Samsung 8000-series LCD/LED 3D TV (TPV 88)

Samsung unleashes 3DTV, with a bonus that just might cement their lead


 

As reported here and elsewhere, January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas saw the introduction of real (not prototype) 3D HDTVs. At the Samsung booth, the firm showed a range of 3D models, including numerous LED edge-lit LCD flat panel models as well as additional 3D plasma sets.

The first of the 3D LED models has just now hit the market, and in addition to 3D Blu-ray playback functionality (which will of course require a 3D-compatible Blu-ray player) Samsung has tossed in a huge bonus in the form of—get this—a built-in, user selectable 2D-to-3D conversion feature that lets viewers watch anything in 3D. As we see it, that crucial feature could put Samsung well ahead of other 3D HDTV setmakers.

 

OVERVIEW

Consider this HDTV if: you hunger for 3D HDTV now. Even though at launch there’s only a single true 3D Blu-ray title available (Dreamworks SKG Animation’s Monsters vs Aliens, and that’s only from Samsung as part of their 3D promotional kit). Note, however, that all of the 2010 3D Samsung sets (LCD and plasma models) feature 2D-3D conversion, meaning you won’t have to wait for true 3D content to begin enjoying 3D TV in the here and now.

Look elsewhere if: you’d like the richness and deep blacks of plasma, as Samsung’s 3D plasma sets follow their LCD siblings into the market later this month. If you wait, you’ll be rewarded with a superior picture (thanks to plasma’s ultra-wide viewing angle and better deep blacks), as well as lower cost, as their 3D plasma models are priced less on a comparable screen size basis compared to their LCD equivalents.

Ratings (relative to comparably-priced LCD HDTVs):

  • Overall picture quality (SD): 8
  • Overall picture quality (HD): 9
  • Features: 9
  • Connectivity: 7
  • User interface: 8
  • Value: 6

 

FEATURES

As with last year’s range, this year’s Samsung’s 8000 series represents their nearest-to-the-top range models. On deck is their 9000 series of models, which differ from the 8000 range in terms of thinness (the 8000 units feature a depth of just under one inch, while the 9000 models go even more anorexic with a cabinet depth of about a third of an inch), and the 9000 range comes with a way-cool two-way remote that features a color LCD touchscreen that doubles as a second monitor. But, from a feature and performance standpoint, the 8000 series is the top of the heap, as it features a kind of local dimming function made possible by modulating the brightness of individual LEDs on the top and bottom of the LCD imaging panel. As it turns out, the 9000 doesn't have this feature, which aims to provide the deepest blacks possible.

 

The main differentiator between earlier sets is, of course, the 3D capability, which was announced with great fanfare at the January CES show in tandem with Dreamworks SKG Animation, whose commitment to 3D releases has been well documented, and Technicolor, a major Blu-ray disc replicator. What wasn’t announced at the time was that the new Samsung 3D HDTVs would carry a 2D-to-3D upconversion feature, providing viewers the ability to watch any content they wished in 3D (the press conference only lightly made mention of it, and there was a decidedly muted effort to promote the feature at Samsung’s CES booth).

Our 46” 8000 series sample is as loaded with features as last year’s 8000 models, and is aimed at the well-heeled video enthusiast that wants to be the first on the block with the latest and the mostest. With LED edge-lit backlighting (which last year’s comparable models had), this new range adds a new kind of local dimming to the mix, a first for LED edge-lit LCD sets, where the top and bottom rows of white LEDs feature variable modulation intensity according to the picture content at any given moment. This allows for darker picture areas to have less backlighting, with brighter areas to a have some extra luminance “pop.” And, as was the case with last year’s 8000 models, this series continues with 240 Hz screen refresh, which helps sharpen up 2D content while smoothing out 24 fps film-originated judder.

Comments

RichardK (not verified) -- Thu, 04/08/2010 - 12:08

1. I don't know anyone who stays glued in front of the tv and doesn't multitask or otherwise move around. This alone will render 3D to a "cute, but who needs it" status. For example, you can't knit (like my wife), read or even grab a snack with 3D glasses on.

2. Someone will come up with an add on box that allows 120/240 Hz refresh LCDs or plasma to alternate frames wit shifted content and send a signal to blinker glasses for a 3D experience. This was done years ago with video games. I had one and grew tired of it in about 2 weeks.

3. The loss in brightness and detail is not worth the 3D addition. A really good high contrast picture provides 3D type information anyway.

Why don't the gurus that come up with these advances add things that would be potentially useful such as built in DVRs (for off air HD sets) or devices to interface with a home server?

mjbauer -- Mon, 08/23/2010 - 13:33

Richard, I suspect a lot of movie buffs stay glued to the screen. Also, there are certain events in sports that I really stay engaged with. Just my $0.02 worth

mjbauer -- Mon, 08/23/2010 - 13:33

Richard, I suspect a lot of movie buffs stay glued to the screen. Also, there are certain events in sports that I really stay engaged with. Just my $0.02 worth

nickerjo -- Sun, 10/31/2010 - 20:32

Richard - Sorry you are so negative -

I do/have done sports (scuba diving, skiing, surfing, endurance cycle racing) but I have never enjoyed watching any sort of team sports on TV. However, since getting the new Samsung 8000 set I upgraded (with great aggrivation and time - since 3-D is so new) my Comcast set top box so I can receive ESPN 3-D - My son-in-law will enjoy the game and the 3-D and I'll just enjoy the 3-D.

If you don't like something - please don't buy it - My experience with the 8000 series has been fantastic - The above mentioned son-in-law and wife watched a movie and then a 3-D demo and stated it was the best toy I had ever purchased in the last 20 years.

I wish you the best

jn

Robert Goodell (not verified) -- Thu, 04/08/2010 - 18:55

Always the question in this pursuit. Having been on the bleeding edge of DVD-Audio and other AV "next big things", I wonder if it is time to pull the trigger. I have been persuading myself that my Mitsubishi DLP is god enough for now- but I know I will have to make a commitment eventually. I would truly appreciate a review of the Samsung Plasma equivalent set when it arrives; my watching area is designed to be low light.

Adrian (not verified) -- Fri, 04/09/2010 - 01:00

Why does Samsung appear to have abandoned their true backlit LED 9000 model, with the new 9000 series being side-lit? Surely this is a major step backward? It now starts me to look elsewhere such as Sony, LG or Toshiba as they have back-lit displays, which is disappointing, as Sumsung seemed to be the leader in so many different ways.

Charles Gordon (not verified) -- Fri, 04/09/2010 - 09:38

I fear the fake 3D hype will be taking over all sides of the industry, including movie producers. Most people don't seem to realize what stereo optics is all about...it is NOT about shifting an image 2.5" and calling it a day. There is MORE DATA in 3D and it cannot be simulated. It isn't even complicated to explain.

For example, if you are having a conversation with someone, your right eye sees details of their right ear that your left eye cannot, and vice-a-versa. Furthermore, a single lens will be missing detail of both ears.

Trying to simulate this will simply result in a flat picture of someone's face, placed at whatever fake "distance" from the viewer the producer wants.

Robert Goodell (not verified) -- Fri, 04/09/2010 - 17:41

Very interesting. I was curious how quickly this technology appeared ready for the mass market. So these early sets are simulating? Is this like upconverting a std. DVD by interpolating data?

Chris Martens -- Mon, 04/12/2010 - 15:38

Robert,

It is very important to note that, while the 8000-series Samsung sets can do 2D-to-3D upconversion (bear in mind that this is a switch selectable feature), they **also** can play real 3D content (i.e., Blu-ray material originally captured in 3D). So, the set is not always "simulating" 3D.

The point is that the set can play true 3D content in the here and now, but it also provides a mechanism that allows you to enjoy 2D content that is processed in real-time for 3D viewing. The choice is yours.

Best,

Chris Martens

Chris Martens
Editor, Avguide.com/Playback/The Perfect Vision 

Chris Martens -- Mon, 04/12/2010 - 15:45

Charles,

I think you're absolutely right that there are some (perhaps many?) misconceptions about stereo optics, 3D viewing, etc.

For an interesting expansion on this discussion, you may want to take a look at David Birch-Jones' "Special TPV Report: Hollywood Post Alliance Technology Retreat 2010", which covered, in part, a presentation that focused on issues and challenges surrounding 3D viewing.

Here's the link: http://www.avguide.com/blog/special-tpv-report-hollywood-post-alliance-t...

Best,

Chris Martens

Chris Martens
Editor, Avguide.com/Playback/The Perfect Vision 

Charles Gordon -- Fri, 06/04/2010 - 18:39

Chris, thanks for that link. Exciting times!

nickerjo -- Sun, 10/31/2010 - 20:02

I have always been an early adopter:

Retired from the IT rat race my wife and I purchased a Daweoo 42" EDTV model over 6 years ago. At the time it was the best quality (from then DVD) that we had ever seen. We watched 15 to 20 movies a month - Then we got tired of it - Netflix disks would sit for six months to a year before we returned them. We found ourselves spending a lot of time sitting on the bed watching a 37" Hdtv.

Last month my wife turned to me and said (guys - don't be jealous) why don't we upgrade our media room to "state of the art". So being the good husband I immediately started buying. The monitor end of this, after many weeks of research, was the Samsung 8000 series (55") LCD-LED". (I won't bore you with speakers or AV receivers at this point.) We couldn't be happier - the limited 3-d content is fantastic - the Bluray and wifi HD from Netflix are also astonishing.

In my retirement years I do art photography for shows and galleries - so I am used to looking for good color and resolution. This set is as good or better than when I couple a 5D Mark II to a 500 f 4.0 L series lens. (Sorry if non-photo types are left out here ).

Bottom line - It is well worth looking into.

All the best,

Nickerjo,
leaningpalmstudio.com

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