Did you ever take a long, hard look at your TV and say: "It's so boxy, can I have one that's a little less oppressive?" Well, you can be sure that Samsung has, with its 2011 range arguably the best-looking TVs that have ever been invented. The D8000, or Series 8, flagship isn't as minimalist as the barely there D7000 , yet it still features a ridiculously thin bezel. This one is covered in brushed faux-aluminium echoing last year's over-achieving Series 9 TV. For our eyes, we prefer the way the D7000 bleeds into the room courtesy of its clear plastic bezel, but the flagship still looks very special.
As the bezel is quite slim there isn't much room for controls so they're mounted around the rear of the set and armed with a proximity sensor. When you put your hand behind the edge of the TV, small on-screen icons appear by the side of the bezel. Unfortunately, the sensor isn't very sensitive and if too close to a wall or cabinet (say a foot or less) we found that the icons would slide on and off randomly. Thankfully, the icons are only a couple of inches tall, and aren't too obtrusive.
Like most TVs Samsung has released this year the TV includes the "four-legged space octopus" stand, which is relatively sturdy.
The Series 8 ships with the reversible QWERTY remote, which works for text input in some apps and not in others. It features a fully working remote control on the other side.
The 55-inch D8000 is a smart TV and features web access and video on demand, with search and DLNA streaming available as standard. One of the biggest drawcards for sports fans is the inclusion of AFL and NRL Game Analyser, in addition to dedicated sports channels. BigPond Movies and TV also make an appearance.
The Samsung boasts the 3D HyperReal Engine, which is used for picture processing in both 2D and 3D. We've had some experience with it previously and have been very impressed with its ability to clean up noisy signals.
The D8000 also features active 3D, and if it floats your boat it also includes 2D-3D conversion — though, we like our vessels with a bit more water. The bundled glasses are much less like welding goggles and are actually quite slim. The glasses are designed to be charged through the TV or an a dedicated stand, but it's regrettably not available in Australia.
At a Samsung launch earlier in the year, the company said it was developing a "Second Screen" function that would let you use a Samsung smartphone or tablet in a similar way to the TV screen remote to last year. At the time of publication the feature was yet to be announced.
The Samsung comes with a whole lot of connections giving you access to a wide range of content. Network functions are provided via Ethernet and on-board Wi-Fi, while you can connect your gear to one of the three USB ports, four HDMIs, component, VGA or two composites.