Panel beater

Samsung has trumped its rivals in the size war by releasing a 65in 3D LED TV. Mark Craven gives his eyes a workout

Samsung’s UE65C8000 is the latest addition to the brand’s 3DTV range. At a gargantuan 65ins, it allows the manufacturer to stake a claim to producing the world’s largest 3D LED TV, superseding the 8000 series that peaked at 55ins.

Despite its sheer size, the brushed titanium-effect bezel and 29mm thin profile make its very easy on the eye. As, for the most part, are its images. Standard 2D Blu-ray performance is, at times, jaw-dropping, with excellent contrast levels (measured by our Tech Labs at over 300,000:1), natural bright colours and oodles of fine detail.

Standard-def TV material from the in-built tuner is less impressive, with an expected lack of detail and colour subtlety. However, there’s not a lot of compression artefacting on display, and the hi-def Freeview HD channels are markedly better.

Depth charge

Alongside its superior HD performance, the UE55C8000 is a good 3D display, too. The mammoth size of the TV is perfect for this new format, where filling your field of vision is vital to achieving the immersive effect that 3D is all about.

A run through of Monster House saw sharp images packed with detail, and the brightness of the panel worked to counteract the darkening effect of Samsung’s Active Shutter glasses. The result is 3D movies that have more vibrancy than they do even on plasma displays.

The screen’s in-built 2D-to-3D conversion software is worth playing with, but only with HD sources. There are some areas where the UE55C8000 picture quality could be improved, however. One is crosstalk with 3D material: this unwelcome side effect has not been banished by Samsung’s engineers, although the success of Philips’ new 3D LCD screens, including the second-generation 21:9 (see page 46) would indicate that LCD displays are capable of being cured of the phenomenon. I expect Samsung’s 2011 range of 3D screens to eliminate this artefacting.

A second niggle concerns the light pools that are visible around the screen’s edges when it’s displaying bright, central images on a black background. This is caused by the side-firing LEDs, and can be occasionally distracting.

In terms of audio, the Samsung delivers exactly the kind of sonics I’ve come to expect from ultra-thin TVs; they all lack bass and real volume for home cinema. It’s fine for uncritical telly-watching, though.

Buyers should definitely spend some time in the Samsung’s menus once it’s out of the box. Firstly, all the UE65C8000’s picture presets (Dynamic, Standard, Natural and Movie) come with MotionPlus technology switched on, which film fans will want to rectify. And secondly, the company logo in the bezel is set to glow like a lighthouse, which is far from ideal when you’ve dimmed all the other lights in your room, so you’ll need to switch that off, too. Keen tweakers can also get their hands dirty with the screen’s RGB, gamma and white balance controls.

Almost perfect

There’s a lot to like about Samsung’s biggest screen to date, apart from its dimensions alone. The design is classy, the online portal (Internet@TV) is the best in the business and the performance is very good indeed. But crosstalk and backlighting concerns prevent it from scooping full marks.

HCC VERDICT

Highs: Superior HD Visuals; content rich connected TV portal; classy looking ultra-thin design
Lows: Edge LED causes some light pooling; crosstalk with 3D
Performance 4/5
Design 5/5
Features 5/5
Overall 4/5

Specifications

3D: yes Active shutter, with 2D-3D conversion feature
Full HD: yes Tuner: yes Freeview HD
Component video: yes 1 set of inputs HDMI: yes Four v1.4
PC input: yes D-Sub Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Sound: 2 x 15W Brightness (claimed): N/A
Contrast ratio (claimed): ‘Mega’
Dimensions (w/o stand): 1,519(w) x 911 (h) x 29.3(d)mm
Weight (w/o stand): 36.2Kg
Features: Internet@TV content portal; DLNA networking; Ethernet; 200MHz Motion Plus; 3D HyperReal engine; Wide Colour Enhancer Plus; SRS TheaterSound; USB PVR function