Top-of-the-Line TV Shopping

I'd like your help deciding on a new LED LCD TV. I was going to purchase a Samsung UN46C8000 in January based on Home Theater's review, but then I saw the D8000 series at CES and decided to wait for that TV. The UN55D8000 is finally available in my area, but I have not seen many reviews of it other than on CNET, which says it "exhibits poor screen uniformity with excessive brightness variation and banding." Do you have any experience with this TV model? Is it an improvement over the C8000? Is there a comparable television from another manufacturer that I should consider?

Luke Salsman

Home Theater's review of the UN55D8000 (pictured here) will appear in the August issue. Tom Norton liked it very much except for the poor screen uniformity, which was the only thing that prevented him from giving it a Top Pick designation.

One thing I really like about the D8000 is that the LEDs are on the sides of the screen rather than on the top and bottom as in the C8000. This allows the set to dim the LEDs next to the black letterbox bars of widescreen movies, making them very black while keeping the active image area nice and bright. This feature, called Cinema Black, is available on the D8000 but not on the C8000.

As for other options, I generally prefer plasmas over LCDs, even LED-illuminated LCDs, which provide features like frame interpolation and dynamic illumination to overcome limitations that plasmas don't have in the first place. Since you're looking at top-of-the-line TVs, I'd consider the Panasonic VT25 from last year (reviewed here) or wait for this year's VT30; Home Theater's review of the VT30 will appear in the September 2011 issue.

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