I don't visit here much and am an infrequent poster, but I wanted to give you all my impressions of the 55" F8000 set I saw at the Value Electronics shootout; I attended and got to vote. I DO NOT WORK FOR OR SELL ANY OF THESE COMPANY'S PRODUCTS
; this is just my opinion.
Here are the results: http://tc-p65zt60.com/uploads/VE_2013_Shootout_Results.pdf
As a disclosure, I went to this event fully expecting to walk out with a ZT60 because of everything I've read on these forums and others. After the event, I think the ZT60 was the third-worst TV there (ahead of the WT60 total disaster and the lousy Sony 4k model).
Honestly, I thought the LED F8000 was the best looking TV out of all of them. It clearly had worse black levels than the plasmas, but had much better black levels than either the Sony or Panasonic sets. Both the Sony and Panasonic LED sets were absolute garbage in comparison to the Samsung across the board, so much so that the WT60 was a running joke amongst everyone; yes the Sony was a 4k TV but it didn't make any difference, still bad, and both of these after what would cost a consumer $500 to calibrate their set. The experts even used $10,000 meters to do the calibration, so I'm sure they did it right.
Everyone there (including the experts) had a bias in favor of Plasma TVs (some for good reasons), but I convinced some of them that the LED Samsung was better at least in some respects. I learned from the experts there the reason why the LED looked better to me: an LCD has a static gamma (in this case 2.4 as per the calibration) whereas plasmas by design have dynamic gamma; according to the experts, the gamma can vary from the high 1.x's to the high 2.x's. When playing Dark Knight, ALL of the plasmas were crushing black detail. There was a good amount of very dark detail lost on all the plasmas that showed up just fine on the Samsung LED. Granted, the black levels were noticably more "grey" than the plasmas (not by a huge amount), but the overall picture just looked better to me on the Samsung LED. Color accuracy was better on the Samsung LED to the point where it was the only TV that matched or surpassed the Kuro in color fidelity; I even emailed Robert about that to say that the color accuracy scores for the Samsung LED were far lower than they should have been - easily a 9...I may have given it a 10. The Samsung LED did very well in the artificial tests (spears & munsen, a custom disc by David Mackenzie), then they put on a basketball game in between tests. I pointed out to everyone around me that the Samsung LED looked the best by far in this scenario, and I didn't hear any objections.
Overall, if you're watching movies in a pitch-black room, the Samsung F8500 plasma is probably the TV to get. Anything other than near-perfect darkness and the Samsung LED is best. Oh and they went over the user interface of all the TVs, and...holy crap the Samsung's is so slick, colorful, and pretty! Not really all that important, but a nice feather in our cap if you buy one.
The Panasonic plasmas had an annoying flicker on some content that drove me and a guy sitting next to me absolutely crazy; the TVs were unwatchable. The Samsung plasma did not have such an issue. The ZT60 was the worst of the 3 because it had a max light output of 30 fL, the VT60 had a max of 40 fL, and the Samsung had a max of 67 fL. In a bright room, neither panasonic plasma was more than decent. The ZT60 and VT60 had identical black levels according to the experts there (they measured them at 0.0013 or something along those lines). The Samsung's black levels were ever so slightly greyer, but without TVs in a bitch black room AND right next to each other, you'd never tell the difference. In addition, if you look at very dark content up close on a plasma, it has a fuzziness to it; this was clear on every plasma there. This was important to me because I'll only be sitting 6 feet or so from the TV, so that's not acceptable in my environment.
The motion performance of the plasmas was better than the Samsung LED only with interlaced content, so if that's important to you, you should go for the Samsung plasma. Note I'm comparing with 240hz enabled on the Samsung LED.
Just my opinion, obviously, but I spent 5 hours there looking over 7 sets sitting right next to each other all of which were calibrated by the best guys in the industry, so I think I'm on very good footing. I disagree with most of the final scores; I shouldn't have told Robert I agreed with most of them...I was trying to be nice and not belittle his event which was a GREAT EVENT! If you can make it to Scarsdale, NY next year, GO! Robert is an amazing guy to deal with and he knows all the best guys in the industry including all the best engineers at Panasonic and Samsung, so he can offer insight that no one else can.
Here's my list in order of awesomeness (1 is best, 7 is worst):
- Samsung LED
- Samsung Plasma
- Pioneer Kuro
- Sony 4k LED
- Panasonic WT60 <-- one of the worst TVs I've ever seen