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Gaming and Cable Television HD Experience

Before getting into the full 3D home theater experience, I gave this TV the run-through of what I’d likely be spending more time doing anyhow: watching TV and playing video games. This is much the same as how I treated other HDTV reviews, because as good as the “full experience” may be, it doesn’t matter too much when the everyday experience is lacking.

Starting on the gaming front, I tried a wide variety of games with my Xbox 360. This ranged from games where the smallest framerate difference could change everything (Super Street Fighter IV) to more casual rhythm games (Rock Band 3). For the most part, the colors were gorgeous, the contrast was brilliant, and the experience was great. However, I did experience some strange frame lag issues in Rock Band, which seems to happen with certain LED and LCD TVs. This wasn’t experienced in other games like NHL 11 and Dead Rising: Case Zero.

Cable television is what it is. If you are going to watch standard definition TV on this, you’re probably going to be disappointed. High definition TV (I’m on Shaw) is much better, of course, but the majority of broadcasts are only in 720p. This is nowhere near the Blu-ray level of quality, but relative to other similar HDTVs with this kind of TV signal, the Samsung holds its own. There is some slight motion blur with fast-paced sports, but it’s negligible.

Smart Hub Online Features and Functions

It’s not enough to be a television these days, it seems. You need to be smart. And Samsung is really pushing that mostly across its entire line of televisions and Blu-ray players. With the Smart Hub (also dubbed SmartTV or Smart TV), you get access to a series of features beyond cable television. Many of these are not unlike what you’d find on certain web-connected media players, like weather reports, Flickr, and YouTube. There’s also support for Netflix, plus an AP News Ticker that can run in the bottom of the screen while you’re watching something else entirely.

They’ve been trying to push the Samsung Apps too and that’s slowly growing too. One of the more interesting features is something called Social TV, which is meant to bring the concept of social media into your television watching experience. I’m not sure this will be all that popular, but it is an interesting idea.

Watching 3D Blu-ray Disc Movies

To test the high definition 3D capabilities, I used The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Film in 3D. This provided me with “real” footage involving human beings, as well as animated 3D thanks to the couple of trailers also included on the disc.

The actual video quality of a 1080p Blu-ray Disc feed on this TV is fantastic. The details really pop. You may notice very slight banding (some portions brighter than others), but this is very minimal and hardly noticeable. You will not be disappointed at all. In terms of the 3D, though, you can’t expect to get the same kind of experience you’d have at the movie theater. Most of the 3D effects are more akin to the Nintendo 3DS (albeit at a much higher quality and resolution). What this means is that it appears more like you are looking into a three-dimensional box than having the elements fly out at you. There is some of the latter, but it’s not nearly as pronounced as the former.

The 3D “sweet” spot extends easily 45-60 degrees away from the center point, so just about everyone in the room can have a decent view. They just have to all have the appropriate 3D active shutter glasses.

Closing Thoughts

The MSRP on the 55-inch LED 8000 Series (2011) from Samsung is somewhere north of $3,000. That’s not exactly chump change (you can find better deals by shopping around), so it’s understandable that you’d have higher expectations for this TV compared to some of its less expensive counterparts. And by and large, it lives up to those expectations.

There were two comments that I’d consistently get from people visiting my home while I was reviewing this TV. One, they remarked on that ridiculously pencil-thin chrome bezel. It’s gorgeous. Two, they said how beautiful the picture was and how vibrant the colors were. The image really does pop. Keener eyes spotted some motion blur, but this was not noticeable with the 3D Blu-ray at all; this could mean that more blame is to placed on the signal (cable TV) than on the TV itself.

The Samsung UN55D8000YF isn’t perfect. I don’t think any product will ever be perfect, but if you’re in the market for a higher-end television, this is a seriously solid choice. Mount it to the wall, use only high quality HDMI feeds, and you’ll be a happy couch potato.


  • Beautifully thin chrome bezel
  • Slim profile is great for wall mounting
  • Plenty of integrated web-connected features
  • Gorgeous image quality


  • Minor motion blur at times
  • Component/composite connections require splitters
  • 3D isn’t as eye-popping as I had hoped

Overall Rating: 8.5 / 10.0

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