Samsung UN55H8000 Curved TV Review

Calibration Notes

All calibrations are done using SpectraCal’s CalMAN software using an i1Pro2 spectrometer and a C6 colorimeter. I target the Rec.709 color gamut that is the HDTV standard and the BT.1886 gamma target. APL 25% patterns are used as they work equally well on an LCD or other technologies and most closely mimic the average picture level of film content. Testing for deinterlacing and chroma resolution are done using Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark Version 2 and the Oppo BDP-103D Blu-ray player.

Pre-calibration the Samsung UN55H8000 is almost perfect when set to movie mode with the gamma at -1. I look for the BT.1886 gamma curve which isn’t supported in any preset but this comes closest. I disable most features but leave the dynamic lighting enabled since I use APL test patterns instead of full-screen that allow for all the LEDs to turn off.

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Pre-Calibration Measurements

As we see, there are no real flaws in the image. The grayscale and gamma are close to our targets. Blue shows a dE2000 error of almost 3.0 at 80% and 90% and that is almost the only color issue you can see. The most impressive thing is the contrast ratio of almost 30,000:1. I use APL patterns, which keeps the level of light constant across test patterns. Because of this, for LED lighting tricks to work they have to be able to dim an area of the screen without turning the lights completely off. It isn’t as accurate as an ANSI contrast would be but it is better than full field.

This is the best contrast ratio from any TV using APL with dimming enabled. By comparison the Vizio 32” M-series measured 52,000:1 using full-field patterns but only 2363:1 using APL patterns. Beacuse of this I can say the Samsung H8000 local dimming works well in creating deep blacks while still allowing highlights.

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Post-Calibration Measurements

Post-calibration the grayscale and gamma are better, but not by enough for the eye to notice. Colors have a lower average error, but a couple of points that measure worse than before calibration and might be visible to the eye. Reducing an error from 1.5 to 1.0 makes no difference, but increasing one from 2.0 to 3.5 might make it be visible. Because of this, I’d suggest not spending the time to calibrate the H8000. It already looks fantastic out of the box and it will save you time and money to not do it. Just buy a copy of Disney’s World of Wonder or Spears & Munsil on Blu-ray to set the contrast and brightness and enjoy the image.

Aside from the 1080i issue I found watching football, I didn’t have any other issues on the H8000. Chroma resolution is maintained, which Samsung has always been good with. With a full white pattern on the screen I can see a bit of lighting uniformity creep in around the edges. They dim slightly and you can see this with bright content, such as a blue sky, on the screen. On darker content you cannot notice it, but it is there.

If you are going to play games on the Samsung UN55H8000, make sure to turn on game mode. Your picture quality will suffer a bit, but it drops the processing lag from 124ms down to a reasonable 44ms when measured with the LeoBodnar lag tester. That is a full 5 frames faster on your usual 60 frames-per-second console title. It still is slower than some displays but much better than not turning it on.

The objective performance of the Samsung H8000 is incredibly good. I’d write more, but when you can’t pick anything apart there isn’t more to say. The input lag without game mode and the 1080i bug are the only things I find fault with.

Calibration Summary
Measurement Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Contrast Ratio: 29,565:1 29,187:1
White Level: 36.8 fL 36.7 fL
Black Level: 0.0012 fL 0.0013 fL
Gamma Point: 2.40 2.40
Average Grayscale dE2000: 1.35 0.84
Average Saturations dE2000: 1.55 1.13
Average Color Checker dE2000: 1.57 1.35
Summary: The Samsung UN55H8000 is incredibly accurate out-of-the-box in Movie mode and calibration does very little to improve upon that. You can use the 2-point white balance to get the grayscale to be a little more accurate, but beyond that nothing is needed. Even with no calibration the image is reference-quality from the H8000.