Samsung mainstream 4K TVs offer true local dimming

Samsung has a bunch of 4K TVs at CES 2014, and most of them include curvature, wacky easel stands, and/or sizes and prices far beyond the grasp of mortal man. The UNHU8500 series is the mainstream antidote, and it has our favorite picture-enhancing LED LCD feature.

David Katzmaier
David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- TVs and streaming

David runs CNET's home entertainment division, where he leads a team that covers TVs, streaming services, streaming devices and home audio. If he doesn't know something about the gear you use to keep yourself entertained at home, it's not worth knowing.

Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
2 min read

Among the two 4K/UHD resolution LED LCD TVs we reviewed in 2013, the Samsung UNF9000 series was our favorite. The UNHU8500 is its closest match in the company's 2014 lineup.

It's available in a massive range of five sizes: 75, 65, 60, 55, and 50 inches. It arrives this April, and pricing has not been announced.

Among exotic sets like the curved HU9000 and exorbitant S9, the HU8500 is a sort of everyman's 4K resolution Samsung. Samsung says it has improved the upscaling to make 1080p and other non-4K content look better, and it also touts a color-improving thingy called "PurColor."

More important from a picture quality perspective in my book is the presence of the same kind of actual, hardware-based local dimming that helped make the UNF9000 one of the best-performing LED LCDs of last year. It's also worth noting that you can't get that kind of local dimming in a flat 1080p TV from Samsung this year; the only 1080p model to have it, the UNH8000 series, is curved.

Of course the HU8500 gets all the Smart TV bells and whistles, including a "Multi-Link Screen" that can divide the screen into two separate windows, each showing different content (live TV and YouTube, for example). It lacks the gesture control found on the step-up HU9000, but otherwise its Smart features are very similar. There's also the same promise of upgradability. While the HU8500 has a standard input array -- in contrast to the external One Connect box used on the F9000 and HU9000 -- it does include a port that can accept a future One Connect box to enable whatever upgrades, including, potentially, new input schemes, Samsung devises. For 2014 the set supports HEVC, HDMI 2.0, and HDCP 2.2.

Check out the Samsung TV roundup for more on the company's CES 2014 releases.

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