Right out of the box the Samsung F8000 55-inch TV's visuals come with a blue tinge, which in itself gives the image quality a cool feel. While the color may not be completely accurate, we have always thought it is better to err on the side of blue than any other shade, say for example red. Switching over to “Movie” mode rectifies the issue slightly. As always we ran our Spyder 3DTV calibration process to see if we could bump up the performance of the Samsung F8000.
To test the standard definition capabilities of the F8000 we ran through our DVD of X-Men: The Last Stand. Previously SD content had been a stumbling block for both the D8000 and the ES8000. However with the F8000 Samsung seems to have paid some attention to improve this particular aspect. One of the first things we noticed with regards to the visuals is that noise reduction capabilities seemed to have improved. There were noticeably less artifacts in the scene where Professor Xavier and Magneto walk in to young Jean Grey’s home when comparing with the same scene being displayed on older Samsung Series 8 TVs. Unfortunately due to the nature of the content being viewed, some artifacts were observed during the motion sequences. The fact that we were watching DVD content upscaled was most evident during Cyclops' solitary motorbike ride through the forest where some motion noise was in evidence.
Samsung has fitted the F8000 with a feature they have dubbed "Cinema Black". Essentially the feature is a form of micro dimming for the edge-lit LED. When content with letterboxing (2.35:1) is being viewed, the TV automatically dims the LEDS for the letterbox bar portion. While the feature does not affect the actual area of displayed visuals, it works well to increase the perceived contrast and overall viewing experience.
High Definition content is where the Samsung F8000 55-inch TV came into its own. With the Blu-ray source material being richer in detail, when compared to SD content, the TV was able to show its true color literally and figuratively.
The warm tones and color scheme of Vantage Point do not seem to up the F8000’s alley considering that we observed a blue tinge to the visuals at the start. However during playback we were quite impressed with the quality of the color represented. The skin tones for the actors were almost spot-on and the details were vivid and easily appreciable.
Samsung states that the F8000 has a Clear Motion Rate of 1,000 (the ES8000 had a Clear Motion Rate of 800) and does not disclose the refresh rate of the panel. According to Samsung the Clear Motion Rate is a representation of the Refresh Rate, Image Processor and Backlighting. Whatever the number might denote, in practice we found the F8000 to handle motion extremely well. The flurry of movement during the assassination attempt in the movie was represented accurately with no visible artifacts.
The Samsung F8000, as mentioned earlier, is an edge-lit LED TV. What this means is that it LEDs mounted on the right and left side, with a light plate to guide the light to the right areas of the screen. While micro dimming may be available, an edge-lit LED TV does not offer the same level of lighting control as a full-array LED TV with local dimming.
Being an edge-lit LED however does not stop the F8000 from delivering great blacks. The black levels were deep when we viewed the animated classic Corpse Bride. At the same time though the different levels of the blacks and the greys was extremely commendable. All the details in the shadows of the frames could be made out with ease.
Samsung is not marketing the F8000 as a 3D TV. But the product is still equipped with active shutter 3D technology for those who would to make use of the feature. Trying out the 3D content in the shape of Monsters .vs. Aliens, we felt that the performance had improved from previous models. General cross-talk has been reduced and the depth of field is good. However ghosting is still a problem when high motion sequences. It must also be stated that the 3D picture looks slightly artificial, most probably due to the processing the Samsung TV uses to deliver the 3D effect.
Active shutter 3D technology has still not reached a point where all users are able to view it without experiencing some degrees of strain. Passive 3D, as found on LG TVs, may not offer the same depth of field as active shutter 3D but still remains much more comfortable for the viewer.