By David Birch-Jones
Edited by Chris Boylan
For abounding years, television technology avant-garde at a rather arctic pace. The alteration from affiliated (black and white) to blush television began in the astern 1950’s, but it wasn’t until the astern 1980’s that manufacturers chock-full alms affiliated sets due to decreased demand. Likewise, the alteration from address complete to stereo complete took absolutely a while, abnormally in agreement of the absolute TV programs themselves.
Within the accomplished bristles years however, the TV industry has confused at a abundant faster pace, in introducing new technologies such as LED backlighting for LCD sets, 3D (although that seems not to accept captured abundant absorption with buyers) and alleged “smart” TVs that affection internet connectivity and affairs streaming.
Samsung’s latest F8500 alternation claret TV is a acceptable adumbrative of breadth the avant-garde in acute TV technology is these days. It’s appealing abundant loaded with acute TV features, including a agglomeration of congenital apps (with the adeptness to download a agglomeration added from their app store), congenital Wi-Fi, a congenital video camera, articulation recognition, action control, and a alien that dispenses with best ons in favor of a touchpad interface, abundant like you use with a smartphone or tablet. Like abounding accepted TV models, it’s a 3D-capable display, application alive bang 3D glasses technology (which I acerb adopt over acquiescent polarized 3D). They beatific us a 60″ archetypal for testing (PN60F8500), but they additionally action 51″ (PN51F8500) and 64″ (PNF64F8500) versions.
Samsung, forth with LG and Panasonic, continues to abutment the claret category, although for how abundant best charcoal to be seen, as sales arise to be on the wane. Given the choice, I’ll opt for a claret TV over an LCD set any day, as I still acquisition that overall, claret delivers a aloft examination acquaintance compared to LCD (although the Sharp Elite LED/LCD set I activated aftermost year was a actual absorbing performer).
There are four HDMI inputs and a aggregate blended (standard definition) ascribe or basal (high analogue or accepted definition) input. Of the three USB ports, two of them bear a bisected amp accepted achievement (or 2.5 watts) which is abundant for a archetypal USB deride drive, while the third delivers a one amp achievement (or 5 watts), which provides a little added action to drive a carriageable adamantine deejay or to allegation a smartphone or tablet.
With a deluge of inputs and a anchorage for a approaching advancement kit, the F8500 should authority up able-bodied over time.
With the HDMI inputs, there’s a bit of a twist. The HDMI 1 ascribe is labeled as committed for a set-top-box, while the HDMI 3 ascribe has the Audio Return Access action (ARC). Usually, the HDMI 1 ascribe is the ARC input, but not with this Samsung.
There’s a LAN anchorage for a hard-wired arrangement connection, an EX anchorage (for servicing), an RF anchorage for an antenna, and an bittersweet achievement for IR ascendancy of added accessories that adeptness be tucked abroad in a chiffonier (an IR flasher is supplied with the set). This is important if you’d like to use some of the added avant-garde “Smart TV” functions for advertent new shows or accessing admired channels from the supplied Samsung remote. For audio, there’s an optical agenda output, but no headphone or analog output. That’s a accessory shame, as it precludes hooking up the TV to an alien audio arrangement via an analog connection, such as a 2.1 access desktop audio system. Fortunately best soundbars and packaged HTiB systems additionally accept a fiberoptic agenda input, so you should be acceptable to go.
The bureaucracy account takes a few minutes, consisting of entering the user’s location, time breadth and added minutia, forth with Wi-Fi configuration, which begin my arrangement and affiliated to it bound already I’d entered my Wi-Fi arrangement password. The on-screen cartoon are alluringly ablaze and there’s acceptable argument to explain what anniversary footfall of the bureaucracy action entails.
The User Interface
Here’s breadth the Samsung differs badly from TVs awash aloof a year or two ago. The F8500 can be controlled via articulation acceptance as able-bodied as by action acceptance (hand waving). On the top bezel there’s a pop-up TV camera that has bifold functionality – it can be use for Skype video calls, as able-bodied as for action recognition.
A action acceptance tutorial instructs the eyewitness on how to use the system, which “looks” for a aloft arm action first. I aboriginal got a examination of this affection at aftermost year’s CES, and while it looked promising, I anticipation it to be rather clunky. Added than a year later, and in a additional bearing assembly archetypal and not a prototype, I still anticipate it’s clunky. At a accustomed examination distance, it usually took a few tries at adopting my arm to actuate the function. Already activated, the on-screen cursor didn’t move about smoothly; instead it stuttered from one abode to another. To actuate an icon, the user is instructed to accomplish a anchor with the arm still raised, which formed alone allotment of the time. I annoyed of it actual bound (both absolutely and figuratively), and didn’t bother with it at all afterwards the aboriginal brace of canicule with the set. Great for a admirers but not so advantageous in absolute life.
It’s a aggregate bittersweet and Bluetooth remote. Pushing the adeptness on sends out an bittersweet command to the TV, as able-bodied as accompanying activating the remote’s Bluetooth function. From afresh on, all of the ascendancy signals from the alien are beatific via Bluetooth, which agency you don’t accept to point the accessory at the set. The alien appearance backlighting, but it alone delivers a a ablaze grayish enhancement, and sometimes the ablaze on needs to be apprenticed added than already to actuate the feature. The backlighting on is placed left-most on a row of four at the basal of the remote. It should be on the ancillary of the alien (or the top) breadth it would be easier to acquisition in the dark.
When the TV is aboriginal powered on, the awning has a account window that occupies maybe 40% of the screen, with added icons for adapted programming and such bushing the blow of the awning area. This is the “On TV” affection which Samsung thinks you will acquisition advantageous for award article to watch. This agency that already the TV is powered on, and afterwards a adjournment of a few abnormal while the TV “wakes up,” you’ll charge to blow the remote’s touchpad to get a accustomed abounding awning view. You can about-face off this affection (and get a accepted full-screen window at start-up). Just go into the TV’s Menu, beneath “Smart Features,” acquisition the “On TV Settings” and set “Auto Start” to Off.
The alien is able with a microphone, and there’s a committed Articulation on to actuate articulation commands (in the bureaucracy menu, the user has the advantage of enabling or disabling the articulation function, and the aforementioned is authentic for the action acceptance function).
Another tutorial instructs the user on the articulation ascendancy function, and, like the action acceptance function, I begin it bulky and not able to anxiously analyze my announced commands. I’m not adjoin articulation recognition/control (it works accomplished in my car back I charge to accomplish a hands-free alarm on my smartphone), but as implemented in the Samsung it’s not up to snuff.
That video camera function, which is accessible for Skype video calling, comes with facial recognition, so ancestors associates can abundance a different contour for themselves that allows for customized awning layouts, app choices, and the like. But, it requires continuing adequately aing to the awning to get a adapted sized arch attempt for acceptance of the person. Seated at a accustomed examination distance, it wasn’t alive for me, so I bound forgot about the feature.
Fortunately, the set’s bittersweet alien command functionality extends far aloft the adeptness on/off functions, as the Samsung responds to bittersweet commands from an beforehand Samsung TV alien or from a accepted remote. I had on duke a Samsung TV alien from some years ago (perhaps six, maybe seven), and it formed like a charm. That agency you can can skip the blow awning alien in favor of a acceptable IR accepted alien (or a accepted Samsung TV remote) if you so desire. And if you’re like me, you may actual able-bodied desire.
For example, the supplied alien has no committed skip back/skip avant-garde ons, which are accessible for abyssal about DVR’d agreeable and absence commercials. To get them, you charge to hit the “More” on to accompany up an on-screen menu, afresh annal through that in acclimation to acquisition the ons. Getting there and dabbling the blow pad to do the skip is awkward to say the least. Fast avant-garde and rewind can be accomplished by sliding your feel forth the little metal bar at the top of the bash pad, but that alone starts the process. There’s no way to stop it added than connected re-swipes in the added direction, which if you get it right, gets you to a paused still frame. Dabbling the touchpad does nothing. One would apprehend that you could at atomic get the affair to alpha playback from that point, but no. At atomic I couldn’t acquisition a way to do it.
Also, simple operations on the DISH alien like accessing the adviser and announcement alone HD channels can be performed with aloof two on pushes on the aboriginal remote. With the Samsung alien however, alike afterwards bringing up that awkward on-screen sub-menu, and scrolling and dabbling about to acquisition the adapted basal on (in this case, the “red” on), this simple assignment could artlessly not be done.
Best admonition I can accord is to bung the Samsung alien aside, and affairs your DVR’s alien ascendancy for the Samsung, and ascendancy the TV with the DVR remote. If you appetite to admission the Samsung’s acute TV functions, afresh you can use the included touchpad remote, a accepted Samsung IR TV alien or a accepted remote. My best was to affairs the Samsung cipher into my DVR alien and use it for the basal TV operations, application the Samsung alien alone for added avant-garde TV appearance and calibration.
This speaks volumes about whether or not these fancy-schmancy TV remotes are a footfall avant-garde or a astern bound backward. I’m abiding there are some users who will be aloof accomplished application the Samsung’s touchpad alien to do the ascendancy chores, but I’m not impressed.
UPDATE (August, 2013): Samsung reps acquaint us that the F8500 now ships with both the blow awning alien and a acceptable IR on-based remote. Customers who purchased the set afore the additional alien was included can acquaintance Samsung Abutment to access the IR remote.
On Awning Display
When acute TVs debuted aloof a few years ago, their on awning displays were rather addled and analogously apathetic to acknowledge to commands. The Samsung boasts a cloister bulk processor that helps in carrying an absorbing beheld affectation of assorted app screens and is abundant zippier at responding to commands.
Samsung has redesigned its Acute TV interface for 2013, including a accomplished area committed to analytic and advertent what’s on advertisement TV.
The set comes with a cardinal of pre-loaded apps, including all of the accepted cable alive casework (in accomplished years, acute TVs alone came able with conceivably one or two of them). The accessible anamnesis indicator shows a best of 1.63GB of accumulator space, with about 40% acclimated by the pre-loaded apps. Added apps are accessible for download (after allotment with Samsung), but afterwards browsing through them, I didn’t acquisition any that were abnormally compelling. Still, the adeptness to advancement the set’s app portfolio is a huge advantage compared to beforehand acute TVs, which had no such capability.
The congenital web browser works absolutely well, abnormally in the absence of a wireless keyboard (Toshiba, for example, ships a wireless keyboard with their latest top-tier acute TVs). Samsung does action a wireless keyboard as an advantage for about $80. The F8500 analytic quick back loading web pages, although it’s not as quick as a adapted laptop or PC. The basal keyboard is easier to use via the remote’s touchpad, as against to a cursor/enter arrangement with a impaired remote, and there’s acute appearance suggestions as argument is entered, agnate to auto-fill with a web browser.
Optimum Account Settings
As with added Samsung TVs I’ve activated in contempo years, accepting to the best account ambience is a no-brainer. Aloof accept the Cine mode, which additionally defaults to the Warm2 blush area mode. In the Cine mode, account accurateness at the absence settings is acceptable for acceptable examination in a moderately lit room. The set comes with the activity extenuative Eco access active, and there’s a Cell Ablaze advantage that allows for advancement the minimum atramentous level, which I acclaim be set at the best (20) setting.
The Eco access uses the TV’s advanced console ambient ablaze indicator, and has a acceptable bulk of chain congenital to the algorithm. Added sets I’ve activated that acclimatize the account accurateness for the authentic ambient ablaze action accept tended to be on a beard trigger. That is, addition briefly walking in advanced of the set was generally acceptable to activate a apparent accurateness acclimation and consecutive re-adjustment. With this Samsung, the ambient ablaze sensor action reacts abundant added slowly, and abrupt changes in ambient ablaze accept no aftereffect on account brightness, and back ambient ablaze changes are detected, the accurateness change aftereffect is bit-by-bit abundant that it isn’t absolutely apparent as such.
The CIE Blush Area blueprint shows that the Samsung delivers accomplished blush fidelity.
The Analyzer Speaks
Once again, the Samsung’s Cine access (and the agnate absence to the Warm2 blush area choice) accepted to be, by far, the best authentic account mode, adapted out of the box. Actuality the Samsung array a attenuate amateur play. The blush temperature and gray arrangement breadth are aboriginal rate. Similarly, the gamma achievement is top brand with a mostly bland arc and an ideal 2.25 abstinent result. Breadth the Samsung absolutely shines is apparent in the CIE Blush Chart. The triangle aural the balloon represents the boundaries of the Rec. 709 HDTV blush area accepted (the absolute balloon represents colors the animal eye can absolutely see). Agenda that the six key blush credibility (the red, blooming and dejected primaries and the cyan, amethyst and chicken secondaries are denoted by squares on the triangle).
Those are the ambition points, and an authentic HD affectation will admeasurement with blush amount after-effects that are on or acutely aing to the ambition points. You can see that the Samsung’s abstinent performance, as represented by the six white dots that are absolutely adapted on the ambition squares, is absolutely excellent, and about as acceptable as you’d be able to access with a able calibration. Additionally agenda that the white dot that’s adapted on the crosshair centermost point indicates a absolute D65 blush temperature (6500° Kelvin aloof white, which is neither too red-ish nor blue-ish).
This is absolutely accomplished performance, and confirms already afresh that back a affectation measures so well, it will about consistently bear a analogously accomplished picture, which absolutely was the case with the F8500.
The Blush Temperature blueprint (left) shows accomplished breadth all the way bottomward to the darkest grays. The Gamma blueprint (center) shows a actual bland arc, and it abstinent 2.25, which is excellent. And the Red Blooming Dejected Tracking blueprint (right) shows that the red and dejected colors hug the blooming actual well, with alone a little aberration over the luminance range.
Because it’s a claret set, the out of the box account accurateness wasn’t over the top as it sometimes is with LED/LCD TVs, and the all-embracing account affection at the absence ambience was adequately good, but it was additionally absolutely dim. That’s not unusual, abnormally for a claret TV, as the acceptance of activity use labeling is an allurement for TV makers to set the absence account accurateness at a low akin so as to authorize for a added eco-friendly activity acceptance rating. The Samsung, like abounding added sets these days, comes with the Eco access pre-set to on, which added helps to abbreviate adeptness consumption. I abstinent the accurateness with the absence Accepted account mode, with abstinent allowance lighting at the time, at alone 7.8 foot-Lamberts, which is way too low for a adapted picture.
When I disabled the Eco mode, the account accurateness ramped up dramatically, with the set carrying a cool ablaze image. I abstinent a whopping 94 foot-Lamberts, which is the accomplished I’ve anytime abstinent from a claret TV. As expected, the blush temperature was on the bluish side, at about 9,000° Kelvin.
I begin the best all-embracing after-effects with the Cine access and the Eco access set to on, with the Cell Ablaze advantage set to the accomplished best (20). Back abstinent in a moderately lit allowance with those settings, the Samsung delivered 35 foot-Lamberts of aiguille brightness, which is absolutely fine.
The absence accurateness (black level) ambience accepted to be too low about with the aloft settings, but auspiciously the F8500 comes with a congenital analysis arrangement affection that allows the user to acclimatize account accurateness after the charge for a analysis arrangement from a DVD or Blu-ray or a analysis generator. With the analysis sample, I begin the 75 accurateness ambience to be aloof right.
Given that the F8500 is at the top of the accepted ambit of Samsung claret TVs, I accepted annihilation beneath than a great-looking account and that’s what I experienced. Parked adapted aing to a final bearing Pioneer Elite Kuro claret TV, the Samsung compared actual well, alike absolute the Pioneer a bit in carrying absolutely abysmal blacks.
An adventure of “The Voice” on NBC accepted to be actual advantageous in evaluating the Samsung, abnormally back critiquing the TVs adeptness to bear abundant abysmal blacks forth with adumbration detail. At abundant times during the show, there are abrupt shots of the admirers associates aerial up on the balcony, acclaim for their admired contestant. There’s aloof a bit of in-direct bluish lighting to brighten them, and with abounding sets, it’s adamantine to see abundant in the way of detail, as the blacks and aphotic grays tend to get ashamed together. That didn’t appear with the F8500, which did a accomplished job of absolution me see the admirers associates and their hand-made signage.
When critiquing a TV’s beheld performance, I tend to favor aerial affection alive aerial def shows, and back I watched an adventure of “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO, the Samsung delivered as superb a account as I’m acclimated to seeing with the Pioneer plasma, abnormally in agreement of beef accent accuracy.
By now, 3D is aloof addition affection that abounding sets appear with, and not the got-to-have affection that it was back 3D TVs aboriginal appeared on the scene. All aboriginal bearing 3D TVs alive alive bang 3D glasses technology, but back then, abounding 3D TV makers accept switched over to acquiescent polarized 3D (which I anticipate is inferior to the alive bang 3D approach).
Fortunately, the F8500 is able with alive bang 3D, and the set comes with 4 pairs of 3D glasses. To accumulate costs down, the glasses aren’t rechargeable and are array powered instead (via a C2025 disc battery). The array should aftermost for about 20 or 30 3D movies, and is arrangement to replace. Whereas beforehand bearing alive bang 3D glasses relied on bittersweet accompany signals from the TV to the 3D glasses, the Samsung accompany arrangement uses the new 3D glasses accepted which utilizes a radio freqency (RF) articulation amid TV and glasses. This provides a abundant added able-bodied 3D accompany arresting (the glasses won’t lose accompany if the wearer looks abroad from the TV for a moment).
I played a cardinal of acceptable Blu-ray 3D discs with the Samsung (the accepted suspects, including “Avatar,” of course), and with all of them, the F8500 delivered an accomplished 3D image, with none of the abhorrent artifacts that appear with the acquiescent polarized 3D method. I noticed little to no crosstalk (ghosted images) and enjoyed the abounding 1080p HD detail in both eyes.
Like added 3D TVs, the F8500 has a 2D-to-3D upconversion feature, and as I expected, the aftereffect was somewhat noticeable, but not awfully absorbing and boilerplate a what you’d acquaintance with a built-in 3D cine on Blu-ray.
While Samsung touts the F8500’s high-tech features, such as the blow pad remote, the facial and arm/hand action acceptance and articulation recognition, for me these appearance weren’t about as acute as the all-embracing account affection I experienced. Samsung continues to abutment the claret architecture (at atomic for now), and the F8500 is a argument book archetype of claret HDTV done right: atramentous levels to die for, but actuality they are accompanied by a brighter account than we commonly see on a plasma.
Because it’s their top of the band claret TV, it’s a bit pricey, originally advertisement at $3,799.99. However, the accepted MAP seems to be $2,799.99, which is a cogent bead in price, and which makes it abundant added of a value. As the 60″ Pioneer Elite Kuro final bearing claret TV agitated a account amount of $6,000.00, the Samsung at beneath than bisected that charge be advised to be article of a arrangement for a top band absolutely loaded 60″ claret TV. Kudos to Samsung for additionally architecture in an advancement aisle via the Evolution Kit amplification agenda slot.
Buy the F8500 for the account quality, including the adeptness to accommodate a affably bright, abundant angel in around any lighting condition. And if the aerial tech ascendancy appearance and all-encompassing alive options add to the address for you, afresh accede them icing on the cake.
Manufacturer’s Acquaintance Info
Samsung Electronics USA85 Challenger RoadRidgefield Park NJ 07660ph: 800-726-7864
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