3D writ large

The flagship model from Samsung’s 2011 3D TV range makes John Archer a very happy man

A couple of issues back, we brought you our first impressions of Samsung’s flagship UE55D8000 when it arrived too late in the day to run through our Tech Labs. To recap, this is a £2,500 55in edge LED 3D set sporting an insanely thin bezel of just 5mm, plus Samsung’s new Smart TV functionality, which combines a superb new onscreen menu hub (providing instant access to just about every input, app and content source) with a web browser and a much stronger app offering than you got with Samsung’s previous Internet@TV system.

These headline features make it instantly desirable. But does its AV performance hold up to scrutiny? Oh yes.

Although there were many impressive things about Samsung’s first-gen 3D TVs, over time I became increasingly aware of one fundamental weakness: crosstalk double ghosting with 3D. So it’s a relief to be able to say that crosstalk noise is much less of an issue with the D8000. Footage that caused so much trouble with last year’s models, such as Sky’s 3D golf coverage, now looks cleaner and more engaging. The only time crosstalk really troubled me, in fact, was with very bright material.

That said, even this much-reduced crosstalk looks less impressive compared with Panasonic’s almost crosstalk-free P50GT30. It seems plasma still has the edge here.

Crosstalk aside, the D8000 boasts the brightest and most colour-rich 3D pictures I’ve yet seen on an active shutter set – and the active technology delivers a significant benefit in resolution, too, especially with Blu-ray, compared with any passive set I’ve encountered.

With the impressive brightness in 3D mode, this TV also delivers an additional benefit: shadow detail. So in dark areas, you see almost as much detail as you would in very bright parts of the picture. Further improvement over last year’s models comes courtesy of the D8000’s latest 800CMR motion handling system. While you need to spend time tweaking the judder and blur components of the motion processing engine, with a little work you can get the right balance between reducing motion problems and controlling rogue side-effects.

The improvements with motion in the 3D domain are particularly striking, and help the TV reproduce all the clarity and detail from full HD 3D BDs that was the whole reason active 3D was created in the first place.

Nailing 2D

Most people will spend the vast majority of their time just watching 2D. So it’s handy that the D8000’s ‘flat’ performance is good too. Without spex on, you’re more free to appreciate the outstanding black level response. Dark scenes suffer remarkably little with tell-tale grey clouding and there are only the faintest traces of backlight seepage.

Detailing looks extremely high in 2D mode, too, given extra definition by the image’s brightness and good contrast, and even standard-def survives the tough journey up to 55in, thanks to superior upscaling.

My only complaint I can muster about the D8000 are that its pictures lose contrast and colour saturation if viewed from much of an angle, which could be an issue if you want to wall-mount it, and that it only ships with a single pair of 3D glasses. In every other way, though, the D8000 is yet another delicious example of Samsung’s flatscreen mastery.


Highs: Stunning 2D pictures and very good 3D pictures; excellent Smart TV functions
Lows: Still a little crosstalk in very bright scenes; limited viewing angle
Performance: 5/5
Design: 5/5
Features: 5/5
Overall: 5/5


HD Ready: yes including 1080p/24
Tuner: yes Freeview HD and Freesat HD
Component video: yes one input (rear)
HDMI: yes four, including v1.4 options
PC input: yes one D-Sub Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Sound: 30W Brightness: N Contrast ratio: ‘Mega’
Dimensions (off stand): 1233(w) x 710(h) x 30(d)mm
Weight: 16.2kg
Also featuring: ‘800CMR’ motion processing; Smart Hub; open internet access; ring-fenced online features; USB media playback (MP3, JPEG, multiple video support); AllShare PC connectivity; LED Motion option; 2D-3D conversion; active 3D playback; one pair of 3D glasses supplied; Bluetooth 3D transmission system; 10p White Balance adjust; edge enhancement