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First Look: Samsung UN55C8000

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First Look: Samsung UN55C8000

4:59 /

Its 3D is still a work in progress and its 2D picture quality comes up short of the best available, but the high-end Samsung UNC8000 series still offers superb features, solid performance, and unique style.

>>Hi, I'm David Katzmaier, Senior Editor at CNET and this is the Samsung UNC8000 series. I'm next to the 55 inch version. There is also a 46 inch version now and a 65 incher coming later this summer. This review will apply to all sizes in the series. This TV will work with 3D Blu-rays and the upcoming 3D content from Direct TV and other providers. You're going to need a pair of 3D glasses. Samsung sells them separately for $150 or you can get this 3D starter kit that includes two pairs of glasses and the only 3D content available right now which is Monsters vs. Aliens. And our brief 3D testing on this TV, again, there's only one Blu-ray disk available. We did have some pluses and minuses in what we saw. In the Plus side, 3D does give you that feeling of depth when you're watching, things kind of pop out of the screen. You have a lot of things in the foreground and if it's mastered correctly, a nice depth of field on a lot of the shots. On the flip side, it does tend to give you a little bit of a queezy feeling some times, at least it did for us. There's also the fact that there is some cross talk visible in the image that appears sort of ghostly images that are kind of around the main images and that's just kind of an artifact of 3D at least on this TV. Again, we haven't really compared 3D across a bunch of different televisions, so we're only talking about the Samsung now, but in general it seems that 3D, even with the Blu-ray, has a little bit to go before it's ready for primetime. There's also a 2D to 3D conversion on this television which allows it to display pretty much any 2D content with a 3D effect. That effect is kind of hit or miss in our experience. It does allow the foreground the pop out a little bit at the best of times but sometimes jerky camera movement can make things seem a little bit queezy and, again, don't expect any kind of normal 3D effect as you would get from actually 3D content but some people might really enjoy 2D to 3D conversion. This is Samsung's flagship TV for LCD picture quality in 2010. There is slightly a more expensive model but this one has the big picture quality step up in the line. That is the ability to adjust the picture's dimming in different areas of the screen even from an edgelet configuration. So, if that sounds a little complex, just think of it as similar to regular LED local dimming but the TV is really thin. You can turn to the side here and see that it actually is less than an inch thick, one of the thinnest TVs we've ever seen. Other styling cues in this TV, it has this kind of silver color around the edge which is unusual, most TVs are glossy black. It's also really thin bezel so it's a lot of picture here. There's also this kind of transparent edge and the stand is remarkable, it's got four legs, kind of looks like a spider, there's kind of a swivel going on. So all things considered, it's a pretty unique looking television. Another different design this year is the TV's remote, which we usually don't mention remotes, but this one was kind of unusually difficult to operate. We really didn't like the fact that you couldn't tell apart the keys unless you looked down at them, which of course, is a little bit difficult in the dark. It does have back lighting but all things considered, one of the more difficult remotes to use. This TV does have plenty of those interactive add-ons. Samsung calls them it's app's platforms which is similar to iPhone's apps. You can actually go into the menu and download a whole bunch of different applications to work with this TV. Anything from Netflix to two or three different weather services to news to sports to about 15 games at this point. Samsung says it's going to add even more apps in the future. There's going to be paid one's. Netflix works pretty well. There's also Voodoo, Amazon Video on Demand, Pandora. It doesn't have built in Wi-Fi, however, to get that you will have to buy and optional $80 dongle or just connect a third-party wireless bridge. There's also numerous ways to adjust the picture on this Samsung. There's a new 10-point IRE system that allows you to tweak the color temperature. There's also numerous settings for a bunch of different video processing modes. Speaking of video processing, however the TV didn't handle 1080p24 content as well as we like to see. Maybe Samsung will issue a firmer update for that in the future. But for now, it doesn't give you that nice film like look that we've seen on other 1080p24 capable TVs. Speaking of film based content, we did subject this TV to our normal comparison test in a lab with other 2D televisions and in 2D mode its performance was very good. We did like the relatively deep black levels that are there, not as deep as we've seen on other local demoing and plasma displays that can get a little deeper. On the flip side, it's better than a lot of the other edgelet TVs we've seen. Color accuracy was very good, especially after we adjusted that 10-point system, especially in the middle of the scale. The lower end of the scale did go a little bit blue and we also saw some uniformity issues on this TV which included some slightly brighter edges, a little bit of faint banding and some off angle issues where the picture did fade and get discolored when you looked from either side. So, for connectivity the UNC8000 series has four HDMI inputs on the back panel as well as a bunch of analog inputs, the downside is because the panel is so thin you actually have to have these breakout cables which are included with the TV for any of the analogs. So we got component video here, this is a composite video, there's even a breakout cable for the Ethernet. The RF, the PC and even the optical digital audio, so... That's a quick look at the Samsung UNC8000 series and I'm David Katzmaier.

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