SAMSUNG PS64D8000 3D TV REVIEW
Price: £2,999 (£2980 from amazon)
Date of review: June 15th 2011
Key features: active 3D TV (one pair of glasses included), 600Hz sub-field drive, Smart TV apps and video streaming services, Freesat and Freeview HD tuners, colour management, white balance adjustment, extensive multimedia playback support from USB or DLNA PC
Screen size: 64in
Connections: RF input, LNB input, four v1.4 HDMIs, two USB 2.0 inputs, one RGB Scart, Ethernet, D-Sub PC port, wi-fi, CI Slot, Optical digital audio output, headphone jack
Native resolution: 1920×1080
Screen technology: Plasma
Claimed contrast ratio/max brightness: Mega Dynamic (!)
Dimensions: 1487.9(w) x 888.9(h) x 37.1(d)mm
REASONS TO CARE
Having decided long ago that big screens are where it’s at for 3D playback, it’s fair to say we’re pretty pumped to be testing today a 3D TV – Samsung’s flagship plasma TV, no less – with a massive 64in screen. Which also has state of the art online features.
Form – Although its shape is strictly rectangular, the PS64D8000 wears its angular lines exceptionally well thanks to the metallic look of its bezel, a transparent outer trim, and the screen’s impressive slimness by big plasma standards.
Build quality - The metallic bezel feels nearly as strong as it looks; the rear panel is metal too; the screen is much tougher than the ones you get on most LCD TVs; and the whole screen feels reassuringly weighty. We certainly didn’t have any concerns about the PS64D8000 not being strong enough to comfortably support its huge expansive of screen, anyway. Which is nice.
EASE OF USE
Operating manual – The PS64D8000 doesn’t bother with a proper paper menu. Which is fine, because it has something much better: an interactive onscreen menu which tells you succinctly (sometimes too succinctly!) what each feature does when you highlight it.
This excellent approach to instructions is made all the more effective by the sheer length of the TV’s feature list. Learning your way through all the features available would likely have been much more tedious without the interactive approach to instructions.
Remote control - Although unassuming to look at and not nearly as well built as the TV it accompanies, the PS64D8000’s remote control features a good button layout, and one-button access to a healthy amount of the TV’s features.
Onscreen menus - The PS64D8000’s menus look attractive, with decent use of graphics among the clear text, and a mostly logical structure. They do cover rather a lot of the picture when you’re using them, though, and there are a couple of logic breakdowns. First, the Game picture preset is inexplicably hidden within an obscure sub-menu rather than being included with the other picture presets. Second, the picture fine-tuning tools are unnecessarily split over two menus rather than everything being included in a single menu.
Headliners – Although Samsung’s Smart TV service is now positively bulging with content, and despite the PS64D8000 having extremely useful multimedia playback flexibility, it pretty much had us at ‘64in screen with active 3D playback’.
Connections – The PS64D8000 lives up to its flagship status here, by supplying four v1.4 HDMI sockets for HD and 3D use, a pair of USB 2.0 inputs for playing multimedia files or recording from the digital tuners, plus RF and LNB inputs for feeding the Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners respectively. Oh, and there’s built-in wi-fi, too.
Key set up tools – The PS64D8000 carries a colour management facility that lets you adjust the gain and offset values for the RGB (but not CMY) colour elements. Plus there’s a 10-point white balance adjustment, and a straightforward selection of gamma settings.
These come on top of plenty of other more predictable tweaks, including a cell light adjustment, and both digital and MPEG noise reduction.
Online features – Samsung’s Smart TV system is currently the most wide-ranging and content-heavy online platform in the TV world. Highlight features include the inevitable BBC iPlayer, LoveFilm, AceTrax (for renting or buying films stored for you on a ‘cloud’), Facebook, Twitter, and a new Explore 3D channel containing an eclectic selection of free music videos, kids programmes, film trailers and documentaries that stream to your TV in HD 3D.
The D8000 also offers an open Web browser and Skype capability not found on the D6900 plasma models.
Wrapping up the Smart TV options are around 60 smaller-scale apps, offering a combination of information, tips and simple games. These are less interesting than the video streaming and social networking services, but we guess Samsung could argue that the more apps you make available, the more likely you are to come up with at least something to suit more or less everyone.
It’s worth adding that all the online features on the PS64D8000 are accessed via a superbly designed ‘hub’ menu that also gives you easy access to all your AV sources.
Key omissions - An extra pair of 3D glasses thrown in for free would have been nice, and enthusiasts would likely have appreciated being able to fine-tune the cyan, yellow and magenta colour elements as well as the RGB ones. But otherwise there’s little to complain about.