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Samsung improves flagship D8000 plasma

The 2011 PND8000 series is Samsung's best plasma TV for 2011, and among other extras it offers a touchscreen remote control.

Samsung's D8000 plasma has some big shoes to fill. Samsung

Samsung's flagship plasma TV from last year, the PNC8000 series, was our second-favorite TV of 2010, so it's no surprise we expect good things from its successor, the PND8000 series.

The specification list of the PND8000 has a couple of advantages over that of the step-down PND6500, namely a "Real Black Filter picture enhancement" and a "LCE (Local Contrast Enhancer)." The former performed well on the PNC8000 we tested last year to preserve black level performance in brighter rooms. The latter is a new one to us, but when we hear an explanation from Samsung we'll pass it along.

The PND8000's Smart TV component is similar to that of the company's flagship LCD, the UND8000 series, adding a Web browser and that slick touch-screen remote to the array of Samsung Apps and built-in Wi-Fi. Otherwise its feature set is similar to that of the PND6500.

Samsung will also release a D7000, and numerous other series of plasma in 2010, but we don't have much of any information on those products yet. We did find out that the D7000 has a different-colored bezel (charcoal and not silver) and lacks the D8000's web browser and touchscreen remote, however. Pricing was not announced, and availability is listed as "spring."

Samsung PND8000 series features:

  • Plasma TV
  • 3D compatible
  • Real Black Filter picture enhancement
  • LCE (Local Contrast Enhancer)
  • Cinema Smooth processing
  • Narrow bezel
  • 1.5-inch depth
  • Touch of Color design
  • Touchscreen remote
  • Smart TV with Samsung Apps and universal search
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connection

Samsung PND8000 series models:

  • Samsung PN51D8000: 51-inch
  • Samsung PN59D8000: 59-inch
  • Samsung PN64D8000: 64-inch

Editor's Take: I talked to Samsung's engineers about the new plasma and they claim to have improved black level performance to the 0.004 ftl minimum luminance I measured on my favorite 2010 TV, the Panasonic TC-P50VT25. I'll believe that once I can measure a 2011 D8000 production model myself, but suffice it to say that I'm excited to review one. As with Samsung's LCDs, however, I'm hoping for a less-expensive version with similar performance that loses the touch-screen remote.