Thoughts on Samsung f8500 vs Pioneer KRP-500m
I've just gotten my new 50" f8500 to replace my D-Nice calibrated KRP-500m (which is for sale very cheaply in the classified section), and the differences between them are interesting.
First, the f8500 is bright. Almost blindingly bright, even in scenes with a high APL.
The Kuro certainly got plenty bright at it's peak (40 or 50ftl in ISF Day, I think), but it would dim dramatically during bright scenes. The difference was especially noticeable in video content and movies shot in 1.78:1 aspect, since they fill the screen.
The dimness of plasmas has bothered me since they made the switch to 1080p. Until now, I'd never seen a 1080p panel that could come close to the blazing brightness of the old 720p and ED plasmas. I'm glad to see that it's back.
Stability of Images
This was always my major issue with the 500m. The dithering was extremely noticeable, even from halfway across the room. It looked like ants were crawling around on the screen. This must be one of those things that some people can see more than others, because it's always been immediately obvious to me when viewing any Kuro set. Luckily, the Samsung is much better, at least for stills or images without much movement. I can still see a little bit of dithering noise, especially if I get closer to the screen, but it's much improved over the Pioneer.
In motion, however, I see what look like noisy trails behind objects on the Samsung. In movies this isn't really an issue, but it's pretty obvious on 60fps content like video games. Maybe it's just something that I'll get accustomed to and stop seeing, like plasma phosphor trails.
When it comes to black levels, the Kuro is far superior to the f8500. I didn't expect this to be so noticeable. When the lights are on or there's some bright content on screen it isn't noticeable, but in darker scenes it's obvious. I didn't realize how much I'd been spoiled by the Kuro! The blacks are also a good bit noisier on the Samsung. While overall I find the Samsung to have a far cleaner picture, the darkest parts of the image are clearly noisier.
The Kuro's color was essentially perfect, but during brighter scenes because the panel would dim, colors sometimes appeared to be a little muted. This is not an issue with the Samung. Colors pop regardless of how bright the image is. I haven't had the Samsung calibrated yet, but it looks pretty accurate to my eyes. Certainly it's a good starting point.
I've never thought of myself as someone who was sensitive to input lag on TVs, but boy, it's truly awful on the Samsung. When I feed sound directly to my AVR, lip sync is WAY off. I can adjust the audio delay and make this a non-issue for recorded content, but playing games is going to be tough. I haven't explored the GAME or PC modes, but I'm hesitant to accept the picture quality tradeoffs that those modes presumably bring. Especially since I use my Playstation 3 as my blu ray player, so I can't segregate the video games on a different input with different settings.