Review: Samsung 8000 and 9000 Series LED TVs
It's an LED stairway to video heaven as we compare Samsung's pricey 9000 Series and value-minded 8000 Series TVs, with some surprising results.
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October 21, 2010 by Robert Archer
We concluded our evaluation with AIX Records’ Goldberg Variations Acoustica 3D Blu-ray concert disc. We saw nice deep blacks, detailed wood grain in the hardwood floor and upright bass, and a truly 3D image that showcased the distance and depth of the musicians’ stands and the microphone placement that AIX Records used to record this intimate performance.

Samsung 9000 Series performance
Before we began our 9000 Series evaluation we selected the TV’s “natural mode” and then calibrated the brightness, contrast and color levels to the same values as the 8000 Series.

The first thing we noted was that the 9000 TV isn’t as bright overall as the 8000 unit, and little difference appeared near the LED-lit edges. With that said we started with Cars and we were impressed with the image; it was still bright and colorful, but it looked slightly softer than the “aggressive” image the 8000 Series produced. As Arlen noted, that could actually be preferred by viewers whose eyes may feel fatigued by the 8000.

Once we popped in Patton, we agreed that the differences between the two televisions were less noticeable and perhaps a case could be made that the 9000’s colors were a bit more “inky” looking than the 8000’s. A case could also be made that the 9000’s colors may have been slightly more accurate with primaries like red, green and blue.
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On The Matrix, the grayscale differences were more noticeable, with some loss of detail in the dimly lit alley shown and in the room in which the police were holding Trinity.

Finishing with the Goldberg Variations Acoustica 3D disc, the brightness difference also became an issue as the 9000 lost some depth and detail. Despite the loss of depth and detail, the 9000 produced less “ghosting” noise with the 3D content when compared with the 8000 Series for an advantage there, Arlen commented.

As for the auto brightness, we turned it on with both sets at the end of each viewing session—it’s very sensitive to the room lighting, almost to the point where we felt like someone was messing with the remote control because the image brightened and dimmed as conditions changed or people moved about.

Conclusion
I thought the 8000 produced a slightly better picture than the 9000 Series. Some of those differences will vary based on content, and other factors such as room conditions and calibration, but to me it comes down to the local dimming and pure horsepower of the 8000’s light engine.

Throw in price, and the ability to produce a high-quality picture in a variety of room environments and the case gets stronger for the 8000 Series. Those concerned with style, however, may prefer the 9000 with its super-slim depth, but aesthetically, both televisions are stunners.

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Robert Archer - Senior Editor, CE Pro
Bob is a dedicated audiophile who has been writing about A/V for Electronic House sister publication CE Pro since 2000.

Specs, Pros and Cons

9000 Series
Specs:
43.4 x 26.6 x 0.31 inches
48.5 pounds (with stand)
HDMI 1.4, component, PC, Ethernet, USB inputs
Edge-lit LED
$5,999

Pros:
Slim profile for wall mounting
Attractive brushed metal bezel
Quality picture; built-in 3D capabilities

Cons:
Image is slightly soft
Slight loss of grayscale detail
Expensive

8000 Series
Specs:
42.9 x 26.1 x 0.9 inches
42.3 pounds (with stand)
Brushed titanium bezel
HDMI 1.4, component, PC, Ethernet, USB inputs
Energy consumption 92 watts (on), 0.1 watt (sleep)
Full backlit LED
$2,799

Pros:
Bright images with lots of depth
Vivid color palette
Full LED backlighting

Cons:
Image may be too “aggressive” for some people
$2,800 is still lot to spend for a 46-inch TV


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