What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Wed, 9 Feb 2011, 9:00am

Samsung UE65C8000

Tested at £4500
80100
4

Lovely to look at when off and on, the Samsung is a rather beautiful beast

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For

  • Ultra-slim
  • dramatic, dynamic 3D
  • subtle colour palette
  • good contrast
  • decent sound

Against

  • 3D isn'
  • t as stable as some
  • can fall foul of fast motion
  • some backlight unevenness

Most people would refer to Samsung's UE65C8000 as a massive TV. With its 65in screen, this behemoth is about as big as mainstream 3D televisions get.

The viewing distance for a screen of this size is 3m–4.5m, though, so those with really small rooms need not apply. To call this simply a big TV, however, sells it short. A home-entertainment hub is probably closer to the mark.

While this set happily receives off-air transmissions through its Freeview HD tuner or displays the output from a 3D Blu-ray player, its talents don't stop there.

It can also stream content (video, music and photos) from your network, record onto a USB device for basic time shifting, and access specific internet content such as iPlayer and You Tube.

It's huge, but simple to use
Such a wide range of abilities might suggest the UE65C8000 is a little complicated to use; it's not. The remote handset is neat and well laid out, and the set-up menus are easily understood.

Connectivity is comprehensive, with four HDMIs (1.4 spec), a pair of USBs, ethernet and the usual TV connections. There's an optical digital output, too.

One complaint is that the positioning of the HDMI inputs could be better: they're all along one side of the set, and there's not much space for the cables to twist while remaining hidden, especially if you are wall mounting. Samsung has had to included short, wired adaptors for some of the other connections to minimise this issue.

This set is relatively easy to optimise. There are the usual dynamic contrast, noise reduction and motion setting options, but in most cases performance was best with these off or on low. And remember, optimising one aspect always has some effect on another parameter.

Good detail from Freeview HD

Once up and running, this screen is a good performer. Its Freeview HD tuner extracts a decent amount of detail without overemphasising noise, and colours from daytime programmes look fairly natural.

Perhaps more surprising is the set's ability with streamed content. Results with BBC iPlayer are surprisingly good – not far from what's available on standard definition Freeview.

A move to DVD proves the quality of the UE65C8000's internal scaler. Levels of noise and motion artefacts are kept low, and even on a screen of this size, decent DVD transfers look good. At least until the switch to Blu-ray is made.

Shines with Blu-ray
A screen like this has to be all about high-definition material, and it's with Blu-ray discs such as Where the Wild Things Are and The A Team that this huge Samsung truly shines.

Detail levels are high and its contrast strong without being overbearing. Fast-moving objects are tracked fairly securely and there's a nicely understated colour palette that looks pretty natural.

Only when it comes to outright black depth does this screen come up a touch short. The slightly uneven backlight of this edge-lit LED set doesn't help matters in darker scenes either.

Switch to 3D – Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and Coraline – and this TV does well. The 3D image looks more stable than that of previous Samsung TVs we've seen, suffering less crosstalk with fast-moving images.

3D is easy on the eye
It's certainly easier to watch over longer periods, helped by some lightweight glasses. It's rather mean of Samsung, though to supply only one pair with this set.

The UE65C8000 can also add a third dimension to 2D content with the aid of some nifty processing. We suggest you avoid. It doesn't work particularly well.

Sound quality in TVs isn't often great, but take a little time to play around with the sound settings and you'll end up with a listenable sound, if not one that goes as far as being pleasing.

There's no denying the UE65C8000 is a hugely desirable product. However, it costs around a grand more than Philips' glamorous 58in 21:9 set, and we can't quite get round that price difference, considering the performance on offer.

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