Samsung UNxxD8000

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Product Description

Samsung's new D8000 LED LCD boasts what may be the most strikingly beautiful design on a TV this year. Not only does it have a very thin profile, but the bezel is as small and unobtrusive as I have seen, and the screen has an amazing ability to soak up ambient light and keep it's piano black look when many other screens would be a washed out gray. While reflections are unavoidable with any glossy screen, the remaining screen area retains much more contrast than usual under harsh ambient light. The UN46D8000 has finally convinced this long time matte screen fan to cross over to the other side.

When Chris and I had the UN46D8000, a Samsung PN51D8000 plasma, and an LG 60PZ550 plasma lined up side by side at Cleveland Plasma but before we powered the sets on, the UN46D8000's screen and strikingly thin bezel set it apart. In the first round of tests, I looked at the UN46D8000 and the other two TVs mentioned above in their most accurate picture mode (Movie mode for both Samsungs, and Cinema for the LG), but with no other changes or calibrations made. Other picture modes looked somewhat interesting on the UN46D8000, though Movie looked far and away the most natural and lifelike. The TVs were displaying my familiar Blu Ray demo material from a high quality HDMI distribution amp in a dark room.

Before calibration:

The UN46D8000 showed excellent shadow detail; dark images were the most visible of the group. However, the overall image was a little too bright for a dark room. Flesh tones were slightly pink and a little pale on axis, becoming very pink and very pale off axis. The UN46D8000's image had excellent pop, the best of the group by a small margin, though it was mixed; the black background was very dark in some areas but slightly glowing near bright objects. Fades to black were extremely dark.
The image was very smooth, though I saw hints of noise reduction. Reds looked like too deep of a shade of red. There was some uneven illumination of black bars; on 2.40:1 movies, the black bars at the top and bottom changed from black to a dark gray when bright objects were displayed in that corner or edge of the image. Unfortunately, that is a side effect of edge lit LED backlights, and it is likely to be a part of many, if not most, high performance displays in the next few years. Fortunately, it was not as noticeable on this set as it has been on the other edge lit LED sets I have worked with. Screen uniformity looked good overall and better than most edge lit sets I've seen. Pans and motion were so smooth they had the infamous "soap opera" look, and I saw some shimmering artifacts in fine lines during pans.
It showed good promise, though there was definite room for improvement in color naturalness and motion processing.


The UN46D8000 has a fantastic picture menu. Movie mode has just about every control a calibrator could wish for. However, getting the 10 point gamma/white balance control dialed in perfectly requires not only a good meter and measurement software, but also a lot of patience and experimentation. The contrast control should be kept high to keep the 10 point adjustment in line. I found that setting the main color adjustment above 50 caused some nonlinearities; so I kept it at 50 and did what boosting needed to be done in the CMS adjustment, which showed no problems. I found that adjusting the motion settings eliminated the panning artifacts and gave a more film like experience.
The modified ANSI contrast measured 3340:1, which is an outstanding number considering that the edge lit local dimming is pretty much ineffective with this test pattern. With these TVs, the ANSI contrast is more of a worst case scenario; in many situations the actual contrast will be much higher. The ANSI contrast readings were within the specified measurement range of my Chroma5 Enhanced meter. A pure black screen, however, was too low to measure.
The attachment shows before and after measured performance. Because I did some additional tweaks near the end and forgot to save Movie mode's before calibration measurements, the before calibration measurements shown are from Standard mode.
The measurements after calibration are outstanding! I did find that calibrating to a gamma target of 2.4 gave a more lifelike image than my normal target of 2.22.

After calibration:

By the time I was done with the calibration, the sun had risen and the room lighting was like that of a typical living room during the day.
What struck me most was the awesome, jet-black blacks; the UN46D8000's screen filter is simply amazing. The shadow detail was perfect; dark objects were neutral toned and seemed perfectly balanced. I saw more pop than on the nearby plasmas, because of ABL on the plasmas and the UN46D8000's superior screen filter. The picture was outstanding overall, though colors lacked the warmth and vibrancy of the D8000 plasma and even the LG plasma. The presentation leaned more toward a magazine photograph than the oil painting presentation of the two plasmas. On axis, the UN46D8000's image was polite and cool, but colors lacked a bit of life. Moving off axis drained even more life from the colors. Reflections were fairly visible, but not as objectionable because the screen remained so dark. The picture was very sharp, crisp, and grain-free. In these lighting conditions, I could not see the black bar fluctuation.
Overall, the UN46D8000's image lacked a little feeling and emotional connection; but nonetheless, it produced an excellent, high contrast, and detailed image. It is undoubtedly one of the best LED LCDs available, especially for brighter environments.

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