Samsung UN55B8000 LCD HDTV First Impressions Review
From our limited hands-on testing of the UN55B8000 at CES in Las Vegas, we were impressed with the display.
Display Size & Technology
The Series 8 8000 is built around an LCD panel with full HD resolution, meaning that it can display every pixel of a 1080P signal in glorious detail. The flagship model (the UN55B8000) that we looked at is built around a 55-inch panel, but there is also a 46-inch model. But the real innovation in the UN55B8000 is behind the screen, where a series of LED lights replace the CCFL (Cold Cathode Florescent Lights) that are used on most televisions. There are two benefits to this; they use less electricity, and they don't contain Mercury, which has an annoying habit of leaking out and killing things when the TV is thrown out and recycled. So not only are you saving power, you are saving small, fluffy animals as well.
The UN55B8000is built around a 55-inch LCD panel
Format & Resolution
As befits the king of the hill in Samsung's 2009 lineup, the UN55B8000supports every format and resolution that your home media center is capable of throwing at it: it will be able to handle 1080p, 1080i, 720p and standard definition video with barely a shrug.
Brightness, Blacks & Contrast Ratio
because the UN55B8000 is still under development, Samsung has not revealed many details on the specifics of the more technical aspects of the UN55B8000. They did not release any details of the black level that the UN55B8000is likely to be able to achieve, beyond saying that the LED backlights allow it to achieve 'darker blacks that appear endlessly deep to the eye'. However, they did not define what endlessly deep on the eye means in terms of measurements, or what sort of contrast ratio the display will be able to achieve. Samsung executives declined to give us any specifics here, though; we'll have to wait to get one of the models in for review before we can get any more specific.
Refresh Rate & Motion
One of the major enhancements for the UN55B8000is the addition of 240Hz motion processing, which means that the display takes the 60Hz video signal that your device outputs, and does some fancy processing to create intermediary frames that create smoother movement. We've seen plenty of displays that offer 120Hz processing, but the UN55B8000 doubles this to 240Hz. We haven't tested any 240Hz displays yet, but the demos that Samsung were running certainly looked impressive, with smooth motion that didn't have any detectable jitters or jumpiness.
Again, Samsung declined to give us a specific figure for the viewing angle that the UN55B8000 offers, but the pre-production model that we looked at seemed to have a decent viewing angle; even from a wide angle, the images on screen remained bright and had decent contrast. However, it is worth remembering that Samsung aren't going to roll out a dodgey unit for a show like CES: they will only show the pre-production unit that shows the model at its best.
We weren't able to to do any testing of the UN55B8000 at the CES show, but the color on the screen looked very vivid and clean. One thing that Samsung did talk about was the Wide Color Enhancer Pro feature, which widens the color gamut to allow for a wider range of colors on screen. However, features like this only work if the display device actually creates the wider range of colors; they don't make any difference if you are watching a standard HDTV over the air signal, or a Standard DVD. Some Blu-ray players are offering a wider color gamut, though, so this feature might be attractive if you have a Blu-ray player that supports it.
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