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CNET First Look
Samsung PND8000With picture quality that's nearly the equal of the tough competition, as well as best-in-class design and features, the Samsung PND8000 makes a strong case the best overall plasma TV of 2011.
Hi! I'm David Katzmaier from CNET. This is the Samsung PND8000. This is the 59-inch version. The series also comes in 51 and 64 inch sizes. This review will apply to all sizes. This is Samsung's highest-end plasma TV for 2011. Now, this TV had a lot to live up to. At 2010, our second favorite TV of the year was this television's predecessor, the C8000. And, in most ways the D8000 lives up to that expectations. It's actually a much better TV than its predecessor and one of the best we've tested all year. First, we'll take a look at the styling on this TV. It's excellent; the design scored one of our highest ratings we've ever given to a plasma. Part of the appeal is this thin bezel around the edge here. It's a metallic in color and again thinner than pretty much any plasma we've seen. It makes the TV look a lot like an LED TV and that theme is continued when you turn the TV on the side. You could see that it's again very thin, about 1-1/2 inch thick. Samsung does include the swivel stand here. Of course, it got the spider design, we're not really big fans of that four-legged style but you can always hang this TV on the wall if you want to get rid of it. As a flagship TV, the D8000 includes [unk] of features. Now, one of the most important is this remote control. It's got a QWERTY Keyboard on the backsides. You can actually use it to type relatively quickly into apps and searches and signups and stuff like that available on the TV's internet suite. It works by a Bluetooth, so you don't need line-of-sight. And, you really did like little screen here, although we really miss backlighting and this controlling actually found in the remote control for the smartphone or android phone. It actually worked a lot better to control this Samsung TV. So, if you have a smartphone, iPhone, or android, might wanna use that instead. Samsung's Smart Hub Internet Suite includes more apps than pretty much any we've seen this year on TVs. The D8000 also includes the Yahoo! Widgets Interface, which is totally separate from Smart Hub. Smart Hub does offer searching a video recommendation engine, the mow it does work very well. We also found the interface relatively cluttered but on the plus side, you can arrange it pretty well and you can also find a lot of different apps that you won't find elsewhere, like Google Maps and Google Talk. And addition to the standards like, Netflix and Vudu streaming. No Amazon Instant on this TV, however. Of course, the D8000 is 3D compatible. It is also a 2D-3D conversion edge on this television and Samsung includes two pairs of 3D glasses. Picture quality in the D8000 is among the best we've ever seen and the second best TV we've tested this year after the Panasonic highest-end plasma. The Samsung does meet the Panasonic's color, although once you did dialing its calibration correctly. The black levels in the Panasonic were a little bit better, although the blacks on the Samsung are still very deep and [unk]. The Samsung touch a little bit less shadow detail than we've liked to see, but that's kind of the main knock on this TV and really not the big deal if you consider how good the rest of its picture quality is. We also appreciated the anti-glare screen on the Samsung, which keeps black levels relatively deep while also reducing reflections. Video processing was a little of a knock. It does have do 1080p/24 perfectly, but you can enable 1080p/24 at the expense of black level performance slightly. Now, the small knock on the D8000 is it to get 1080p/24 keeps to work correctly at the sacrifice of the some black level performance but it does offer that option. 3D performance on the D8000 was excellent overall as well. Digital connectivity on the back panel [unk] with 4 HDMI inputs and 3 USB ports. Analog connectivity is a little bit skimpy here, but you got to use break that cable if you want to connect to single analog video input. That's a quick look at the Samsung PND8000 Series, and I'm David Katzmaier.