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Samsung MU9000 series review: Modernist furniture first, big-screen TV second

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The Good The Samsung MU9000 TV is one of the nicest-looking TVs available, with more modern style and attention to detail than anything in its price class. The separate input box and built-in wiring channels can create a super-clean installation. Picture quality is very good, especially in bright rooms, and very similar to the more-expensive QLED model.

The Bad Other TVs at this price and lower from Sony, Vizio and TCL have better image quality.

The Bottom Line If you want a TV to look as good turned off as it does playing an image, the Samsung MU9000 is an excellent choice.

7.8 Overall
  • Design 10
  • Features 9
  • Performance 7
  • Value 7

A television, especially a big one, is more than just a screen to serve up video. It's furniture. And no TV maker crafts prettier furniture than Samsung.

The MU9000 is one of the nicest-looking TVs I've ever seen. It rivals the looks of Samsung's own Q7 "QLED" model, but costs hundreds less. Yes, it's still basically a big screen, but its thin shape, metallic finish and hidden wiring take its looks to a level beyond anything in its price range.

And in typical Samsung fashion the MU9000 is packed with extras, including an innovative home theater control system that automatically programs its remote to command your gear, no universal remote required. And of course that TV remote is a looker. Heck, even Samsung's menu and Smart TV design is sleeker than the competition, if not quite as packed with apps.

If your priority is getting the best picture quality for your dollar, this isn't the television for you. Its performance was very good in my tests, and in some ways it matched or even exceeded that of the QLED TV, but overall it didn't beat the competition from Sony and Vizio, especially in a demanding home theater environment.

But if you've got a modern designer living room and want a TV to match, a high-end Samsung is a great bet. Despite the MU9000's lack of QLED technology, it delivered very similar image quality to the Q7 in our direct comparison. The Q showed better HDR and a brighter image, while the MU9000 was slightly superior in dark rooms, with better black levels and less blooming (see below for details). Whether it's worth paying extra for the Q comes down to its even-slicker styling, "invisible" fiber-optic wiring and cabinet-friendly OneConnect box. The price gap is pretty, wide, however, so the MU9000 is a better overall value.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Easy on the eyes, hidden wires

So what does high style in a TV look like? Ultra-minimalist thin black edges with metallic trim, a positively tiny Samsung logo and a slim profile are the highlights, and slick touches like a ribbed backside and subtly reflective bottom edge help differentiate this TV from the masses.

I also love the stand, a splayed triangle of metal at once less aggressively modern and more stable-seeming than the one on the Q7. A couple of years ago it would have allowed the TV to swivel, but not these days. Pressure on the top corners caused it to wobble a bit, so it seemed less stable than the splayed-leg stands used by most competitors, but I had no fears of it actually toppling.

The MU9000 does more to make cables disappear than just about any TV aside from the Q7. There's a separate One Connect breakout box into which you plug your gear, connected to the TV by a 9-foot cable. The umbilical is standard thickness, not the Q7's super-thin strand of fiber optics, but it still allows you to minimize the number of things you need to plug into the TV itself.


Clean backside: Only two cables connect directly to the TV.

Sarah Tew/CNET

An innovative wiring channel in the stand spits the only two cables you need -- that umbilical and power -- out the back to keep even casual tabletop installations looking super-clean. For wall mounts you'll have to rely on a standard VESA bracket since the MU9000 won't work with the company's nifty no-gap wall mount, so it doesn't sit as flush against the wall.

Universal remote, capable smarts

Beyond those differences the MU9000 has pretty much the same laundry list of extras as the Q7. The coolest is the ability to control your gear using the remote. It worked very well, automatically recognizing most gear I plugged in, setting it up for control with the remote and even creating a home page shortcut.


Samsung's sleek, simple remote can command all your gear, automatically.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Since the infrared commands come from the remote itself and not the One Connect box, as they do on the Q7, you'll need to have line of sight between the clicker and your stuff. Of course a good universal remote could do the job better, but it probably won't look as sleek as Samsung's remote, or be as easy to set up.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Carrying over the same design from 2016, Samsung's homegrown Tizen-based smart TV system is very good for a TV, but its app coverage isn't as comprehensive as that of Android TV (on Sony sets) or Roku TV.

4K streaming with HDR is available from Netflix and Amazon, as well as the Fandango-powered TV Plus app. Samsung added 4K to its Vudu app, but no HDR (Vudu is still currently Dolby Vision-only, which isn't supported on Samsung). The UltraFlix app has some niche 4K content and there's 4K support on the YouTube app. Other major apps like Google Play Movies and TV (no 4K though), Hulu, Plex and both HBOs (Go and Now) are on-board too, but if you want more you'll probably still need to connect an external device like a Roku or Apple TV.

New for 2017 you can perform simple voice commands like launching apps by saying their names or changing TV settings. "Movie Mode" and "Game Mode" worked, for example, and even specific settings like "Backlight 8" can be adjusted via voice.

No quantum dots, no problem

The biggest specification difference between the MU9000 and the Q7 is lack of quantum dots, microscopic molecules that, when hit by light, emit their own, differently colored light. And as a result it can't get as bright or achieve quite as wide of an HDR color gamut as the Q7.

Key TV features

Display technology LED LCD
LED backlight Edge-lit with local dimming
Resolution 4K
HDR compatible HDR10
Screen shape Flat
Smart TV: Tizen
Remote: Universal with voice

Otherwise the two are very similar, down to the local dimming, which can illuminate different areas of the screen independently to improve image quality. Unlike the dimming used by Vizio or TCL, however, the MU9000 uses an edge-lit array, which is a bit more subject to stray lighting known as blooming.

The set supports high dynamic range (HDR) content in the standard HDR10 and the upcoming HDR10+ formats only. It lacks the Dolby Vision HDR support found on most competitors' HDR TVs. I've seen no evidence that one HDR format is inherently "better" than the other, so I definitely don't consider lack of Dolby Vision a deal breaker on this TV -- instead it's just one more factor to consider.

Like most other 4K TVs the Q7 uses a 120Hz native panel. It offers Samsung's Motion Rate 240 processing with black frame insertion to improve motion resolution.

Sarah Tew/CNET


  • 4x HDMI inputs with HDMI 2.0a, HDCP 2.2
  • 3x USB ports
  • Ethernet (LAN) port
  • Optical digital audio output
  • RF (antenna) input
  • Remote (RS-232) port (EX-LINK)

Only three ports are on the TV itself -- Ethernet, EX-LINK and one of the three USB -- and if you have decent Wi-Fi you probably won't need to use any of them. The rest are housed in the separate OneConnect box. Unlike the bigger box used on the Q7, the MU9000 version doesn't require its own separate power supply.

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