Samsung F8500 Plasma HDTV: Deepest Blacks, Bright as LCD, Upgradeable - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Plasma is alive and kicking! That was the word from Samsung as it announced the pricing and availability of its 2013 HDTV and UHDTV lineup at an event held in NYC's Museum of American Finance. Eli Manning, Kate Upton, and Flo Rida were on hand to introduce the new Samsung Smart TV lineup, but in my humble opinion, the new F8500 plasma was the real star of the show. Samsung claims the F8500 renders 400% deeper blacks with a 250% increase in brightness versus plasma panels from previous generations. I had a chance to take a good look at several 64" F8500 HDTV sets, I scrutinized the demo material, and I asked some tough questions about the future of plasma.


Samsung 64" F8500 Plasma HDTV - Photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger


Flo Rida, Kate Upton, and Eli Manning endorsed "Smart TV" by Samsung
Photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger


Samsung's reps were knowledgeable and well versed in the technologies on display. I wanted to know if the F8500 represented a "last hurrah" or a commitment by Samsung to continue developing the technology. The answer is an emphatic "plasma is here to stay"—Samsung will continue to design and build plasma HDTVs. The logic seems hard to argue with, because plasma technology appeals to two audiences: shoppers who want maximum screen real estate per dollar in a flat panel, and the videophile who wants maximum quality. The F8500's raison d'etre is to make videophiles happy. With an MSRP of $3,699 for a 64" unit, the F8500 is not exactly a "budget" TV, but its features put it in the category of a "halo" product without the "halo" pricing, allowing Samsung to claim leadership in image quality with a product that is relatively affordable.

Samsung's newest plasma HDTV rests within a "one body form" bezel crafted from a single piece of metal, giving the whole unit a premium look and feel. That perception carries over to the screen, which is the star of the show. Samsung says, "The F8500 delivers the same brightness and eight times the black levels as standard LED TVs"— a statement I am tempted to agree with. The press event was flooded with ambient daylight, yet the F8500s on display looked every bit as bright and contrasty as their F8000 LED brethren. Looking at an F8500 in a darkened corner, flanked by a Panasonic plasma and a Sharp LCD, Samsung's technical achievement was much easier to see.


F8500 "One Body Form" bezel - Photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger

"Black is black" is an inaccurate statement – there is no pure black, just darker shades of gray. The F8500's black reproduction stood out for several reasons: It is not limited to dark rooms, it is more tone-neutral than screens I have seen in the past, and it passes the "Is the TV on or off?" test. Samsung calls its technology "proprietary Deep Black Algorithm and Real Black Pro II"—I call it impressive. Real Black Pro II is a carbon-nano coating that absorbs ambient light, making the blacks blacker, even in brighter spaces. At the same time, the added brightness touted by Samsung is the result of efforts to make the sub-pixel walls in the plasma cells thinner, allowing each cell to hold more phosphor. An added benefit to this approach is improved brightness, which does not come at the expense of energy efficiency; I was surprised to find that the demo unit was not emitting any noticeable heat.

There is more to Samsung's latest high-end TV sets than improved image quality. The F8500 plasma series is compatible with Samsung's "Smart Evolution" upgrade kit, which guarantees four years of updates (from the date of manufacture) to the TV's core functions, including image processing, smart applications, and inputs. The Smart Evolution kit costs $299, with a new kit released on an annual basis.


Samsung 2013 "Smart Evolution Kit" - Photo ©2013 by Mark Henninger

Inside the Smart Evolution Kit is the brains behind the new TV sets: "Smart TV," now in its sixth generation. As Samsung describes it:

• A redesigned Samsung Smart Hub that offers five dynamic menu panels to help consumers manage and navigate different types of content.
• With S-Recommendation, consumers can easily find the content they want—whether on TV or via premium VOD services—thanks to personalized recommendations based on their viewing habits over time.
• A quad-core CPU enables quick app launching, web browsing, and multi-tasking.
• Smart View lets consumers move content seamlessly from the TV to connected devices and back in real time.
• Advanced Smart Interaction allows consumers to use everyday language and casual gestures to control the TV.


The fact is, no other currently available flat-panel HDTV technology offers as much value as plasma. At the same time, plasma remains the critical favorite for image quality and dark-room movie viewing. This latest iteration of plasma technology suffered no image retention, the TV itself felt cool to the touch, and thanks to the Smart Evolution Kit, there is an upgrade path to keep up with new features.

Samsung's F8500 plasma HDTV line will be available in late March 2013 and carry the following MSRPs:

F8500 64" - $3,699
F8500 60" - $3,199
F8500 50" - $2,199

I have been a certified plasma skeptic in the past, but it was clear to me that Samsung breathed new life into the plasma segment by introducing a panel with such exceptional image quality. The F8500 is compatible with full-HD 1080p 3D and features Cinema Smooth Plus for the best compatibility with 24p sources. The absolute highlight is the black level sported by this plasma panel—deeper than what I've seen before—and grays that are more neutral in appearance. This HDTV opened my eyes to how great plasma can look, circa 2013.
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post #2 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 09:06 AM
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Active 3D, I presume?

How about 24 fps content, can it display at, say, 72 or 96 without pulldown?

Looks very tempting. The claim about its brightness got my attention, since I prefer to not draw the blinds in my HT during the day. I wonder how its blacks compare to the new Panasonics?
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post #3 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 09:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fritzi93 View Post

Active 3D, I presume?

How about 24 fps content, can it display at, say, 72 or 96 without pulldown?

Looks very tempting. The claim about its brightness got my attention, since I prefer to not draw the blinds in my HT during the day. I wonder how its blacks compare to the new Panasonics?

The F8500 features "Full HD 1080P" active 3D and the set comes with two pairs of glasses. Also, yes it has 24p friendly refresh rates:

Cinema Smooth Plus™
"Cinema smooth adjusts the frame rate of the panel for displaying 24fps source movies on Blu-ray Disc®, dedicated 24p cable and satellite channels at this native frame rate."

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post #4 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post

The F8500 features "Full HD 1080P" active 3D and the set comes with two pairs of glasses. Also, yes it has 24p friendly refresh rates:

Cinema Smooth Plus™
"Cinema smooth adjusts the frame rate of the panel for displaying 24fps source movies on Blu-ray Disc®, dedicated 24p cable and satellite channels at this native frame rate."

Is this the same Cinema Smooth on the other TVs? IE 96hz refresh rate?

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #5 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Is this the same Cinema Smooth on the other TVs? IE 96hz refresh rate?

The subfield drive is still 600Hz so that's likely; until the manual (or a better spec sheet) becomes available, I cannot answer that question with absolute certainty—it's not clear what the "plus" refers to.

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post #6 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 12:06 PM
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I would really like to hear how the blacks compare to the new panasonics more!

Samsung has always seemed to have brighter, more vibrant colors so this could be one heck of a display.
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Trying to enjoy the simple things in life.

 

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post #7 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 12:16 PM
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So this might be crazy, but is anyone else worried about having a whole bunch of carbon nano tubes within their house, even if they are "sealed" within the screen (they are, right??)? CNT's are scary things. Think billions of razor sharp fibers small enough to cross the blood brain barrier. I just wonder how well they can really be contained (bonded to a surface) while being heated over the course of several years. What if you knock the TV over and crack the screen?

From Wikipedia:

"...research and business communities continue to invest heavily in carbon nanotubes for a wide range of products under the assumption that they are no more hazardous than graphite. Our results suggest the need for further research and great caution before introducing such products into the market if long-term harm is to be avoided.[72]"

I realize we are talking minimal exposure in the vast majority of cases, and I am not trying to troll, but carbon nano-fibers creep me out. frown.gif
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post #8 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 12:37 PM
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Mark - Thank you for this. You made my decision to sell my almost 1 year old PN51D8000 that much easier. Now, if I can only figure out how to do it without my wife killing me. :- )

Samsung 64' F8500
Onkyo NR809 (Main)
PS4
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7.2 System with Cambridge Soundworks MC300IW (left, center,right)/Monoprice 8inch in-wall speakers(wides), JBL AESS5-WH (surround)
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Bic 12' Subwoofer
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post #9 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 12:43 PM
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This is what I'll buy in about a year when the F8600 or F9000 or whatever they call it comes out. My current TV is fine, but when the price drops on this one, I'm in. biggrin.gif
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post #10 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 04:32 PM
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I bought a D series and then had multiple repairs. Sammy wanted another shot at it, but I said, no give me a new set. So they did; an E series. That was about 4 months ago and although I love it, I want to sell it for one of these bad mamajamas. I am torn.

^ remember, msrp is higher than retail price

THE ALL MIGHTY MACACASIAH HAS SPOKEN!
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post #11 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by JonThor View Post

This is what I'll buy in about a year when the F8600 or F9000 or whatever they call it comes out. My current TV is fine, but when the price drops on this one, I'm in. biggrin.gif

Actually, next year's models will be "G" plus a number. Samsung's current model-numbering convention uses a letter to designate the year. That gives them another 20 years with this numbering scheme, so they'll have to come up with a new one in 2033.

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post #12 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 06:24 PM
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No 75" screen? It sounds like a great display but needs to be larger. Bummer.
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post #13 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 06:30 PM
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I don't see any cr specs. I see marketing speak but no specs.
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post #14 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 07:50 PM
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Whether Samsung or Panasonic - just glad there is a forward path with plasma televisions still going on. I sit in that minority that absolutely hates the LCD soap opera effect and would never consider an LCD or variant. - Plasma first and always for me.

Perhaps one day the makers will realize they should put the "smart" part of the TV in a small box on the back that can be exchanged or upgraded rather than an entire TV or depends on networked downloads of apps that may not be as useful as one would hope.
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post #15 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Phrehdd View Post

Whether Samsung or Panasonic - just glad there is a forward path with plasma televisions still going on. I sit in that minority that absolutely hates the LCD soap opera effect and would never consider an LCD or variant. - Plasma first and always for me.

Perhaps one day the makers will realize they should put the "smart" part of the TV in a small box on the back that can be exchanged or upgraded rather than an entire TV or depends on networked downloads of apps that may not be as useful as one would hope.

You do realize this TV has that exact feature?

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post #16 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 08:00 PM
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I wonder how this compares to the Panasonic ZT series plasmas
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post #17 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 08:18 PM
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Great write up. Thanks!
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post #18 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 08:42 PM
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You do realize this TV has that exact feature?
As does the 2012 E series.

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post #19 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 08:48 PM
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I wonder how this compares to the Panasonic ZT series plasmas
According to the first impressions at CES the Sammy is superior; a true leap forward in technical acheivement and almost on par with OLED at a fraction of the price.

Considering that Panny plasma sales were far below projections last year, I think this TV was a huge blow to them and may be part of the reason they are exiting the plasma game if the rumors are true. A new champion has been crowned.

Hey Mark, do you have any shots of the F8500 next to the Sharp and Panny? I know pictures will not do it justice, but I am very curious to see.

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post #20 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 09:21 PM
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This definitely has my interest that's for sure. Between this and Panny's ZT it looks like has a couple great options to choose from for a high end plasma. I'm a Kuro owner, in my living room, and a big fan of plasma. I LOVE the new Samsung bezel design too.

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post #21 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 09:33 PM
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If there is no buzzing and no IR, you can count me in!
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post #22 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 10:17 PM
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curious about the buzz factor as well
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post #23 of 87 Old 03-21-2013, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

The subfield drive is still 600Hz so that's likely; until the manual (or a better spec sheet) becomes available, I cannot answer that question with absolute certainty—it's not clear what the "plus" refers to.
Perhaps the "plus" is because the old CS only worked with 24p material (blu-rays), and apparently this one can deal with cable and satellite material filmed at 24fps natively. Previous models used Film Mode to handle interlaced cable and satellite signals with proper film cadence. Maybe it has all been rolled into one, hence CS plus. Or perhaps CS Plus can display progressive cable and satellite signals shot at 24fps natively, something previous models cannot, while film mode still exists for interlaced signals. Of course, this is all based on conjecture from the following quote, so take it with a grain of salt:

Cinema Smooth Plus™
"Cinema smooth adjusts the frame rate of the panel for displaying 24fps source movies on Blu-ray Disc®, dedicated 24p cable and satellite channels at this native frame rate."

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post #24 of 87 Old 03-22-2013, 12:24 AM
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absolutely hates the LCD soap opera effect
?
The soap opera effect is caused by frame interpolation (which can be turned off) and has nothing to do with LCD technology.
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According to the first impressions at CES the Sammy is superior; a true leap forward in technical acheivement and almost on par with OLED at a fraction of the price.
Hardly a unanimous impression by all attendees.
Quote:
Considering that Panny plasma sales were far below projections last year, I think this TV was a huge blow to them and may be part of the reason they are exiting the plasma game if the rumors are true. A new champion has been crowned.
Speaking prematurely much?
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post #26 of 87 Old 03-22-2013, 06:15 AM
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Hardly a unanimous impression by all attendees.

He forgot to mention Eli Manning endorses the TV too.
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post #27 of 87 Old 03-22-2013, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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curious about the buzz factor as well

No buzz. The units I saw ran cool and silent. When it's displaying a blank black screen, there is really no way to tell it's on.

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post #28 of 87 Old 03-22-2013, 09:27 AM
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No buzz. The units I saw ran cool and silent. When it's displaying a blank black screen, there is really no way to tell it's on.

The mention of their deep black algorithm seems to suggest they may be trying to do dimming tricks on their plasma like they do on their lcds to get blacks like when the screen is off?
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post #29 of 87 Old 03-22-2013, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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The mention of their deep black algorithm seems to suggest they may be trying to do dimming tricks on their plasma like they do on their lcds to get blacks like when the screen is off?

There's never a need for local dimming on a plasma TV.

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post #30 of 87 Old 03-22-2013, 10:12 AM
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Will this plasmas black will look better than 500M (Pioneer 101) Kuro in a darkened room?
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