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Samsung UN55D8000 55″ LED 3D HDTV Review


Gaming Impressions

Many of today’s most popular HDTVs can’t be deemed fit for gaming on due to their massive amounts of input lag. Basically, input lag means there is a discernable pause between a controller input and that same action showing up on the screen Most of the time this is caused by excess background post processing or the signal passing through a long list of filters and noise reduction processes before it can be viewed on the screen. During regular TV or movie watching, this process is all but invisible to end users but when direct input is required, things quickly go downhill.

LCD and LED-based sets are more often than not particularly bad in this respect since their light engine has to process the signal prior to display in order to clean up the image. Samsung has found a way around this through their Game Mode which has been implemented

Game mode essentially shuts off the TV’s post processing algorithm which increases response times, tightens up input commands and renders the TV / controller handoff all but invisible. Unfortunately, there is one major downfall to using game mode: a significant reduction in image quality.

Playing games on this set is remarkably worry-free considering its roots in the LCD technology world. Even without Game Mode enabled input lag hovered around the 70ms mark which is still not optimal but soundly beats out many HDTVs we’ve previously reviewed, even the D7000. There was also very little discernable ghosting and full action movements were smooth and fluid.

Since Samsung’s TV’s don’t support multiple picture setting profiles from a single connector, we recommend installing your gaming console on a separate HDMI input. This will allow the blur and judder reduction to be maxed out without having an adverse impact upon movie viewing.

As usual, enabling game mode destroys image quality but immeasurably speeds up panel response times. The difference is so significant that we felt the essence of our games was lost at some points. More often than not, we played single player missions with Game Mode enabled while the competitive nature of online multiplayer matches necessitated Game Mode being turned on.

3D Performance

This is a tough section for us since we feel stereoscopic content is (hopefully) nothing more than a fad which is being shoved down our throats by overeager Hollywood studios that need to justify their existence in a digital world. Nonetheless, viewing 3D movies at home does have a certain amount of allure providing your TV properly supports this emerging format.

Samsung has built in a bevy of 3D options into the UN55D8000 but none of them really make stereoscopic viewing all that enjoyable. Sure, the ability to adjust image separation is beneficial for those of you who tend to get headaches when viewing 3D content but that doesn’t help with some inherent issues.

One of the main problems we have encountered with the current generation of 3D HDTVs is their lack of brightness when viewed through 3D glasses and the D8000 is no different. Due to the polarization on the active shutter lenses, every scene viewed through them will seem muted and slightly washed out. This means either increasing the brightness on the D8000 to iris-burning levels or making do with lower contrast and serious black crush. Some manufacturers have found a way around this by automatically increasing the backlighting once 3D content is detected but unfortunately Samsung hasn’t yet instituted this technology on their HDTVs.

There are some other features here like excellent 2D to 3D conversion and the beginnings of good judder reduction but the distraction of crosstalk and ghosting are still part of the package as well. As you can imagine, we’re still ont sold on stereoscopic 3D in one’s home.

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