Review: Samsung UN55D8000 3D LCD HDTV Page 3

Bottom Line

For much of the time I spent with it, Samsung’s UN55D8000 3D LCD HDTV held me in thrall with its accurate color, strong contrast, and clear, solid images. I also dug the set’s slim design and stylish 3D eyewear. However, when you consider that it sells for $3,000-plus, perfection is something you’d expect, and this set’s uneven screen uniformity — something that can become painfully obvious when you’re watching dark movies — keeps it from hitting that mark. That said, the UN55D8000 is one impressive slab (sliver?) of technology.

Color temperature (Movie mode/Warm2 color temperature preset before/after)

20-IRE: 6,632K/6,626 K

30-IRE: 6,777 K/6,481 K

40-IRE: 6,882 K/6,428 K

50-IRE: 6,954 K/6,593 K

60-IRE: 6,949 K/6,543 K

70-IRE: 6,763 K/6,497 K

80-IRE: 6,690 K/6,501 K

90-IRE: 6,679 K/6,463 K

100-IRE: 6,655K/6,545 K

Primary color point accuracy vs. SMPTE HD standard

Color

Target X

Measured X

Target Y

Measured Y

Red

0.64

0.64

0.33

0.33

Green

0.30

0.30

0.60

0.60

Blue

0.15

0.15

0.06

0.05

Spectracal’s CalMan Professional Monitor Calibration Software (spectracal.com) was used during the calibration and measurement process. See the PDF document below for a complete report with detailed pre- and post-calibration results.

The Samsung UN55D8000’s Warm2 color temperature mode delivered the most accurate picture of its presets, measuring within ±454 kelvins from 30 to100 IRE. Performance improved to ±93 kelvins after grayscale calibration via the set’s 10-point grayscale adjustment.

Color-decoder error measured 0% for red, green, and blue. Primary color points almost precisely matched the HD standard with the Auto color space option selected, although the magenta and cyan secondary colors measured slightly off. The set’s color-management system adjustments helped to correct those errors, and also to even out slight luminance errors in the red and blue channels.

Gamma with the TV’s default 0 gamma setting selected averaged around 2.1 — very close to the 2.2 target. Post-calibration, average gamma was 2.2 (–1 setting). Brightness measured from a 0-IRE (black) field pattern was 0.008 ftL with the Smart LED (local dimming) feature switched off, which yielded a 4,600:1 contrast ratio in Movie mode. (With Smart LED switched on, the set’s backlight turns off completely when a 0-IRE input signal is sensed.)

Overscan with 1080i/p signals was 0% with the Screen Fit aspect ratio mode selected, while the 16:9 mode displayed 3% overscan. The set displayed full picture resolution for all signal formats delivered via both HDMI and component-video connections. Motion-resolution tests revealed 1,080 lines with the Custom Auto Motion Plus blur reduction setting at maximum, and significantly decreased resolution when this mode was switched off. The Samsung’s judder-reduction processing added a “video effect” to film-based content, although I found it to be only barely noticeable at the lower (–3 and under) settings in Custom Auto Motion Plus mode.

The TV’s screen uniformity during normal viewing was mostly good. With 16:9 format images I did note a degree of the “spotlight effect” — backlight uneveness in various screen zones — that’s common with LED-backlit displays. However, Samsung’s Cinema Black mode, which turns off the side-mounted backlight modules at the top and bottom of the screen, pretty much eliminated any issues with letterboxed 2.35:1 aspect ratio movies, where such effects are usually most problematic. I did note some additional screen uniformity issues, but these were mostly visible on test patterns and only occasionally proved distracting during normal viewing. The set’s performance on viewing angle tests was poor, with pictures retaining uniform brightness and contrast only within a strict 15º angle off from the central viewing axis.

The Samsung’s deinterlacing of both film- and video-sourced material was excellent. Standard-def images looked particularly solid and crisp. The set tripped up on the mixed film/video with titles test from the HQV disc — a minor shortcoming, and one that could be remedied by switching from the Auto 1 to the Auto 2 film mode in the Picture Options submenu. Noise-reduction processing was very effective, with no picture detail loss visible even with the Digital and MPEG noise filters modes at their highest settings. — A.G.

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