Saturday, July 23, 2011

Samsung UE55C8000 3DTV


Does this 3D TV rocket home entertainment into a new dimension?

Samsung UE55C8000 3DTV - Part of the first generation of 3D TVs, the Samsung UE55C8000 is a 55-inch LED TV packed with features: and we’re not just talking about its Active Shutter 3D technology. This full HD 1080p TV is also one of the thinnest 55-inch models around, sports a raft of technical wizardry to improve picture quality, features media playback and lets you access web widgets.
It looks good on paper - but then it’s facing off against a formidable army of 3D TV foes like the LG 55LX9900, Sony Bravia KDL-52HX903 and Panasonic Viera TX-P50VT20B. So how does it shape up? Read on and we’ll tell you.
First things first: this is one nice-looking telly. Most flatties are pretty easy on the eye, but the UE55C8000 had passers-by gawping in green-eyed awe. It’s just 23.9mm in depth (without the stand, natch) and its brushed metal frame is also incredibly skinny, making it one of the smallest, lightest 55-inchers we’ve ever seen. You also get the usual high-end bells and whistles like a stylish swivel stand and touch-sensitive controls.

But while we can certainly appreciate the UE55C8000’s ample physical charms, there’s one feature that shouts louder than any shiny frame or wafer-thin body: 3D. Yep, this comes fully geared up for 3D viewing, although you only get one pair sets of active shutter glasses included in the box, others will have to be bought separately, at the princely sum of around £150 apiece, although some retailers have deals including an extra pair.

Samsung UE55C8000: 3D picture quality

Rigging it up to the Samsung BDP-C6900 3D Blu-ray player and popping in the only test disc available (Monsters vs Aliens), we were immediately impressed by the results: yep, this active shutter tech manages to deliver full 1080p resolution AND a convincing, clear 3D effect. There is the odd instance of “crossover” where you can see a slight ghostly outline of the second image, but overall the 3D works as well as we’ve seen on a flat panel TV.

It’s a snap to set up too, with the battery-powered specs requiring just one button press to get them synced up with the 200Hz screen. They’re reasonably comfy too, fitting over regular glasses if necessary.

In addition to getting proper 3D pictures from a proper 3D source, the UE55C8000 can convert any 2D source to 3D. Does this work? In most cases – movies and regular TV – it doesn’t really have much of an impact, but occasionally it gives things a bit of extra depth. Racing video games seem to work particularly well.

Samsung UE55C8000: 2D picture quality

Of course, with 3D content currently veering towards the non-existent side of “thin on the ground”, you’re going to be mainly watching good old 2D movies, programmes and games on this TV, at least at first. Thankfully it delivers truly superb image quality in almost all situations, with superbly rich colour reproduction, sharp detail and excellent levels of contrast. While the LED backlighting serves up massively black blacks and blazingly bright whites.

There’s also slick, smooth motion processing on board, which generally works to prevent motion judder and blur without causing too much in the way of side effects.

The only aspect of image quality we weren’t completely sold on was the way in which the TV presented skin tones. People’s faces looked a little “off” when it comes to skin colour, and adjusting the settings didn’t seem to help much. It’s quite a minor issue, but once you notice it you keep looking out for it.

Samsung UE55C8000: Features

As well as a top notch picture you also get decent (by flat TV standards, at least) sound from the two 15W speakers, as wellas a host of media features: two USB ports for video, music and photo playback as well as TV recording. Yep, you can link up a regular USB storage device and record content from the TV’s built-in Freeview HD tuner. There’s also DLNA for streaming media content over your home network, and a selection of web-connected widgets, letting you access your Picasa photo gallery or browse through YouTube.

Connectivity is also impressive, with four HDMI v1.4 sockets on offer alongside component video.

There's no doubt this is an excellent TV. However the price tag seems a little high for what is on offer – 3D capabilities are new and thus being priced at a premium, despite there being no significant amount of 3D content available just yet.


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