Samsung 55in. UN55B8000 LED HDTV - Viewing Angle and Widgets

Article Index
Samsung 55in. UN55B8000 LED HDTV
Specifications and First Look
Subjective and Objective Tests
Viewing Angle and Widgets

Viewing Angle:

While some panels - both in LCD monitors and TVs have issues keeping color uniform when viewing from different angles, the viewing angle on the UN55B8000 seems to be pretty impressive although I can't find any solid specifications on the internet.  While that may be questionable, we took images from a pretty steep angle and were able to view the TV in any part of the room without issues.  The viewing angle seems to be very good.  While many other displays I've used do indeed produce some sort of picture at these angles, the quality of the image is less than ideal.

Sharp Angle
Sharp Angle
Halo3
Halo 3 Straight On

 

 

As you can see by checking out the images above, the viewing angle stays pretty consistent until it gets pretty extreme.  At roughly 120° the picture starts to wash out. Overall it has very friendly wide-angle viewing area.  I had no issues watching TV from any seat in my living room.  The only issue with the screen is the amount of glare it picks up.  The screen finish is very glossy and while this looks pretty, it does catch a lot of light in the daytime.

 

Media2.0 & Widgets:

While you can't surf the web simply by plugging it into the network, you can do a lot of media streaming thanks to the DLNA and USB connectivity.  You can play many file formats off of a flash drive as well as stream them over the network.  This seems to work quite well, and while it certainly is no Patriot Box Office, it provides basic media functionality.

Yahoo Widgets are the add-on that I'm probably the most impressed with on this TV.  You can quickly call up the widgets with a simple button push on your remote control and then browse the standard, news, Flickr, weather, YouTube, etc. or install different widgets by browsing them through the interface.   Scrolling through the widgets isn't as smooth of an experience as it could be as the scrolling motion is not super fluid, but overall the experience is quite good.

Yahoo News
Yahoo News
Yahoo Weather
Yahoo Weather
   
Youtube
YouTube
Flickr Explore
Flickr Explore

 

While the widgets aren't perfect they add some nice bonus features to your TV.  You can log into any of your connected accounts such as Flickr and YouTube and browse your content - not just random content.  The only downside to this is entering account information via a standard remote control.  It is not fast, but it works alright.  If you've got a connected HTPC, you'll be much happier with that solution, but for those of you that don't want another computer in your house, the UN55B8000 adds some nice functionality without adding yet another device to your living room.

 

Conclusion:

Bigger is better when it comes to TVs and the more I use 50"+ units, the more I like them.  The 55" LED lit LCD TV from Samsung is a nice improvement over traditional CCFL lit LCDs and the color setup and lighting uniformity on this unit is very good.  The UN55B8000 has a great feature set, tons of HDMI inputs and superb picture quality.  Video played back from HD Satellite TV, Blu-Ray movies and even older HD DVDs is stunning.  Even when up-scaling DVD movies, the Wii and SDTV, the picture quality is very acceptable as this unit does a much better job that I thought it would.  I rather enjoyed surfing the web as well as playing a fair bit of Xbox 360 on this TV and was never let down by "ghosting" due to a poor refresh rate.  Unlike many TVs that come with boosted and over-saturated color, this unit was setup almost perfect it terms of color accuracy.  That is great news for those of you that want to view TV, pictures and other video as it was intended.

 

Pros:

  • 240Hz Auto Motion Plus for smooth playback
  • Good contrast ratio - blacks are very black
  • Thin panel and lots of HDMI inputs
  • Accurate color out of the box
  • Widgets allows rich (albeit limited) internet media without a HTPC
  • Main UHF remote control
  • Secondary "Pebble" IR remote for volume and channel selection

 

Cons:

  • Widgets are a little sluggish
  • Only one set of component inputs

 

 BCCRating

 Gold

 

I'd like to thank Samsung Canada for sending out this TV for us to review.  I enjoyed watching some great hockey and Olympics Coverage on this unit and my kids enjoyed their games even more than usual.  If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.