SD, HD & 3D Tests
X-Men: The Last Stand (DVD)
The 55-inch ES8000 has weathered our tests fairly well so far. Now let's see if its built-in scaler is able to rise to the occasion with a low resolution DVD source. Close-ups of Wolverine and Storm in the early sequences bear testament to the Series 8's video processor's confident capabilities and attention to detail. Unfortunately, this was marred by motion noise and aliasing artifacts which remained inextinguishable in various scenes, especially on the periphery of moving objects in the film. The TV ranks highly when it comes to fleshing out darker tones with minimal black crush issues, but some of its advanced picture settings are needed, such as Dynamic Contrast and Black Tone, to mitigate the slightly washed-out textures on the ES8000. Toning down the backlights and brightness levels might help, although shadow details might suffer as a result. There are a handful of Full-HD displays out in the wild, like Sony's HX855 and LG's LM8600 for instance, capable of pulling off a 480p clip as a high-definition source when viewed at an appropriate distance. Unfortunately for Samsung, it's quite perceptible that we were watching a DVD movie on the ES8000, and not high-definition content.
Vantage Point (Blu-ray)
The ES8000 delivered much better results with Blu-ray content on its native Full-HD screen. For starters, motion noise and aliasing artifacts associated with the low-res source were no longer applicable or apparent. One of Samsung's strengths is its potential to deliver pin-sharp detail and textures. For example, even the pores on the faces of Matthew Fox and Dennis Quaid at 11:45 were easily visible. However, we can't help but notice a 'paper-like' quality on the overall image. We can recommend a quick fix by lowering its backlights to '10' and trimming the Gamma value to '-1', resulting in a more wholesome Vantage Point to spend the next hour and a half with. The ability to produce deep but natural hues is another asset of the ES8000. Observably, this is a notable improvement over earlier generations of Samsung HDTVs with the propensity for overly saturated hues. Cadence detection worked well with Film Mode primed to 'Auto1' as well. We did not notice any odd artifacts or motion judder with this feature applied. In summary, we enjoyed the film without Motion Plus enabled, but if you must, you may combine Samsung's Motion Plus (frame interpolation) and LED Motion Plus (backlight scanning) to reduce any motion blur inherent in the movie title. For a warmer picture, try the Movie preset with the default 'Warm 2' Color Tone setting.
|Advanced Settings||Recommended Settings|
|RGB Only Mode||Off|
|Picture Options||Recommended Settings|
|Digital Noise Filter||Low|
|MPEG Noise Filter||Low|
|LED Motion Plus||Off|
SSG-4100GB Active-Shutter 3D Glasses
We had a mild shock when we spied on Samsung's latest 3D eyewear bundled with the ES8000. Not that the glasses suffered from an electrical leak, but because it was visibly less attractive than the slightly older SSG-3700CR model. Looks aside, the main selling point of the SSG-4100GB is that you get to wear it over prescription glasses. We tried it, and it worked as claimed. Design wise, the SSG-4100GB is a lightweight affair, and it comes with a flexi-band which wraps around your face. They are detachable from the frame as well. Oddly enough, this model does not offer any rechargeable features since it uses a button-cell battery with a touted battery life of 150 hours, according to the South Korean CE manufacturer. Samsung is currently bundling two pairs of the SSG-4100GB with the Series 8 Smart TV.
Monsters vs Aliens (3D Blu-ray)
It was two years ago when Samsung kickstarted their 3D campaign with the introduction of their C-series LED TVs. Instead of resting on their laurels, it's encouraging to know that Samsung has made a concerted effort to resolve the terrible crosstalk issues inherent in their first-generation 3D TVs. Although crosstalk is still present on the ES8000, they are rare and negligible in most instances too. If we had to draw a comparison, we'd say that the ES8000 delivered a marginally better 3D performance compared to its Series 8 predecessor. Generally, 3D images are more defined than those experienced on last year's flagship model. The other thing with the Samsung 3D experience is the intermittent flickering we've detected in occasional scenes. Not flickering, as in those associated with external 'pulsating' fluorescent lights, but those emitted via the TV's panel itself. As for the set's 2D to 3D conversion, little improvements have been made since the D8000, and we'd rather watch our content in 2D on any given day.
We also often get the question on how the latest crop of these active shutter 3D glasses based TVs fair with a passive 3D TV. To simply put it, If we had to pick between the Samsung ES8000 series and a passive 3D TV model, we'd probably go with the latter. They might offer shallower 3D depths, but the crosstalk-free and comfortable viewing experience more than makes up for the shortfalls. This holds true only if 3D movie viewing is a priority and not an afterthought or an extra frill.