Samsung KS8000 4K Ultra HD TV Review
UN49KS8000, UN55KS8000, UN60KS8000, UN65KS8000
SUHD HDR 120Hz Smart LED TVs
Samsung’s KS8000 is the entry level series of their latest SUHD premium 4K UHD lineup. This new 8 Series is currently available in 49″, 55″, 60″ and 65″ screen sizes. In this review I evaluated the 55″ model; however, this review can be applied to the other models as well since their only difference is screen size.
Note: There have been reports on AVS Forums and from Amazon’s customer reviews of different panel types used on the KS8000 (FA01 or AA01) that may contribute to picture quality differences.
Design and Features
The KS8000 features an attractive yet basic design. What makes this display appealing to the eyes is its bezel design which features a razor thin silver trim piece that surrounds the top and sides of the screen; this is accented with a very thin black border that runs along the inner outside edges of the screen. The bottom edge of the screen also has a silver trim piece, but is thicker than the other trim edges. This edge also contains an eliminated Samsung logo.
The TV’s screen contains a glossy finish and feature Samsung’s Ultra Clear Panel technology which enhances contrast and reduces reflection. The screen is illuminated with edge-lit LED backlighting.
I was surprised to see that the back of the display contained a glossy black surface instead of the usual matt gray/black finish. This gives the set a move high-end look in my opinion. However, this updated look will most likely go unnoticed since most installation of this TV will either be wall mounted or sitting on a cabinet with its back panel close to a wall.
The design of the stand (feet) on the 8 Series is not of the traditional “Y” or “T” shape center mounted design that Samsung typically uses on its higher-end models; instead, these models have what Samsung calls a “Branch Shape” stand. This design uses two separate feet that are mounted at the bottom and ends of the display panel.
This new design provides very good stability for the display panel, as I discovered, when I gently rocked the TV back and forth from the top edge. This greatly reduces the chance of any accidental TV tip-over.
Remote Control – The Smart Touch remote has been redesigned for 2016. Its size is still very compact and fit comfortably in my hand. Its keypad layout has changed, yet still contains a minimal amount of buttons. In general, I found the remote easy to use, and was able to access the TV’s menus’ without any issues.
However, I do have a gripe about the remote’s functionality – when using the “Volume” or “Channel” buttons, you have to use an upward or downward push motion to change either of these two functions. Initially, I found this to be a bit awkward during use and definitely would have preferred the typical button press to control these functions.
The remote features voice control using its built-in microphone, and allows your voice to control certain functions of the TV such as turning the TV on and off, navigating menus and to access your favorite smart TV content.
I’d also like to point out that the remote uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with the TV. This means the remote will have to be initially paired with the TV before it can be used.
Note: 3D capability is no longer available on Samsung’s 2016 SUHD models.
Other features include:
- Smart Hub: Samsung has improved its smart TV Tizen OS with a new Smart Hub designed to provide users with simple access to their favorite content all in one place. Live TV, over the top (OTT), games and even the menu that appears on the home screen of Samsung Smart TVs have all been revamped to allow users to access their favorite programs as soon as they turn on the TV.
- Samsung’s SmartThings IoT technology allows for integrated home automation control from SUHD TVs to over 200 SmartThings compatible devices.
- HDR or High Dynamic Range provides increased contrast with a greater range of peak brightness (highlights) and black levels, in addition to better picture detail and more vibrant colors.
- Quantum Dot Color for increased color range delivering a more accurate and vibrant color palette.
- 10-bit panel displays more colors with finer step of gradation for greater color reproduction with HDR sources.
- Motion Rate 240 for motion blur reduction – native refresh rate is 120Hz
- HEVC/VP9 decoding for watching streamed 4K video sources like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and YouTube.
- DIRECTV 4K Ready – DIRECTV subscribers with the Genie Whole-Home HD DVR can enjoy 4K service and full DVR features without an additional receiver.
- Netflix Recommended TV – This certification makes it easier for consumers to know which manufacturers HDTV’s work best with its streaming video service.
- Web browsing capability for surfing the internet from the TV
- Fast 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi to connect to your wireless network
- Wi-Fi Direct
- Bluetooth wireless audio streaming to a compatible speaker or set of headphones
- Ultra HD Premium certification ensures this TV meets or exceeds strict performance levels for resolution, high dynamic range and wide color spectrum, along with recommendations for immersive audio.
The KS8000 use a One Connect Box to connect external devices. The signals are then feed to the TV via a proprietary 6.5 ft cable. All connection ports listed below are on the One Connect Box except for one of the USB ports and the Ethernet port, which are both located on the back of the TV.
- 4 HDMI 2.0a inputs (HDCP 2.2 compliant)
- 3 USB 2.0 inputs
- 1 Ethernet input
- 1 RF input for antenna/cable/satellite
- 1 Digital optical audio output
Note: There are no component or composite analog inputs available on this TV.
I was impressed with the overall picture quality of the KS8000.
Color reproduction on this display was quite pleasing to my eyes, delivering vivid colors that were both accurate and natural, in addition to being well balanced, which was readily apparent while observing the flesh tones of actors faces.
I suggest you use the Movie picture mode and Warm2 color tone settings which are located in the Picture Mode and Expert Settings menus. These settings will give you the most accurate picture image.
To further enhance picture quality, you can do a self calibration using a calibration disc, or have it professionally calibrated by a qualified technician.
Note: If the Movie picture mode isn’t appealing to your own eyes, try the Standard picture mode which provides a more vivid image without looking unnatural.
Picture detail and clarity was a strong point on this TV, providing excellent transparency and great image depth, allowing me to see the smallest of details in objects and landscaping with stunning clarity when viewing 4K images.
Contrast and black levels were very good on this display – blacks were solid and deep with no grayish overtones. Black level reproduction in a scene from the movie Star Wars – The Force Awakens which shows Dark Vader’s melted helmet, and reveals very dark and inky blacks within the eye sockets of the helmet, while the rest of the helmet was rendered with deep rich blacks.
Shadow detail was rendered nicely while viewing another scene from the same movie, which takes place on the inside of a crashed and abandoned Star Destroyer ship. This scene allowed the KS8000 to reveal the proper amounts of shadow detail and depth among the objects within this dark and dimly lit environment.
Contrast range revealed good extension, delivering great peak white performance of white text against a black background while the surrounding area of the image remained a consistently even deep shade of black.
Black screen uniformity performance was great on this display. On a completely black screen I was not able to detect any light bleed coming from the corners or edges of the screen. Nor did I see any blooming around white text or white objects against a black background.
Motion blur and judder – When evaluating motion rendering on the KS8000 I was left with mixed results: While watching 4K demo footage highlights of a basketball game, the action on the court was presented with very natural motion with no motion blur. This was with Auto Motion Plus set to Auto. I also turned Auto Motion Plus off while viewing the same footage and obtained similar results.
I did experience motion judder when viewing certain video footage on this TV. This happened with Auto Motion Plus turned off. For example, the demo clip I use to evaluate judder, consist of a panning shot of a musical instrument; this test revealed quite a bit of judder and jerkiness in the image as the camera panned from left to right.
However, when I turned Auto Motion Plus to the Auto setting, the image was rendered cleanly with virtually no judder.
Side angle viewing suffered from what I consider typical amounts of contrast and color saturation loss for an LED TV. Picture dimming became evident at around 20 to 25 degrees off axis, and was even more noticeable at a 45 degree angle and wider.
4K upscaling was very good on this TV. 1080p sources upscaled to near 4K quality looked great. The amount of perceived increase in picture detail, sharpness and clarity were clearly visible. 480p sources didn’t turn out as well, and weren’t as sharp or detailed, and appeared visually softer than 1080p sources. I’m not surprised at these differences since the 480p content was not of HD quality to start with. However, the images still looked decent enough to watch and didn’t contain any distracting picture image artifacts.
The KS8000’s LED edge-lit design features a local dimming function. This, however, is not the same as full-array LED backlighting with local dimming which places zones of LEDs directly behind the TV’s screen. This arrangement provides much better performance and more precise dimming than edge-lit LED designs.
With that said, Samsung calls their edge-lit local dimming feature – Smart LED. This function dims the picture image in dark scenes or certain areas of the screen to increase black levels and contrast. I found that this function does noticeably increase black levels when set to the “Low” or High” positions. However, the difference between the two settings is subtle.
So if you do decide to use this feature, I suggest leaving it set to “Low”. One downside to using this feature is that it does reduce peak white output. I noticed this affect on images with white text against a black background as I toggled this function “on” and “off”.
The HDR content I viewed on the KS8000 showed improvements over non-HDR sources in the areas of bright highlights, especially in nighttime scenes which allowed me to see people, objects and landscaping more clearly in the overall image. I also saw an increase in picture detail, in addition to more dynamic color reproduction.
Sound quality from the 40-watt down firing speaker system, that is located at the bottom of the display panel, provided better than average audio quality when compared to what I’m accustomed to hearing from most other flat panel designs. The sound had a bit more punch and fullness. However, it still wasn’t at the quality level of what I would consider good – only satisfactory. So a decent sound bar is still recommended to achieve good sound quality from the KS8000.
In my opinion, Samsung’s KS8000 is a very solid performer and provides very good picture quality, with the exception of motion judder being detected on my “panning” video footage I use for testing judder. I was able to eliminate this problem by turning on the TV’s motion control feature.
Color reproduction is very rich and vivid delivering a very natural and accurate color presentation. Black levels are exceptionally deep and contrast range is very high.
The Smart Hub smart TV platform has been redesigned and offers better functionality. The Tizen OS has been updated for 2016 and is very intuitive. You can see and arrange all of your favorite apps at the bottom of the TV screen. It also learns your viewing behavior, so it is then able to suggest what you may want to watch next, or when there is a new episode of a series you normally watch.
The KS8000 will make a good choice for anyone looking for a premium – name brand 4K Ultra HD TV. It provides a bright picture image which makes it ideal for rooms with lots of natural lighting. This television is also equipped with many useful features, and all of the current picture quality enhancement technologies including HDR (High Dynamic Range) support.
All of this should add up to a very satisfying entertainment experience for most consumers.
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