Samsung UNB8000 series--photos

The expensive, stylish Samsung UNB8000 series has its share of picture quality drawbacks, but a firmware update helps, and the thin frames are worth serious bragging rights.


David Katzmaier

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1 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung UNB8000 series

As the most expensive horse in Samsung's stable of edge-lit LED-based LCD TVs, which the company calls "LED TVs" in most of its marketing materials, the UNB8000 series is differentiated from its cheaper herdmates by the addition of 240Hz processing. If you're wondering whether that feature is worth the cash, wonder no more: in our opinion, it's not. Other than the extra Hz, Samsung's edge-lit sets share most of the same picture quality characteristics, including deep black levels, mostly accurate color and some uniformity problems that might have something to do with the ultra-thin panels. In the plus column, however, the UNB8000's picture is still pretty dang good--especially after a firmware update--and the styling of these Samsungs just can't be beaten.
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Unlike the red-tinted members of Samsung's edge-lit LED line, the frame of the 8000 is plain old black accented by a transparent edge, which lends the whole TV a jewel-like appearance. A subtle blue power indicator, which can be disabled, provides the only touch of color on this Samsung TV.
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A brushed metal base and transparent stalk further enhance the UNB8000's style.
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Corner detail

Simple glossy black abuts and surrounds the screen, edged by a transparent border.
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Side view

Seen from the side, the UNB8000 series seems almost razor-thin.
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Side connectivity

Four HDMI inputs and a pair of USB ports line up along the side of the connection area.
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Back panel connectivity

A single component-video-equipped input, which can also accept composite video, comprises the extent of the UNB8000's analog AV input capability.
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Second remote

The secondary remote may look cool, but its lack of functionality renders it pretty much useless.
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The main remote control is basically the same as last year, too, aside from a new protrusion on the rear that keeps the clicker stable on a flat surface, and we're definitely fans. The buttons are big, backlit and easily differentiated by size and shape, and we liked the dedicated "Tools" key that offers quick access to the E-manual (see below), picture and sound modes, the sleep timer, and the picture-in-picture controls. We didn't like the remote's glossy black finish, however, which picked up more than its share of dulling fingerprints after a few minutes.
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Main menu

The semi-transparent main menu system has accents to match the TVs blue power indicator.
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Auto Motion Plus 240Hz

Samsung's dejudder processing allows more customization than was available last year.
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Yahoo Widgets

Yahoo Widgets appear along the bottom of the screen.
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Widgets gallery

The Gallery offers access to additional widgets for free download.
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YouTube widget

YouTube is one of the more complex widgets available.
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Built-in content

Built-in content includes directions on how to make a salad.
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White balance controls

A Samsung staple, the custom white balance menu brings a smile to DIY picture adjusters.
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The included "E-manual," available on a USB stick and displayable on the TV screen, makes a paper manual unnecessary.
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Firmware updates

Samsung finally allows firmware updates to be delivered via online download.

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