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CNET First Look
Samsung UN55B8500It costs a mint, but Samsung's local dimming, LED-based UNB8500 series delivers the best picture quality of any LCD we've tested.
>> David: Hi, I'm David Katzmaier from CNET and this is the Samsung UNB8500 Series. I'm sitting next to the 55 inch version there's also a 46 inch member of this series; this is Samsung's highest end HDTV for 2009. It's also one of the best performing HDTV's we've ever tested. We'll get to that in a little bit but first let's take a look at the styling; this TV is really slick in person. When you see it from the side you'll notice that it's really thin it's only 1.6 inches deep, which is among the thinnest TV's available on the market. From the front it's no slouch either it's got this black border and a kind of transparent edge around here. There's also a transparent stock to match it that allows the TV to swivel side to side. The TV also has Yahoo Widgets which are Internet enabled doodads that you can install on your TV. You can get weather, stock tickers, sports, news, that sort of thing. You can also check out your fantasy sports on a new Widget. There's also a TV Guide Widget that enables you to look at your TV listings. There's also YouTube, Twitter and a bunch of other apps you can install, they're growing every day. Widgets are a little bit slow, however, so if you're not used to, you know, things taking a little while it's kind of frustrating when you play around with them. This TV also has numerous picture adjustments. You can go into the menu and play around with a lot of different controls including Gamma, there's a color management system, you can also play around with the color temperature. And new for 2009 Samsung's 240 hertz sets have adjustable dejutter, which enables you to dial in the amount of smoothness you want to the picture, which is a really nice feature. Around back you'll find 4 HDMI inputs, 1 component video input, a PC input and, of course, the land port for Internet connectivity. If you want to have wireless you've got to buy an extra dongle that costs 80 bucks or install your own third party wireless solution. The TV lacks a good deal of analog connectivity so if you have a lot of analog components you're gonna have to route them through a switch or use some other method. As we mentioned at the top this TV is one of the best performing TV's we've ever tested and definitely the best LCD TV. The key to that performance it its deep black levels that can produce a really deep, nearly absolute black that when you turn down the lights and watch a picture it really adds punch and impact to the whole image, so it is one of those TV's that really does produce deep black; this is actually the second deepest we've ever seen. The key to that is the LED elements that have local dimming so it can turn on and off the LED's and dim them appropriately across the screen and unlike a lot of other LED local dimming TV's this set doesn't have too much blooming so those blacks really do stay relatively absolute. There's very little bleed over from the light areas into the black so we really appreciated that. The flip side this TV's off angle viewing is really not that great. When you move to one couch cushion to either side the black levels really start to fall through the floor so unless you're really in that sweet spot you don't get the full benefit of its picture quality and that's really the main flaw we found on this TV. We're not huge fans of its glossy screen but all things considered it does have excellent performance. That's a quick look at the Samsung UNB8500 Series and I'm David Katzmaier. ^M00:02:57 [ Music ]