Local dimming Samsung LED: Best LCD yet?

It costs a mint, but Samsung's local dimming, LED-based UNB8500 series delivers the best picture quality of any LCD we've tested.

Samsung's UNB8500 series costs a bundle. Sarah Tew/CNET

If you watch football or read CNET, chances are you've noticed ads for Samsung's so-called LED TVs. The company has released three series of these super-thin LED-based LCDs so far this year, the 6000, 7000 and 8000 models, but it's saved the best for last. The fourth series is dubbed UNB8500, but you can remember it best as the king of LCD--for now.

Unlike the other three Samsung models, which use LED elements arranged along the edge of their screens, the company's two 8500 models employ a full array of local dimming LEDs behind the screen, yet maintain an ultraslim profile. As a result this expensive HDTV handily outperforms its brothers and, yes, every other LCD-based display we've ever tested. It still can't match the best plasma, the legendary and discontinued Pioneer Kuro, and its off-angle picture leaves plenty to be desired, but people who claim the sweet spot in front of a Samsung UNB8500 will be treated to the most impressive flat-panel picture quality of the year.

Read the full review of the Samsung UNB8500 series.

About the author

Section Editor David Katzmaier has reviewed TVs and home entertainment gear at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."

 

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