Samsung PN64E8000 64in. Plasma Smart TV - TV Testing And Final Thoughts

Article Index
Samsung PN64E8000 64in. Plasma Smart TV
Closer Look and Features
PN64E8000 Specifications
TV Menus and Features
TV Testing And Final Thoughts

A Word About Testing:

In everything we try to be fair, accurate and as objective as possible when it comes to testing hardware.  In the past, LCD reviews were done completely subjectively, but we have purchased some equipment that takes some of this out of the equation.  Take a look at our LCD Testing methodology over here to get a better idea of how we test LCDs.

Color Accuracy:

We started things off by breaking out the LCD Spyder and finding out how well this unit is set up and how well it produces accurate color.  We did this using the HDMI/DVI connection.

Uncalibrated
Uncalibrated

Correction
Correction

Calibrated
Calibrated

As you can see above, the default color profile wandered a bit from "accurate".  Once the test is done, you can choose before and after comparisons, and there was a noticeable difference.  The calibrated settings were slightly "warmer".  The biggest thing that had to be done to properly calibrate this display was to turn down the brightness to 49%.  This met the required 200 Candela brightness requirement.

 

Contrast Ration & Uniformity:

With the display now showing "perfect", we proceeded to take our contrast readings.  With the display calibrated we set out to find the "real" contrast ratio of the PNE648000.  The real contrast ratio of this TV is 718:1 as the black spot is very black indeed.

The contrast ratio of this TV is pretty decent, and even with Dynamic Contrast enabled we are seeing some pretty high ratios when displaying full black, then full white screen on the TV.  I realize that the maximum luminance could have been a lot higher, but when we test LCDs we make sure that they are calibrated properly and then give you the results that you will see when using them - not the maximum "theoretical" numbers.

We use our luminance meter in a dark environment to measure brightness uniformity.  To measure brightness, we use a bright white screen and measure across the screen in a grid to get our readings.  The brightest spot is considered to be 100% and the blackest point (with a black screen) is considered to be reference 0%.  The other values are obtained by calculating the difference between the two.  The screen is often brightest near the center.

3D Chart
3D View

2D Lighting Uniformity
2D Lighting Uniformity

As you can see the backlight drops off in certain areas of the display, but remains fairly consistent with less than 11% variation across the 64-inch panel.  This is extremely good - even if it isn't as bright as LED TVs. 

 

Conclusion:

If you've listened to Weekly Tech Update, you already know what I personally think of 3D TV.  I think that 3D is over-rated.  We did play around with the 3D up-converting feature as well as by playing original 3D content - and it's still pretty much the same as it's always been - promising, but more of a gimmick than something really useful.  While I do appreciate the effect and that the effect is actually very good, the problem currently lies in implementation.  It requires active glasses in order to make it work best with full resolution.  Glasses have come down in price - as Samsung includes two sets with this TV, but they feel cheap and don't have any charging capabilities.  I'm sure they would be used, but once the batteries ran dead, most people would probably forget about them instead of replacing the $2.00 battery.

That being said, I can't let personal preference and bias affect my overall view of the PN64E8000 TV.  The reality is that this TV is very functional and has a lot of features and internet related content that works well - even if you don't have it hooked up to a cable or satellite.  The SmartHub is well done and with a decent internet connection (either through built-in wireless or the Ethernet connection) there is a lot to do.  If you run out of things to do, the Samsung Apps can give you more ways to enjoy your TV.

If you don't have broadband internet or a robust home network, many of this TVs features will be lost on you.  Hulu, Yahoo Widgets, YouTube, Samsung Apps and more all require a decent internet connection to fully appreciate what the 8000 Series can do for you.  

Voice Control and Gestures are a nice touch and while they are a bit of a gimmick to control your TV, it does make the second remote actually useful.  The IR Blaster helps as well to unify the viewing and control experience in your living room.  I do wish that I could keep this unit at my home, or in my office to keep on enjoying games, media and movies.  It really is a decent product - even though the Plasma display isn't near as bright as an LED-lit LCD TV.

Pros:

  • Smart Touch Remote
  • Gestures
  • Skype-capable camera
  • Up-converts 2D to 3D well
  • Full network media support
  • Apps, Widgets and Smart Hub with Family Story and Kids sections
  • Very good image quality 
  • Fast, non-laggy menus
  • Two remotes

 

Cons:

  • No VGA connection
  • 3D Glasses are really cheap
  • Plasma brightness feels a little weak

 

Silver

I'd like to thank Samsung for sending us this TV for the review.  It was interesting and fun to talk to my TV - and not actually be crazy.  It will be hard going back to a smaller screen for my Xbox gaming.  If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the forum at the link below.