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Samsung 65-inch KS9000 SUHD TV review: A premium 4K TV made for HDR

By Ng Chong Seng - 13 Nov 2016
Launch SRP: S$7199

Settings & Performance

Performance

For 4K test content, I used various clips I’ve amassed through time, played through either a PC or media player. What’s new this time round was I added a few 4K Blu-ray titles to my arsenal, played over a 4K Blu-ray player. Some 1080p and 480p (yes, standard-definition) content were used, too, mainly for testing the upscaling algorithms. I also tried streaming content from services like Netflix and Amazon, and console games whenever possible, primarily to look out for app and HEVC issues and input lag.

 

TV settings

Once again, the Movie preset continues to be the best picture preset on the KS9000, and the one I used as the starting point for my calibration. This mode also enables a 10-point white balance control, which will come in handy when adjusting grayscale. I also kept the default Warm2 option for the Color Tone setting. If you’ve the tools, you can spend some time customizing the color space to get the colors as accurate as possible, though I reckon most people will just leave the Color Space setting to Auto and have the TV automatically adjusts the palette to suit the content.

The Sports and Game modes are now under the Special Viewing mode in the Picture menu. A recent firmware update (1110) also introduces a HDR+ mode that tries to bring the HDR effect to non-HDR videos.

And many what used to be under Advanced Settings and Picture Options on past TVs are now grouped under Expert Settings.

Additionally, I engaged the Custom option for Auto Motion Plus to enable more settings to control the judder and soap opera effect that I saw for 24p content when Auto was used. I also turned on LED Clear Motion, which puts black periods between frames, to reduce motion blur. Since the KS9000 is already so bright, I've no qualms with the TV taking a slight brightness hit if it means a sharper picture during motion in movies. In any case, if you noticed any flicker or judder, try playing around with the Blur Reduction and Judder Reduction settings; I set mine to 1 and 1 respectively.

To reduce motion blur, turn on LED Clear Motion.

 

Picture quality

Whether you watch a lot of movies in the dark or in a sunlight-filled living room, the picture quality from the KS9000 SUHD TV is top drawer. In my tests, I found no out of the norm screen uniformity issues, and viewing angles from the SVA-type LCD panel seemed better than last year's JS9000, too. It even handled reflections from my two studio lights well, thanks to the new 'moth eye' screen filter.

The KS9000 also produced the best black level performance of any LED-LCD TVs I've tested to date, with a native black level of 0.031cd/m2. In layman's terms, this TV emits very little light when a pure black image is on screen, making it great for viewing dark scenes in a dark room. Top and bottom bars in movies didn't emit much light either, which is good; though interestingly, there's no Cinema Black setting this time round to dim these bars further because Samsung has shifted the position of the edge LEDs. Lastly, I'm not too bothered by the blooming effect, though I've to admit that it's more obvious when you're looking at the screen from the sides.

Colors really pop on the KS9000 SUHD TV. (Scene from a Samsung 4K demo clip.)

It goes without saying that the KS9000 delivers plenty of details when fed with a native UHD signal. It went plenty bright too, hitting a peak luminosity of well over 1,200cd/m2 (albeit with a smaller section of the screen), and consistently around 530cd/m2 across the whole screen.

(In case you're wondering, when a Ultra HD Premium-certified 4K LCD TV says it has a peak brightness of 1,000 nits (or cd/m2), it doesn't mean that it's outputting that luminosity all the time and for the whole screen. Obviously, the keyword here is 'peak'.)

Simply put, the KS9000 can comfortably and convincingly reproduce small and mid-size highlights with a high level of brightness, things like your glittering morning dew, metallic reflections, or white snowy mountains. Coupled with a 96% DCI-P3 coverage (on CIE 1976 u'v' for those interested) for richer colors, HDR on the KS9000 is a sight to behold. If I could nitpick, it'd be that this lifting of colors and detail would at times bring blacks into slightly non-black territory, due to the inevitable increase of backlight level for HDR.

Last but not the least, the KS9000's lowish 20ms input lap makes it a decent display for gaming, and if you were to connect it to a PC, it can do 4K 50p/60p at 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 when the HDMI UHD Color option is turned on.

For an edge-lit TV, the KS9000's black level performance is actually pretty great. (Scene from The Martian.)

Boatloads of details, wide dynamic range, high brightness - the KS9000 has all the hallmarks of a great 4K HDR TV. (Scene from Into the Cave of Wonders.)

9.0
  • Design 9
  • HD Performance 9
  • SD Performance 9
  • Features 9
  • Value 9
The Good
Over 1,000 nits peak brightness benefits HDR
Wide color gamut enables more life-like pictures
Sensible Smart Hub design, useful universal remote
Good local dimming performance for an edge-lit TV
Black level, reflectance, viewing angles improved vs. predecessor
The Bad
Backlight transitions still visible at times
Off-axis viewing image quality can still get better
Doesn't support side-by-side content viewing
Doesn't support Dolby Vision HDR format
Doesn't support 3D (but who cares!?)