Samsung PN50C8000 Review - 3D Plasma TV

Model: Samsung PN50C8000
Description: Full HD 1080p 50" Plasma TV 3D TV Compatible
Includes Table Top Stand. Does not include 3D glasses.
Date: Late Summer/Fall 2010

Samsung PN50C8000 Review

I've been reviewing flat screen TVs and specifically plasma TVs since year 2000 when they first entered the market. Back then 95% were used in the commercial display market for board rooms and computer display needs, some were for stores.

I expected great things from the top of the line Samsung plasma C8000 series and what did I get? In a word, satisfaction.

The PN50C8000 represents the top of the line for Samsung's 2010 plasma lineup and includes all the upgrade features such as 3D compatibility, the best picture processors, thin 1.4" depth, great Internet options, and stellar picture quality. See below.

Test and Optimum Viewing Distance: 12 feet

Calibration Notes and Processing Testing: The Samsung PN50C8000 has very complete calibration options including white balance adjustment for Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow in addition to the primary colors. The TV calibrated extremely well with a low error rate after adjusting white balance. With our HQV processor testing, the C8000 passed most tests with good to very good results from both standard definition and HD sources. See those results here. Use the following picture settings to calibrate.

Samsung PN50C8000 Post-Calibration Picture Settings
Picture Mode: CAL-DAY
Cell Light 18
Constrast 92
Brightness 57
Sharpness 0
Color 46
Tint G48/R52
Color tone WARM2
Digital Noise Filter OFF
MPEG Noise Filter OFF
For Complete Samsung PN50C8000 Picture Settings & Calibration Results Click Here

Samsung PN50C8000 Review
We use an X-rite I1 pro meter reader using CalMan software to help with our calibrations. Shown here calibrating Blue.

Picture Quality: The Samsung PN50C8000 displays wonderfully balanced color information and uniformity. Images are presented in a clean and clear manner devoid of artifacts, with colors properly saturated. Colors may seem a slightly washed out and weak at first but further viewing reveals them to be extremely accurate and realistic while plenty saturated. We recommend leaving the Motion Judder Controller feature off due to unintended consequences in taking out natural background blur. However, with this feature off we did note some judder/jerky effects in side to side panning scenes – common with most all TVs due to difficulty in converting 3:2 pulldown. Motion related content was extremely smooth and the TV presents an incredibly film like experience.

Samsung PN50C8000 Review
A shot from the Blu Ray of Alexander shows vivid but realistic color information with great contrast.

Samsung PN50C8000 Review
From the same movie, excellent flesh tones.

Samsung PN50C8000 Review
This shot shows excellent detail, clarity, coloration, and contrast from the standard definition DVD of The Big Labowski.

We were extremely impressed by the solid up conversion and accurate rendition of standard definition programming. We tested the C8000 with several standard definition sources which all revealed excellent processing and a superb picture.

Brightness, contrast, color rendition and processing all appear superior to the lower end Samsung plasma TV models.

Samsung PN50C8000 Review
This and the top of page shot from the 3D Blu Ray of Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs show deep color and contrast from the animated 3D movie. The shots were taken through only one lense of the 3D glasses and so do not show the full 3D effect.

3D TV Viewing: The C8000 and accompanying 3D glasses did a good job of pulling me further into the on screen images. It makes you feel more involved. I thought the picture presentation from the C8000 in 3D was very vibrant and accurate. I did not note out of focus areas near the edges of the screen as I did with the Panasonic VT25. There was some flashing effects from the 3D shutter glasses in situations where lamp light or window light interfered with the glasses receiver (often when turning your head). See our Samsung vs Panasonic 3D TV Shootout.

3D TV Glasses: We liked the optional Samsung 3D glasses for two reasons. First, they look natural like a large pair of sunglasses with their burgundy frames and they are rechargeable.

Samsung PN50C8000 Review

Black Level/Contrast: Blacks appear saturated from the black/purple plasma screen panel. The black bars top and bottom during movies appear inky black. Contrast measured a respectable 1724:1. Details in dark areas of the picture were clearly visible.

Samsung PN50C8000 Review

Viewing angles were perfect at the most extreme side angles with no contrast degradation.

Judder: Judder is always present in TVs, it's just a matter of how much you notice it. It occurs mostly during panning side to side in film based material. The C8000 series plasma has a judder reduction feature called Motion Judder Controller. It comes with several setting levels but they all act about the same. The feature distorts the picture by reducing natural background blur thus presenting an unnatural looking soap opera effect to the picture. We recommend keeping it off for all but maybe sports programming. With this feature turned off, we did note judder in certain film based sequences, but it wasnt any more pronounced than with other TVs and may have been slightly better.

False Contouring/ Mapping: Through viewing many dark gray scenes there was no mapping or false contouring present – an impressive result for an occasional plasma problem.

Internet: Samsung has expanded the Internet lineup on the PN50C8000 to include Yahoo!, Netflix, Blockbuster, twitter, Facebook, USA Today, Pandora, Napster, You Tube, Google Maps, Daily Motion, and Samsung Apps which gives options on gaming and sports and other material. This is an impressive list of Internet options for the C8000 series, probably the most complete in the marketplace. Samsung is adding new options at a faster rate than many TV manufacturers.

3D TV Glasses: The Samsung 3D shutter glasses are battery powered and very comfortable. I also liked the red burgundy color which made them appear more natural and similar to sunglasses. There is a less expensive battery powered option are around $119 and are not rechargeable. The battery has a short life span so if you are planning on watching more than a couple of programs in 3D we recommend the $199 rechargeable glasses.

Samsung PN50C8000 Review
The rechargeable Samsung 3D shutter glasses are charged through the USB out on the TV or a computer.

Design and Appearance: The Samsung PN50C8000 by contrast is a beautiful TV with less than a 2" framing bezel and with many design elements including a clear neck on the chrome swiveling table top stand, a matte dark charcoal metallic finish on the bezel frame, sleek 1.4" depth, and a dark black/purple screen. The heavy and attractive accompanying stand swivels to 20 degrees. Samsung calls the bezel a Touch of Color Titanium.

Samsung PN50C8000 Review

Remote Control/Menu Funtionality: The included remote control is superb with a heavy expensive feel, matte metal chrome finish (no fingerprints), sleek thin design and great layout. Every button also lights up for a second upon depression. The menu system presents itself as an colorful overlay with a convenient tutorial feature appearing in the bottom of the screen. Menu options are very complete.

Samsung PN50C8000 Review

Samsung PN50C8000 Review
The menu system presents itself as an overlay with a convenient tutorial feature appearing in the bottom of the screen. The menu is thorough enough if not a bit tedious to maneuver around.

Audio Output Quality: Audio output was impressive from the 10W X 10W speakers. There was plenty of volume to fill a large room at the 50% level. Use the Clear Voice feature as much as possible for added voice definition. We are a big fan of voice/dialog enhancement features. Music was not great but we felt the sound quality was well balanced. The audio category on this TV could be improved, but is not a weakness either.

Picture Mode Features: P. Mode button controls preset picture mode options Dynamic, Standard, Relax, Movie, Cal-Night, Cal-Day. The last two options are there for calibrated picture settings to be viewed during daylight or times with lots of room light. Obviously, the Cal-Night may use darker backlighting and contrast settings. The calibrated picture settings we recommend above are good for a combination between average and darker light rooms.

If you shop it right you can get a nice package with this TV including the Blu Ray 3D player and 3D glasses. This is important because they can add another $350 and $200 respectively to your purchase. The PN50C8000 costs around $2400 from most big box retailers. But let me be clear that I would absolutely buy this TV even if I had no intention of watching any 3D content. The picture quality is great. Competition comes from the Panasonic TC-P50VT25 and a host of LED TVs with 3D capability but in different size such as the Samsung UN55C8000. Click here to see our 3D TV review shootout comparison between the Samsung PN50C8000 and the Panasonic TC-P50VT25.

Rating scale from 70 (denoting poorest quality) to 100 (signifying the very best quality). Picture quality is double-weighted in the Overall Rating Score calculation.


Review Equipment Used: Sony Blu Ray BDP-S1 High Definition DVD player, Sony DVP-S50 DVD player, Sencore Color Pro 5000, Sencore Auto Cal Pro, Sencore signal generator.

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