65" F8000 Update and Lessons Learned
The reason for this post is that even after searching and being involved with high end TV's for many years, I almost never see anything helpful regarding how a TV LOOKS while gaming. Or specifically, how well motion processing works to smooth out the games on an LCD. Almost all data is around latency and for many gamers, myself included, who aren't highly competitive online players, even latency in the 100ms range is acceptable (if not ideal). This goes largely understated when researching TVs and I'm afraid it is turning people away from excellent choices. Namely, the 7150.
So after going through a Sony 4k X9, then a Sammy 7150 (my first Samsung TV ever, they've always been Sony's), I'm now the proud owner of a F8000. I just wanted to post a few thoughts related to tips for gaming and comparisons to the 7150.
Compared to the 7150
The more I use the F8000 the more it impresses me, but honestly, the more it reminds me of how truly impressive the 7150 is. I mentioned before that the 7150 had a tendency to crush blacks, but aside from most purists I don't think it was at a point where it would bother anyone. The payoff is contrast heavy picture that appears much better than the calibration tools would indicate. Whatever tricks Samsung is employing, they mostly work. I found viewing content on the 7150, 2D and 3D to be truly delightful. In fact, coming from the X9 and given the 7150 price point I was expecting a very average experience (as CNET eluded to). Instead, I found the TV to product a beautiful and rich picture for all content (after calibration, of course). The 3D was equally as amazing and despite being very sensitive to flicker, I didn't notice any in the glasses.
After massaging away the awful panel clouding I was left with a great looking screen except for the lower left corner which exhibited major flashlight. Even turning the brightness down to 7 only helped so much. Unless the screen content was quite bright, the flashlight was visible.
Additionally, due to the lack of local dimming, content that was mostly black, appeared quite grey. It was more than obvious this was a well lit LED panel with no dimming efforts. I didn't find this to be distracting with most content, but it still bugged me. I would think that most average customers and even some with discerning taste would be extremely pleased with the 7150. If it had local dimming, it would be as good as it gets.
Of course, that's why we paid for the 8000...
F8000 and Gaming
This TV provides a very similar picture to the 7150. The PQ is a little more natural but the local dimming really helps keep the extra light bleed at bay. I had the Smart LED set on "High" and didn't notice much of a difference between that and standard. However, I DID notice, quite by accident, that turning this down from high to standard drastically improved latency in video games. I can't say how much as I have no way to test it, but "seat of the thumbs" feeling is far snappier. This explains why I thought the 7150 was faster for gaming (I think). Aside from any processor upgrade that was made, the lack of local dimming helped with latency. I never thought that this feature would affect latency, but it does. Not as much as AMP, but still very noticeable. I was happy with the game performance even using my Movie settings with Game mode OFF but the latency did make things feel more sluggish than I'd like.
Now with the SMART LED turned to standard, the controller inputs are noticeably faster. Not nearly as snappy as Game Mode, but anyone who isn't a hyper competitive online gamer will not be bother by this. In fact, I truly feel that leaving AMP on (standard) for gaming vastly improves the gaming experience. 30FPS games suddenly look like 120FPS games, it's astounding how crystal clear everything is and exactly what I was hoping for.
Another note regarding AMP is that I've been playing games with it on "smooth", assuming that was the best setting for the best PQ/least motion blur. My old 2010 Sony HX-800 was set to smooth to achieve the desired PQ effect (it too was a 240hz panel). It had hiccups and sometimes produced nasty artifacts, but I felt the trade-off was worth it. With the F8000 set to smooth, the PQ for motion processing is even better than the Sony (as one would expect after 4 years) but with the same artifacts and higher gaming latency.
So I tried "Standard" for AMP when playing PS4 and I was shocked. All of the AMP benefits were apparent, I can't tell any difference between this and "Smooth" yest almost all of the artificating is gone and the latency is lower. To my eyes there is NO difference AT ALL when gaming, except for the very positive benefit of far less artifacts (almost none).
The conclusion here, is that this is our primary/only TV and it has to do everything right. Since I play a great deal of console games and that's more than half the use of this TV, it MUST provide me with an incredible gaming experience while also providing very good 3D (I'm one of those weirdos that watch a lot of 3D) and PQ for Blu Ray and streaming. I have no broadcast content and the Smart features are not useful to me. I can conclusively say that 1)- This is a fantastic gaming TV as far as PQ is concerned, with the right settings. SMART LED= Standard and AMP= Standard. In fact, it's the best gaming TV I've used to date for PQ. The latency is much lower than I was expecting and that is an enormously pleasant surprise however, very competitive online gamers will probably be better off with one of the newer Sony's if latency is the primary concern and blur reduction isn't important.
For ME, this is hands down everything I've ever wanted in a TV and it excels at gaming- especially power of AMP to be so, so good while also cutting down on artifacts. I can say I'm amazed. The same applies to the 7150 and if I were a consumer who was buying a 2014 TV, the 7150 would be among my first choices. Gaming on that TV is splendid on all ways. The Achilles heel, as it were, is the high probability of corner flashlighting. If you get a decent panel or this doesn't bother you much, the 7150 is THE way to go for a 2014 gaming TV. Then, of course it has all of the other PQ benefits of being a fantastic telly.
However, the F8000 can still be found new online for only a few hundred dollars more, or possibly the same price. The gaming performance is about the same but I believe the latency across the board IS higher. But higher doesn't mean bad. I find it to also be a fantastic gaming TV. After watching it more at night I have noticed that even with local dimming on the bakground black levels aren't as dark as they fist appeared to me. My backlight is set to 10. No educated enthusiast would confuse this with a plasma. Sorry. That being said, the local dimming on the 8000 is stellar. There is some blooming around white objects (like credits) and the system can't quite make everything jet black, but it's close. With the Cinema Black featured enabled (I LOVE this feature) you'll see what real black looks like. There is no panel inconsistencies that I can detect, or clouding. The lower left corner has a hint of a flashlight, but you have to look hard to notice. In my amateur opinion, LED doesn't get much better than this, especially during the day. The Vizio P series may be better at night but it lacks 3D which was an issue for me and I have no idea how well the motion processing works in gaming.
Wow. That was much, much longer than I intended it to be. I was just going to post my gaming settings. Yeah, so for what it's worth put LED and AMP on Standard for the best gaming experience (if not the lowest lag). Get the 8000 if you want an LED that excels at everything. Get the 7150 if you want a 2014 TV. Sounds like the Vizio is a big win for nighttime viewing if you don't have any interest in 3D. Can't speak to gaming, but it can't be better than the 8000.