HD tuner (that is in-built in the C8000) to a USB drive too. Though these drives come with a minimum memory of 4GB, guess you can use a 2GB stick too. Since the recordings are of the direct DVB-T2 tuner stream, guess you will not have to encounter any loss of picture quality in the process of recording. Handy is it not? However, we found that the recordings sounded fractionally hissier, which is an artifact of playback engine. The USB recording feature seems to be reasonably flexible with about 60% of the stupidly large collection of USB sticks we had massed over the decade working perfect. When compared to the new USB recording TVs from Panasonic, they only seem to work reliably with a particular pair of Buffalo HDD drives. The only very predictable limitation of the USB recording system is that, you can only playback the recordings you make of the same TV that you used to create them. You will not be able to pass episodes for programs within your friends. It is not worth anything too as the Samsung’s Time Shift mode only operates for a maximum of 90 minutes.

Multimedia Capabilities:

As we might expect from a cutting edge 3D TV in 2010, the Samsung UE55C8000 55″ 3D Ready LED Television is equipped with some pretty major league multimedia credentials. The TV has the capability to hook up with a DLNA-compatible PC for the sake of live streaming, together with the USB ports. The tell also supports a whole host of video and audio codecs which goes on to include DivX HC, MPEG4, JPEG, XviD, H.264 BP/MP/HP, AC3, AAC, WMV v9, MP3 and DTS core. Going deeper, the multimedia action of Samsung comes courtesy of the AllShare system of Samsung that allows you to join hands of the 3D TV with mobile phones and other network capable devices. With this feature, you will be able to view call arrivals, SMS messages and even the schedules that are set on your phone.

Internet@TV:

If you think we are done with the multimedia credentials of the UE55C8000, you cannot be more wrong. This magnificia from Samsung supports the company’s Widget Driven Internet@TV online platform. The presentation of this system has been really improved from that of last year’s service. But, to be honest, we felt that the available content was much more limited than what we had hoped for. Highlights of the feature include the inevitable YouTube, plus rovi TV listings, Twitter, the Picasa online photo album site, and perhaps best of all, Skype – provided you add an external camera.

Apps Online:

Samsung has also developed the ‘Apps’ online feature that was just trailing on last year’s TVs, with the Apps already available from the likes of AccuWeather, the History Channel and Getty Images. Additionally, there is also a small group of very basic games. We were disappointed with the fact how shallow the apps were, and we would not envisage ourselves using more than a couple of them on any remotely regular basis.

Said that, keep in mind that though the multimedia content of 55C8000 3D LED TV has a few black spots, its multimedia content is completely open to changes and expansion in months to come; given the updatable structure of the TV. To conclude with this lengthy multimedia section, we found it a bit of a shame that Samsung was not able to built WiFi into a £3,000 TV as standard or even include a USB dongle for free. But, on the other hand, if you can afford three grand on a telly, you will also tip of the dongle accessory.

LED Technology:

Oops, we went so deep into the multimedia capabilities of the UE55C8000 that we almost missed on its main picture related features. The very first thing that we have to say is that, this UE55C8000 3D TV from Samsung uses edge 3D lighting which is a first for the company, and it trails the LG 42LE7900 by way of utilising a kind of local dimming, wherein fragments of the edge lights can be blurred singly to other segments. We were not really impressed with this system on the LG set, so bad that most people prefer to leave the feature turned off. But, we are going to reserve the judgement on this model for now.

LED Motion Plus and White Balance Tool:

Yet another picture related feature that is new to Samsung’s range of 3D TVs is the LED Motion Plus trait that eliminates lag from scenes that are fast moving, together with an incredibly technical tool – 10p white balance that allows you to control the white balance in 10 point intervals by adjusting the red, green and blue brightness levels. This can be done using the TV’s movie mode. There are other handy features too that go on to include colour elements and colour space adjustment, flesh tone adjustment, gamma adjustment, gain/offset tuning for the green, red and blue colour elements and here is the best of all, the skill to only moderate the strength of the 200Hz engine, but also to what degree it applies its judder reduction and specific blur algorithms. There are heaps more to discuss about the picture features, but it is high time we move on to the main 3D capability of the Samsung UE55C8000.

3D Functionality:

The remote control is gorgeous too. Now why did we say that? Oh yea, it carries a dedicated 3D button, which when depressed pulls up a range of 3D options, depending on what source you are watching. For instance, upon pressing the 3D button whilst you are watching a movie in the normal 2D source, it automatically swaps to the 2D to 3D conversion mode. Again with having Sky’s side-by-side 3D images playing in the screen, there is a side-by-side option available, which is noticeably denoted via a simple icon beside an alternative top and bottom 3D mode. When 3D Blu ray is played into the UE55C8000 from Samsung’s Blu ray player, the telly swaps into the excat active shutter playback mode by default. In fact, it outputs all 3D source received utilising the active shutter system, it obviously has to right, failing which the images wouldn’t work with Samsung’s active shutter glasses.

3D Glass:

The Active Shutter 3D glasses look kind of flimsy and also lets too much of ambient lighting from the surroundings to peek in, resulting in reflections on the lens causing considerable detractions in the 3D experience; Exactly the reason why we would recommend keeping your room as dark as possible when you decided watching 3D content. Yet another reason would be, with watching 3D content in a well-lit room you actually find the experience diminishing owing to the visually weird relationship between the actual 3D surrounding of your room and the 3D image reeling in the telly. The glasses sure do seem more comfy to be worn in comparison to Panasonic’s, which supposedly places pressure on the nose bridge. Whereas Samsung’s glasses kind of transfer this weight around the ears, which is comfy particularly with wearing it for extended hours. None of the Active Shutter glasses are included as standard with the UE55C8000. This is absolute disappointment given that the rivals Panasonic and LG have declared that at least one set of glasses will be included with their 3D TVs. But Samsung has said that you will be able to order a pair for free somehow after you have bought the TV.

200Hz Engine:

The 200Hz engine is clean too, provided it is run on the ‘Clear’ setting only, thus bringing down any blur or judder that is quite common among LCD TVs. Also the UE55C8000’s motion talents come in fairly handy in making the 3D images look clean, clear and punchy. Samsung also continues to make huge improvements with its standard definition upscaling engine. If there were serious weaknesses in Samsung’s upscaling engine, they would stand out like a sore thumb on the UE55C8000’s colossal screen. In fact, the standard def pictures are pretty sharp, clean and colour-rich to a decent extent in comparison to other king-sized tellys. Really, the only significant annoyance we found with the UE55C8000’s non-3D pictures concerns its viewing angle. For watching it from even as little as 35 degrees off axis can lead to a significant drop-off in black level response, and a marked increase in the screen’s backlight inconsistency.

Performance:

Picture quality:

Moving on to the part of picture quality, we will start with the black level response. Crucially, there is very little sign of backlight inconsistency that we note on the previous sample of the much cheaper Samsung UE467000. This sure does seem to be good news and is very welcome when it concerns 3D, because watching the 2D distraction right on the ‘surface’ of 3D images can be fairly distracting. Some of the reason for the UE55C8000’s superior backlight uniformity has to do with its move to only having LED lights along the top and bottom edges of the screen. It was actually wise to have not placed them on the sides else there would have been the common issue of excessive brightness in the pictures’ corners, which is the crossover path for the LED light.

Nonetheless, the picture brightness is just spectacular, which is just remarkable considering the screen only uses the top and bottom LED lights. The colours are formidably intense too, even as there are some few monotone peak reds, it still manages to look enormously subtle in blend and natural in tone. Provided you avoid the set’s noise reduction systems as much as possible, you will also be seriously impressed by how sharp its pictures look when showing HD. Again, this sharpness is retained even with action-packed scenes, to the latest 200Hz processing of Samsung. Focusing finally on the UE55C8000’s audio, it is definitely an improvement on the pretty feeble efforts of Samsung’s 2009 LCD/LED models. Though it is still only adequate rather than truly exciting.

Blu-ray Playback:

Starting with the Blu ray playback, using the blu ray disc in the new Full HD format, the early impressions of 3D are not completely positive. On the positive side, the impact of the 3D effect is immediate and profound. It is kind of startling to see the flat image that our eyes are used to with 2D Blu ray version of the movie suddenly gain enormous depth together with generating a gist of layering, which greatly modifies the way that you generally relate to an image. In fact, the change is so profound that, initially your brain and eyes struggle to process the 3rd dimension of the image leaving your eyes strained as it constantly keep shifting around images searching for an object or try drawing distance to settle down. Eventually though, you start to relax and settle.

The key about the new 3D experience in 2010 is that, an extensive depth of field in combined with images that are still blatantly Full HD. This blend of true HD sharpness and depth turns the picture to more of a spectacle adding a more dynamic feel to it. We would not go so far as to say that 3D in the movie made us totally immersed in what we were watching. But, yes we could imagine greater immersion happening with applying 3D to a more realistic movie content. What we are going to say might sound bizarre, as it is the most cutting edge TV that we have seen for years; the Samsung UE55C8000 has to warm up before it looks its best with 3D sources. We found the crosstalk issues markedly reduce with the telly being on for an hour or so. With retraining your approach towards 3D viewing, you kind of get out of the crosstalk issue; somehow the eye learns to ignore the ghosting trait of the picture. That said, there comes a point in time where you are left with a feeling that you are better off watching watching the movie in the normal HD pristine 2D version only.

Sky 3D Performance:

The crosstalk interference is also evident in the Sky’s 3D footage. However, it is not quite as obvious or common as it is with the Blu-ry disc. In fact, the 3D TV delivered the all round most startling and impressive performance while testing with Sky’s 3D and a football match. This might be for a number of reasons; applying 3D to sports footage will actually enhance the comprehension of the game. For instance, with the football you can tell immediately if the ball is headed for the goal or just going wide; something that is not always obvious while watching it in 2D. If someone crosses the ball, you can tell straight away where it is going to end up, and even which players are more likely to get on the end of it. With tennis, you get a remarkably enhanced sense of both the pace and spin of the ball. With golf, you get a much better appreciation of the shots the golfers are facing, and the direction the ball is travelling in.

 

2D to 3D conversion:

While the 2D to 3D conversion of Samsung UE55C8000 does not deliver as much crosstalk trouble or as many serious perspective errors as we would have expected, it also produces a very shallow sense of 3D a sort of ‘3D Lite’. There is also an increase in the image’s flatness together with poor quality, all of which is common with average definition channels on both Sky HD and Freeview HD platforms. In our personal opinion, we feel the C8000’s 2D to 3D conversion feature kind of dilutes the 3D experience and you might want to save the “innate type” of 3D experience for a true 3D content.

Verdict:

Our experience with the Samsung UE55C8000 3D TV was very enjoyable. The only major issue with the TV was the crosstalk issue. We would be totally convinced to say that the 3D is going to become as big as its own competition HD. The TV holds up very well against other LED and LCD TVs and Panasonic’s imminent 3D plasma models provide the toughest challenge. Also keep in mind that the UE55C8000 is also stunningly attractive and feature heavy non 3D footage star. So, if you can afford the three grand, it is a very impressive TV, even if you only decide to make use of its 3D talents every now and then.

Check other Samsung 3D TV Reviews, Panasonic 3D TV Reviews in this website.

Samsung UE55C8000 55″ 3D LED TV – Technical Specification Table

Manufacturer Samsung
Model Name Samsung UE55C8000 3D LED TV
Model Number UE55C8000
Colour Platinum Black
Dimensions (W x H x D) 1282 x 832.7 x 303mm
Weight With stand : 24.2 Kg
Without stand : 22Kg
Design type Mystic Earth
Display Features
Size 55 inches
Slim type Ultra slim
Technology 3D LED
Panel Ultra clear
Front colour Brushed Titanium
Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels
Swivel (left/right) Yes
Light Effect (Deco) Yes
3D Glasses
Glasses offered as standard none
3D glasses type Active Shutter 3D Glasses
Picture Features
Picture Engine 3D HyperReal Engine
Wide Colour Enhancer Plus Yes
Clear Motion Rate 50 x 16
Audio Features
Dolby Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse
SRS SRS TheaterSound
dts 2.0 + Digital Out Yes
Sound Output (RMS) 15W x 2
Speaker Type Down Firing
Woofer Yes
Features
Remote Controller Type Wireless Remote Control
DTV Built-in
OSD language Europe 25 Language
Picture-in-Picture 1 Tuner PIP
Other Features Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC), Auto Channel Search, Auto Power Off,
Auto Volume Leveler, BD Wise, Caption (Subtitle),
Clock & On/Off timer, Allshare (Powerd by DLNA), EPG,
Game mode, Internet@TV, Picture-in-Picture,
3D and ConnectShare™ Movie, Skype on Samsung TV,
Sleep Timer, USB, WiFi Adaptor Support,
Personal Video Recorder Ready, Time Shift,
Channel List USB-Clone,
Digital Noise Filter and Teletext (TTXT)
Eco friendly features
Eco Mark Planet First
Eco Sensor Yes
Power Supply AC220 – 240V 50 / 60Hz
Power Consumption 250W
Peak Luminance Ratio 65%
Input and Output 1 x Audio Out L-R (Mini Jack)
1 x Component In (Y/Pb/Pr)
1 x Composite In (AV)
1 x Digital Audio Out (Optical)
1 x DVI Audio In (Mini Jack)
1 x Ethernet (LAN)
1 x Headphone
4 x HDMI (v1.4 with 3D, Audio Return Channel)
1 x PC Audio In (Mini Jack)
1 x RF In
2 x USB
1 x CI Slot
2 x Scart
Accessories Batteries, Instruction Book, Slim Gender Cable (COMP,
Composite, Scart, RF, PC, SPDIF, LAN),
Ultra Slim Wall Mount Support, Vesa Wall Mount
Support and Floor Stand Support
Warranty One year

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

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