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Samsung Luxia LED TV Review


Samsung UN55B8000 Review

Model: Samsung UN55B8000
Description: 1080p LED backlit LCD Television (ultra thin)
Reviewer: Robert Wiley, Jack Burden
Date: Summer 2009

This super thin 1.2" deep TV has non-localized LED backlighting in the sides of the panel. It is loaded with features – some pretty good and some not very useful. It's attractive and has some surprising picture attributes regarding light reception and contrast. Read the following review in depth to get a sense about whether this TV is right for you as you'll be paying a lot for extra features if not.

Test and Optimum Viewing Distance: 15 feet

HQV Benchmark:The TV tested very well in when we ran it through a series of processor video board testing.

Calibration: Calibrating white balance was somewhat difficult on this LED TV. Blue tones were especially difficult to dial in perfectly as they lacked consistency. To dial in close to D6500 start out by changing the Picture Mode to Movie and Color temperature to Warm 2 and follow the following picture settings:

Picture Settings
Picture Mode: Movie
Color Temp: Warm 2
Brightness: 44
Contrast: 93
Color: 43
Tint: G47/R53
Sharpness: 10
Backlight: 7
Picture Settings
Black Tone: Off
Dynamic Contrast: Off
Gamma: 0
Flesh Tone: Off
Edge Enhancement: Off
Digital NR: Auto
HDMI Black Level: Low
Film Mode: Auto 1
Color Filter: Off
For complete picture setting including White Balance settings please see the UN55B8000 Calibration page

480i DVD and Broadcast Viewing: For any film based material start by turning off the 120Hz/240Hz rate feature as follows: Click Menu/picture/Scroll down to Picture Options/Press enter/Scroll down to AutoMotionPlus 240Hz/Press Enter/Scroll or press to Off position. It is important to turn this feature off (see more on this feature under features section below).

Samsung UN55B8000 Review
Rebecca Dimornay in the 1997 version of Risky Business. The 55B8000 struggled to present a smooth clear presentation.

Samsung UN55B8000 Review
Rebecca Dimornay more recently in Wedding Crashers. A clearer presentation but notice the over saturated white suit coat.

720p/1080i/1080p Picture Quality: There is nothing subdued about this LED TV, from its super thin good looks to its super saturated colors. Blacks are rich and deep and colors vibrant if not over powering at times. Some dark shadow detail is lost and and subtle color notes forgotten. But it's a colorful picture many will relish. Read our extended picture notes below.

Samsung UN55B8000 Review
A great shot of Sly Stallone showing vivid contrast and detail from the Blu Ray release of Rocky.

Samsung UN55B8000 Review
This scene from the Blu Ray version of Rocky shows detailed contrast and color information.

Black Level/Contrast: With color information both light and dark appearing so deeply saturated, contrast effect is excellent. Blacks appear inky and sometimes lose dark shadow detail. White light sometimes is distractingly too bright. Contrast appears more intense on the screen than the average of 900:1 post calibration ANSI checkerboard pattern contrast that we measured. See calculations here.

Samsung UN55B8000 Review
From The New World; this scene shows how saturated black and white can appear.

Dark Shadow Detail: As a result of the super saturated blacks, shadow detail can get lost in some scenes. In others, it was fine.

Color Rendition/Color Accuracy: We found color rendition continually vibrant but over saturated. Blacks can get oversaturated at times as can white.

Samsung UN55B8000 Review
Red tones in the Lucky Seven Bar in this scene from the Blu Ray release of Rocky appear somewhat oversaturated..

Viewing Angle/Off Axis Viewing: At 40 degrees off axis contrast is significantly reduced and black levels become hazy. However, the destruction of contrast and black levels stops there, not continuing as viewing angle widens. The screen remains perfectly viewable even from 70° side angles (with the reduced contrast).

Motion Lag: The UN55B8000 did a good job eliminating motion lag and judder. There was some notable jerkiness in a few scenes panning side to side with the AutoMotionPlus feature turned off.

False Contouring/ Mapping: When viewing the rough 1997 version of Risky Business much false grain and mapping information was visible. This was somewhat surprising given the excellent results of the 55B8000 in processor testing (See Test Results).

Inputs: Amazingly with this thin screen Samsung has managed to fit 4 HDMI slots, a PC slot, a LAN Cat 5 slot (for Internet connection), 2 USB ports, and a component video input.

Aesthetic Considerations: The 55B8000 comes with a 20 degree swivel table top stand. The stand is heavy, sturdy and a nice matte silver accent to the all gloss black screen. There are accompanying screws to further secure the stand to the TV. The super thin screen itself we measure at 1.2 inches in depth. It is obviously sleek and attractive with the surrounding frame measuring 2" in width. The frame has a subtle invisible edge feature with clear acrylic on a silver backing.

Remote Control/Menu Functionality: The Samsung UN55B8000 comes with 2 remote controls. One is substantial, backlit, complete and well designed with gloss black finish and every ergonomic enhancement imaginable. The remote wheel is catchy but not necessary. Clicking the edges of the wheel accomplish the same tasks as scrolling the wheel and expedites changes. This standard remote control contains a discrete button called P. Size for changing the video aspect ratio. The second pod-like diminutive remote contains a center arrow keypad for controlling basic functions; power, next channel, and volume. The TV menu is not accessible with this remote.

The Menu is very attractively laid out and thorough, but slow and cumbersome to navigate.

Samsung UN55B8000 Review

Audio Output: Sound is initially hollow as in a deep vault from the dual 15W speakers. For a majority of programming changing the mode to movie, and utilizing the Clear Voice feature will help a lot to improve voice tone in DVD and broadcast material. SRS TruSurround is a useful feature for HD content but it doesnt help voice tone. Overall, we were not impressed by audio delivery from the UN55B8000.

Features: The Samsung UN558000 is loaded with extra features, some surprising, others more useful. AutoMotionPlus 240Hz Refresh Rate. Samsung has increase the frame rate conversion to 240Hz on the B8000 as the one of the premium markup features. See our complete article about 120Hz/240Hz rates here. This feature is awesome on the Standard setting for sports programming and gaming. Turning it off during film and broadcast viewing will save you from the cardboard cutout soap opera effect and deconstruction of cinematography that this feature creates (in film playback).

Internet Connectivity: Connect to the Internet to see Yahoo news, Flikr, twitter, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Video and more. There is a nice picture option to compress the entire TV picture over to the side so you can see your full program while using the internet features. There was a lot of content to view on the different channels but we can't say we were impressed by the response time of the menu and though the feature itself has potentional, it feels as though it is still in it's infancy. You can make this feature wireless with an optional accessory.

Samsung UN55B8000 Review
Internet connectivity

Media Play: Use this feature connected through USB to keep picture and video files.

Clear Voice, SRS and Movie sound options are listed above under Audio Output.

Video Aspect Ratio Sizing: 16:9, 4:3, Zoom 1 &2, Wide Fit, Screen Fit round out a complete set of options for viewing modes controlled by P. Size button on the remote.

Price Considerations: At $3700 the UN55B8000 is not a discount TV. It demands a premium for some of Samsungs newest technology including 1.2" depth, LED backlighting, Internet connectivity, a nice heavy table top stand and remote, and one of the best looking panels we've seen. Competition hails from the Sony KDL-55XBR8 (local dimming LED backlit see review here) which sells for in excess of $4200 and measures higher in contrast. Both sets have their own advantages in certain areas so read the reviews to decide. LG has several models that will provide competition in the future in the LG 55LH55, and the LG 55LH90. The Sharp LC52E77 is a non-LED backlit lower end unit from Sharp.

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Rating scale from 70 (denoting poorest quality) to 100 (signifying the very best quality). A rating in the 60s for any particular category of a product review indicates a serious defect which causes the product not to operate properly. Picture quality is double-weighted in the Overall Rating Score calculation.


Review Equipment Used: Sony Blu Ray BDP-S1 High Definition DVD player, Sony DVP-S50 DVD player, Sencore Color Pro 5000, Sencore Auto Cal Pro, Sencore signal generator.

This review format and all of the headings, sub headings and paragraph titles are part of a copyrighted process. Any unauthorized reproduction or use, either in full or in part, of this product review format is expressly prohibited.

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