Watching test patterns and colors on the screen let us evaluate singular aspects of the TV. However, it is essential to evaluate the overall experience generated by all the features and hardware. For this purpose, we have a varied selection of HD, SD and 3D material. Please note that performance and artifacts exhibited might not be accurately captured by cameras and hence may not be evident in the pictures below, but we'll do our best to convey our experiences.
Tim Burton’s animated film provided the Samsung D8000 a chance to put its capabilities to work. The most impressive aspect of watching this Blu-ray title in our preferred test scene was the excellent black levels observed (which further emphasizes our calibrated findings). Victoria Everglot’s red dress provided a sharp relief with good contrast, clarity, vibrancy and yet we could discern other details in this mostly dark scene. Interestingly, the problems we encountered during our screen uniformity test were not present when examined here.
In addition to its already excellent rendition of dark scenes, the Samsung D8000 has a Black Tone feature which allows users to adjust the darkness of the color according to their own preferences. However, it must be noted that using the feature can cast a slight black tinge over other colors, making them seem muted. For our viewing of Corpse Bride, which relies heavily of shadows and murkiness for ambiance, we found setting this level to "Dark" improved the overall viewing experience without detracting from the vibrancy of the brighter colors.
Vantage Point is known to be notoriously unkind to televisions. It is a hard task to reproduce the flushed skin tones of the characters under the Spanish sun, while the movement and panning of certain scenes causes tearing and judders. It seems however that the Samsung D8000 is equipped to deal with these challenges.
In our opinion, the Motion Plus feature on the TV is one of the best movement enhancing options we have encountered. While similar options on other TVs might make panoramic shots flow smoothly, they almost always make human movement look clumsy and jarring. However we experienced blanket smoothness when we set the Motion Plus feature of the Samsung D8000 to "Clear". A perfect example would be the U.S President’s entrance in this movie. The cavalcade glided in to park and the smooth motion was carried on in to the scene where the passengers disembark.
However, the settings still could not help it deal with the infamous scene at 23:20. We could detect minimal tearing, but that may partially be because we were specifically looking for it. On the whole, in our opinion, watching Vantage Point’s story unfold was a visual treat.
Another point in favor of the Samsung D8000 was the natural skin tone of the characters in the movie. With the "Flesh Tone" feature, users can adjust the color by increasing or decreasing the red tinge. We didn't feel the need to fiddle with the settings because performance at neutral was close to perfect.
Since standard definition content is still in abundance, it is important to test any TV with lower definition materials to ascertain its overall performance. The D8000 being one of the higher end models, it was disappointing to see tearing and smearing when we played X-Men: The Last Stand DVD. While "Motion Plus" made the wide, swooping camera angles look breathtaking as Cyclops meandered around road bends, artifacts could clearly be seen on the close-up shots. On the bright side, the noise reduction features came to the fore and greatly helped clean mosquito buzz and other movie grain while still retaining a high degree of detail. Overall, we felt the TV could have done better in the playback of low definition content.
Unfortunately, 3D performance was a big letdown and is the Samsung D8000’s biggest weakness (as has been noted in their previous 3D TVs like the C7000 and the C8000). When watching the 3D edition of Monsters vs Aliens, we experienced blurry images along with a high degree of cross-talk. Ghosting was also present. In addition, the 2D to 3D conversion feature was weak and generated a shallow depth of field. These results are surprising considering 3D is poised to be an integral part of televisions for the foreseeable future. It is doubly shocking if we take into account the stellar performance of the D8000 for most of our other tests.
The 3D effect is provided with the help of active shutter glasses. We found them to be bulky but not extremely cumbersome. Since the technology necessitates the use of electronic circuitry on the glasses, the size is something that is difficult to cut back on. An annoying feature was the oversight to provide feedback with respect to actuation on the glasses. You can press the power button but the glasses do not provide any indication that they have been switched on, which can leave first time users wondering if the glasses are functioning or not.