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Samsung UA46B8000 review: Samsung UA46B8000

The Samsung UA46B8000 is a storming LCD television: it features exquisite looks, excellent picture quality and a host of networking features.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury
5 min read

In a few short months, Samsung has been very successful in its campaign to create a "new" category of televisions in LED. Of course, there has been much debate over whether the inclusion of a different backlight means it is a new technology. In fact, the UK has even found that Samsung is misleading customers by calling these units "LED TVs". Regardless, LED is a catchy term, and we've found ourselves referring to LED-backlit TVs as LEDs — just because it's easier to say. But no matter which side of the fence you fall on in this discussion, there's no argument that the Samsung UA46B8000 is an excellent TV.


Samsung UA46B8000

The Good

Excellent picture quality. Stunning design. Overloaded with features. Four HDMI ports.

The Bad

Expensive. Glossy panel not suited to bright rooms.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung UA46B8000 is a storming LCD television: it features exquisite looks, excellent picture quality and a host of networking features.


This is it. We think the 8-series plasma and LCD alike are arguably the most beautiful-looking televisions on the planet. While you could argue it's just another black box, we think the attention to detail is what sets this TV apart — the brushed aluminium base, the "crystal stand and the "silver" (actually clear plastic) trim — all combine to create a subtly attractive unit.

The remote control is an RF model but is otherwise identical to the one that ships with the 7 series. However, the RF remote can cause problems when you have a universal remote that can only do infrared. Also, we noticed a little bit of lag in navigating menus when using this remote — especially when using the "jog" wheel.


The UA46B8000 is at the apex of Samsung's television range, and features all of the whatsits and thingies you'd find in the 7 series, plus a couple more. Firstly though: specs. This 46-incher features a 1920x1080 resolution, and boasts a 3,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Any value over 1,000,000 is essentially meaningless (no equipment can yet measure higher), but this is perhaps an indication of the deep blacks that the edge-lit LED system can achieve.

Apart from the RF remote, the main difference between this and the AU$300 cheaper 7 series is the provision of a 200Hz mode. It's interpolated, which means it "calculates" three extra frames for every single one in an attempt to smooth movement. It also comes with individual "blur" and "judder" controls to tailor the picture to the source type. We're incredibly wary of 100Hz technologies here at CNET Australia, as we personally think that content producers should fix image problems and not leave it up to TV. In many cases, the effect these features generate actually counters what the director intended: taking the graceful look of film and making it look like video, for example.

Like the 7 series, this is a very connected TV and includes lots of internet and streaming functionality not found on competitors' models. The Korean company made a song and dance about its widgets at the CES show in Las Vegas earlier this year, and the "Internet@TV" function enables users to view weather, news (USA Today) and YouTube clips at the touch of a button. In addition, the TV supports DLNA streaming.

To complement the above features, the Samsung comes with all the connectivity you could ask for in a modern TV, with four HDMI ports, an Ethernet port and two USB ports. Samsung supplies an optional wireless USB dongle, which means you don't need to trail Ethernet cables around your house.

At the end of this year, all TVs will need to carry Energy Star ratings by law, and the Samsung has got in early by coming badged with a 4.5-energy star rating. Not quite as good as the 7 series' six stars, but it will still be more economical to run than a plasma.


We were impressed with the performance of the Samsung, and given that we liked its cheaper sibling this didn't come as a surprise. Given that we, and most people who would be buying this set, were most interested in using the 200Hz mode for sport that's what we did first. We set the TV dial to One HD and sat down to some AFL. The tuner itself was very good, and was able to pull in plenty of details that any standard-def set would miss. Kicking the TV into 200Hz mode did help matters in that pans across the field took less time to "settle" once the camera (and ball) hit the players. There wasn't any artefacts at all — it was very smooth.

But this solidity didn't translate to movies at all. When watching Blu-ray and DVDs the common 200Hz haloing artefacts and jerky movement occurred, and this was regardless of the tweaking we did. If you're a movie lover then it's best to leave 200Hz off, and just use the set's native support for 24p instead. And it was there that the set performed well: when given the bridge attack sequence there was very little judder and detail levels were also good. Maybe a little too good. Yes, like its predecessor, the Sharpness levels were jacked up to ridiculous o'clock and needed a little taming not as to introduce noise. With that done, image quality was everything we expected from the company — deep blacks, gorgeous colours and crisp detail greeted us despite the content source. The Samsung had the pleasing ability to hold onto moving objects and not let them go.

The networking features were as easy to use as previous models and the TV will support a wide variety of file formats (both legal and not-so) with a user-friendly media browser tool. However, we did notice some weirdness. For example, though the TV supports MKV it refused to play our test file and gave an "unsupported audio data" message when playing a WMV test file. The YouTube plug-in worked well though, and was as easy to use as any competitors' version.

Sound quality was very good, and the unit didn't distort even at full volume — even though at this level it won't shake the house apart. There was a lack of true bottom end, but otherwise it was very "neutral" sounding.

But despite its capabilities, the television wasn't without its niggles. The television features a high-contrast glossy coating which can be detrimental in a brightly-lit room. Also, we did notice some minor light leakage in corners — but only when we were sitting in the dark and watching a dark scene was it vaguely noticeable. Also, off-axis viewing isn't great, with a very slight loss of blacks. It's better than a CCFL-backlit model, but not as good as the new Sharp LE700 LED backlit screens.


The Samsung UA46B8000 is undoubtedly an excellent television that has to-die-for looks and features the latest know-how in LCD technology. Street price is about AU$4500, which isn't too bad for an LCD of this size. But if you want a better television, then you can save yourself a couple of grand and get the Panasonic G10 plasma. Yes, you lose the networking features, but picture quality is arguably better — the most important thing in our books.