Before I begin the review, let me say that I have briefly owned two Samsung UN64F8500 plasma sets (one for about a week and another for about 5 days. The F8500 is a VERY fine TVs but there is an insurmountable issue with the plasma technology and my high-end audio system (see a full explanation at my blog at http://audiophile-musings.blogspot.com). I was truly hoping that a plasma set would become a permanent resident in my home theater but the technology used to create an image in the plasma system creates a disastrous effect with the toroidal transformers in my audio gear and the two shall never be compatible. With a heavy heart, all hopes for a high-end plasma video section are now gone.
BUT the Samsung top-of-the-line LED set is a very close runner up and the same price. If you liked the picture quality of the F8500, you will quickly shift your preferences to the F8000 after properly calibrating and optimizing its controls. My list of calibration settings also appears at http://audiophile-musings.blogspot.com.
I have owned the F8000 now for about 100 hours and just rechecked its calibration using the Digital Video Essentials HD BASICS disk. The calibration is still spot on and the colors are incredibly accurate, even more natural than the F8500. This is saying a lot since most professionals prefer plasma over LED and I understand why. If you have a completely dark home theater room, a plasma set may be more to your liking. If you do not have a dark room, you will certainly prefer the higher light output of the F8000. So what does the F8000 do right? Just about everything.
First, the 65" screen is huge, even for my 28-foot long home theater room. A good viewing distance is more than 10 feet, our primary chairs at about 11. But our secondary chairs are over 20 feet away and the picture is still amazing. Watching a Bluray 3D is better than most 3D theaters I frequent and my wife also prefers the F8000 implementation over other 240Hz sets (Sony, Panasonic, etc.). Claiming 1200Hz clear motion rate, the effect is pretty good for Bluray content but being a sports enthusiast I still lean to 2D broadcasts to avoid jerky 60Hz motion. Watching the Bluray Avatar was truly the best 3D I have ever seen. So there is hope for this technology and if film editors would get off of the special effect and focus on creating convincing 3D, there would be greater acceptance of this technology.
The picture quality of this set is in a league of its own. I am one that is not easily impressed but each time I walk into the room the image catches my eye. Even commercials take on new meaning when you see them as intended making any viewing more pleasurable. Of course the resolution is superb but one of the tests I use for convincing color accuracy is gold. After seeing golds on the Pioneer Elite plasmas, I believed LED technology to be inferior - that is until this set came into view. Having used color calibrated video graphics displays, I understand how difficult it is to get certain colors right and the F8000 does an excellent job. Switching channels in my DirecTV HR24-200 HD DVR momentarily displays a gold color text in the upper LH corner and it is spot on accurate. Watching Blurays through my OPPO BDP-105 is like watching an entirely different movie even though I may have seen it ten times before. 2D movies seem much more 3D, something I was not prepared to experience. So this set does a few things very right.
Over-the-air reception was equally as good as other source inputs. Live new broadcast in 1080i are sharp and clear revealing all of the cosmetic flaws in the faces of anchor desk people. Skin tones are also spot on with a slight favor (hardly worth mentioning after calibration) still to the red. Only in certain lighting conditions do the colors drift and then only if you are really looking for it.
Details in low-light conditions are not as good as the best plasma sets but are darned close. With productions using contrast and lighting more and more to demonstrate tone and effect, this is an important detail and one where the F8000 rises to the occasion. Even in really extreme conditions, you can still see details in facial characteristics, shadowed objects, and excellent resolution in non-prominent lighting. The series ELEMENTARY is one such program where lighting is used to emphasize or dramatize scenes. None of the usual ghosting or false-colors appear in the shadows typical of lower quality sets. It is amazing how quickly you get used to seeing these anomalies and when they disappear you realize how you "put up" with them. No longer are these a viewing issue.
So in summary, this is a GREAT set. The Precision Black Local Dimming helps this TV create similar convincing contrasts and excellent black representation using LED technology. The set consumes about 1/3 the power of an equivalent-sized plasma also making it more economical to run and cool your room. Make sure you see this set properly calibrated before making up your mind.