Samsung PN59D8000 Price

Samsung PN59D8000 Review - 3D Plasma TV

Description: Samsung PN59D8000, 59" 1080p, Plasma 3D TV
Dimensions: 58.6" X 38.6" X 1.5" Depth
Stand Depth: 13.8"
Date: Late Summer 2011

Samsung PN59D8000 Review
A shot of Robert Redford in The Sting shows how much detail the D8000 offers even from a streamed Netflix movie (likely at 720p)


Samsung's C8000 series plasma was our favorite TV last year, hands down. We were the first company to review a plasma TV way back in year 2000 and last year's C8000 series was one of the best pictures we have seen since the Pioneer Kuro. The entire office was blown away by it's performance, picture quality and overall good looks. In 2011 one of Samsung's theme for plasmas is "+1", by making the bezel even thinner they are adding 1 diagonal inch to every size of plasma, 59 replaces 58, 64 replaces 63 and so on. With the smaller bezel the physical size of the TV remains the same even though the screen is larger.

The PN59D8000 represents the top of the line for Samsung's 2011 Plasma lineup.

HD Picture Quality: 9/10

As mentioned this was our top rated TV from last year with an overall rating of 9.45/10. Unfortunately, Samsung did make a few changes that hurt the picture quality slightly. The reason for that appears to be energy consumption. A yellow sticker on the TV touts the dollar usage per year at $35 per year. I think I would rather pay an extra dollar a month to get better brightness. As you know, plasma TVs use more power to produce white and light colors. The D8000 has lost some of it's light output and brightness from last year. This did not vary much even when toggling up the contrast settting to peak and the cell light control to peak. While Panasonic also throttled back energy consumption on their top end plasma TVs, we were able to circumvent this by strong color push in the 10 point white balance control menu. Only the top end Samsung's get the Real Black Drive filter which does a great job of reducing external reflected light. It takes the light in, but doesnt let it back out thus reducing glare.

Samsung PN59D8000 Review
Another shot from The Sting shows great color saturation in the D8000. The TV present a theater-like picture quality

Contrast: In the D8000 the 10 point white balance controls are much more restricted. The end result in the D8000 is a post calibration checkerboard contrast ratio measurement of about half of last year's (around 850:1). Black levels remain very saturated and black.

All of that stated, this is still one of the best pictures we will see this year and probably the most film-like. There is a smooth calm precision to the picture on these high end Samsung plasma TVs that just cant be matched by LED-LCD TVs. That's the case with the D8000 picture. Colors are accurate and black levels are extremely deep. The Samsung PN59D8000 displays wonderfully balanced color information and uniformity. Images are presented in a clean and clear manner devoid of artifacts, with colors properly saturated.

Standard Definition Picture Quality: 9/10

Of course Samsung puts their top end processor in the D8000 so up conversion from lower resolution signals is smooth and well done. Picture quality is excellent from lower resolution sources. We still recommend turning off the Motion Judder Controller especially for standard definition programming where natural background blur is more important.

Samsung PN59D8000 Review
A shot from Four Weddings and a Funeral shows both an excellent picture with Standard Definition images and how the real black filter works to reduce glare and absorb ambient room light

3D TV Viewing: One of the biggest improvements from last years C8000 is the 3D viewing quality which is drastically improved. There was no notable flashing from the glasses or blurring in the bottom left and right corners of the picture as there was last year. Instead the experience was enjoyable and more engrossing without the negatives. We also experienced much less eye fatige this time around.

Samsung PN59D8000 Review
A crisp shot from the 3D Blu Ray of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

3D TV Glasses This years glasses are much more comfortable and lighter. They contain a lithium ion battery, which of course will have to be replaced from time to time. They are not rechargeable like last years models via USB input.

Samsung PN59D8000 Review
3D Glasses for the Samsung D8000 series (SSD-3100GB)

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

Features Rating: 9.5

Samsung PN59D8000 Review

Internet: First off, Wifi is built in on the D8000 plasma which saves having to purchase and extra Wifi dongle. Samsung has expanded the Internet lineup on the PN59D8000 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. There is also a full web browser (along with the keyboard QWERTY remote) which is an upgrade over the D7000 series. Samsung has more Apps in its "Smart Hub or Smart TV" Internet suite than any other manufacturer. The two most popular, Texas Holdem and Sudoku are free, but many of the Apps unfortunately are worth about what you pay for them, between .99 and $2.99 each.

The D8000 is also Skype capable, but the Freetalk Samsung Skype Camera Kit is sold seperately and as of this writing we could only find one for sale on Amazon for $149.

Samsung PN59D8000 Review

Appearance: The new slimmer bezel and the dark silver matte metal finish (Samsung calls the color Titan Black) combine to give this TV ultra expensive airs. It looks much darker in person than it does in the pictures. It's one of the best looking TVs in the market for 2011. Depth is super thin at just over an inch. Another change is the table top stand which this year is the chrome quadrapod 4 -legged cool dude. We like it. It's something unique and different and its functionally sound.

Remote Control/Menu Funtionality: The new blue opaque overlay menu system is much faster and easier to use than last years. Samsung has done a good job of simplifying and going for function over form with this years D8000. There is a text description out to the right of each highlighted setting to explain it. There are a slew of picture modes – most of which we recommend leaving off. There are even 5 different sound mode options.

The included remote control is a black rectangle - traditional clicker on top side and Qwerty keyboard on bottom side and is one of the big upgrades over the D7000 plasma. One nifty feature of the remote is that the D8000 can sense which side of the remote is face up, preventing accidental keyboard strokes. The Qwerty keyboard takes a little getting used to but if you can type on a Blackberry, this keyboard will not present a problem and it's certainly faster for search function than the 5-way controller on the clicker side. Unfortunately, it is not backlit.

Samsung PN59D8000 Review

Audio Output Quality: Sound quality is much better on this 1.5" plasma than on similar depth LED-LCD TVs – even Samsungs. Why, I have no idea. The 15W X 15W speakers deliver a richer, fuller sound than most TVs these days. There was plenty of volume to fill a large room at the 50% level. We've always like the Clear Voice feature in the past.

see Value Rating and Overall Score on Page 2