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Official Samsung UNxxES8000 Owner's Thread - Page 113

post #3361 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bladerunner1959 View Post

"I used to calibrate, frankly I think the "movie theater" standard is way overrated, not that great, not immersive, doesnt provide the "window effect" that hd can give and definately not my preference. I am not ashamed to admit that I want a more vivid and enaging experience than "calibrated" sets provide....period....the 8000 delivers in spades!!!

+1

When I owned the VT50 for a few weeks, people kept talking about how "accurate" the picture on the set was and how it's like looking through a window. First off, I don't want accurate. I want something that visually pops and looks crisp with tons of detail. To me, and this is just my opinion, the VT50 looked dull and lifeless. Sometimes accurate is boring. Don't get me wrong though, I didn't have my ES8000 on vivid, but I still like to have the "pop" when I'm watching it. I could never acheive that with my VT50. Between the dithering, yellow looking whites and soft picture, it just wasn't for me. As much as I've spent on this ES9000, I'm still unsure as to whether or not I plan on having it professionaly calibrated. I don't want someone to come over and suck the life out of my picture.
post #3362 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gas0linE View Post

OK I played with my set on the Micro dimming issue. I can say that Standard mode does look much better. Switching in between the two modes on a scene reveals that blacks in standard mode are as deep as can be (looks like that portion of the screen is turned off - its crazzy. I am also seeing more detail in darker scenes that in movie mode which means whatever the TV is doing it is not crushing blacks at all, in fact I see more detail than ever! Dynamic contrast off, black enhancer off, (Nitra's settings) and they look night and day better than Movie mode. The blacks are super inky again, almost as if the TV was off. On multiple dark scenes, I am not getting any black crush either which tells me Micro dimming Ultimate is in play darkening the dark areas but brining out the finer detail realy nice and bright. I cannot believe the difference.
I tested using Bolt, Tron and Avatar.
Good find Nitra and Darth!

I'm now 65 pages into this thread and wondering if this is still an issue and if the majority of you guys are still sticking with tweaking Standard mode because of it. I've scanned the latest pages and can't find anything to suggest Samsung has fixed this. I ask because I expect delivery today. Thank, all.
post #3363 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garnoch View Post

I'm now 65 pages into this thread and wondering if this is still an issue and if the majority of you guys are still sticking with tweaking Standard mode because of it. I've scanned the latest pages and can't find anything to suggest Samsung has fixed this. I ask because I expect delivery today. Thank, all.

Standard mode is still the mode of choice.
post #3364 of 16128
Thank you, Nitra. TV Just arrived.
post #3365 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitra View Post

Does it only happen on one channel?
Have you tried 720p? Most sports are broadcast in 720p.

Nitra, it was only happening on the one channel. I don't know if the signal as 720p. I have a Shaw Arcadis Cable Box connected to a Denon 4311 and then on to the TV all by HDMI. I think the Denon is set to automatically just pass the video signal, but I will take another look at it. The TV definitely thought it was getting a 1080 signal. I'll check next match and post again. Thanks.
post #3366 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by gtm73 View Post

Nitra, it was only happening on the one channel. I don't know if the signal as 720p. I have a Shaw Arcadis Cable Box connected to a Denon 4311 and then on to the TV all by HDMI. I think the Denon is set to automatically just pass the video signal, but I will take another look at it. The TV definitely thought it was getting a 1080 signal. I'll check next match and post again. Thanks.

Usually the slight stutter people see is due to conversion along the way, I bet that's the case here as well.
Most sports are broadcast in 720p, along the way it was likely converted at least once or twice, then again your cable box did the same.
post #3367 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefanhvt View Post

He has a point. The lower the backlight, the more beautiful are the blacks. I've tried it myself, with a backlight of 4, 2 and 0. Only 0 is not watchable, but 2 definitely is. Dark scenes are absolutely beautiful when the backlight is set on 2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nitra View Post

/sarcasm
For really good black levels, you should just turn the backlight off altogether.
/sarcasmoff

It's not like this is Rocket Science. David Mackenzie explains it in detail in his review of this tv:

"Keep in mind that the minimum luminance level (or black level) and the amount of light the screen is outputting are tied together. Because all that’s increasing is the intensity of the light sources (the LEDs), the rise in light output is basically linear. In other words, if you set [Backlight] to a setting that produces an eye-searingly bright picture, the blacks will get greyer. Conversely, if you turn down the [Backlight] to get a dimmer picture (more suitable for darker viewing environments), you’ll see dimmer whites, but better blacks. The control can be adjusted from 0 to 20, so there’s plenty of room to please most users and environments."

Read the full review:
http://www.hdtvtest.co.uk/news/samsung-ue55es8000-ue46es8000-201205301790.htm?page=Performance

I offered up the settings I am using in order to get the best black levels without compromising color accuracy. If you don't like the settings, don't use them, it's that simple. You can toss it around anyway you like, but each persons preference will be different. I chose to sacrifice light output for darker black levels. I chose Movie because I know the color is the most accurate and I wasn't willing to sacrifice color by using Standard mode.

Others are choosing to use Nitra's Standard mode settings. More power to you. If you like those settings and think the black levels are fine, then go on being happy. I am not trying to change your mind. I am simply offering up my settings for people reading this thread and thinking they can get more out of their picture. Nitra's original white balance settings that were supposedly done by an ISF calibrator actually looked fine in movie mode. But you can't just copy those settings over to Standard and get the same results. Color accuracy is extremely important to me and if it is also to you, then you should not be using Standard mode, period. This should not even be worth arguing.

From David Katzmaier at CNET:

"A well-placed company rep told me that dimming was affected by the Black Enhancer and Dynamic Contrast settings, both of which I had turned Off in my initial calibration (I tried engaging them to test whether they improved black levels much in Movie mode but they didn't). The rep also mentioned that he was unaware of any fix Samsung might be planning.

To see for myself, I tried a calibration in Standard mode and include the settings below in case readers want to try it themselves. Long story short: it does have better black levels, but they're still not as deep as the Sony KDL-55HX850 or Vizio M3D550KD, for example. In just about every other way, however, the image looked worse than in Movie mode, with less-accurate color, dim highlights and obscured shadow detail."


Have a look at CNETS white balance adjustments in Standard mode vs what Nitra copied from his original calibration in Movie. Completely different:

http://forums.cnet.com/7723-19410_102-567650/samsung-un55es8000-picture-settings/?tag=StickyWin_1341934846802;createThreadPopup

As far as what is the right setting? Once again, each person will view this differently, but for what it's worth, CNET measured Movie Mode with backlight - 9 and Standard Mode with backlight - 5 at 40 fL. David Mackenzie measured Movie with backlight - 8 at 35 fL. 35 fL being the ISF/THX target for dim rooms.

In the end, use the settings that you can live with.
post #3368 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitra View Post

Standard mode is still the mode of choice.

"A" choice, not "THE" choice.
post #3369 of 16128
Any idea why Apple TV graphics and pictures played through it have the shadows speckled rather than a nice even shadow gradient?
post #3370 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefanhvt View Post

He has a point. The lower the backlight, the more beautiful are the blacks. I've tried it myself, with a backlight of 4, 2 and 0. Only 0 is not watchable, but 2 definitely is. Dark scenes are absolutely beautiful when the backlight is set on 2.

I told my girlfriend this and she said put the backlight on 2 just for a laugh, so we did. He has no point. 2 is not watchable. No way, no how.
post #3371 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitra View Post

@Eagle Re: CE-Dimming.
Try this, press your source button, select your HDMI source, press tools, edit name.
Scroll down to PC, select it.
CE-Dimming now disabled.
Side effects, nearly all of the processing in the TV is disabled.... But for Micro-Dimming.
YMMV; but this may be an interim solution, I will be keeping CE-Dimming on, but give it a shot.

Thanks for the suggestion, but this seems to have zero effect on my FiOS HDMI input - I'm not sure why. For my receiver input it works, but not for all sources. When using my media player as a source, going through my receiver, the tv remains in movie mode, not PC mode, even though the HDMI is labeled as PC. When the media player is displaying menus, the tv is in PC mode. When I start playing a movie, the tv switches to movie mode, not PC. (EDIT: I figured out why this happens: my media player was set to 24p, so menus are in 60Hz but movies are played back at 24p, which bumps the tv back to movie mode because PC mode doesn't support 24p playback apparently. When I turn off 24p in my media player the tv remains in PC mode).

Anyways it's not really an option for me because in PC mode, I have no control over color saturation, and it is locked at 50 which is too saturated for my tastes. Also I have no motion smoother, or dynamic contrast, or other settings. So pc mode wouldn't really work for me. Thanks anyways for the suggestion but what we really need is a solution from Samsung to fix the issue permanently.

I'm currently using movie mode because I can't stand the CE dimming in standard.
Edited by eagle_2 - 9/4/12 at 1:11pm
post #3372 of 16128
Nitra, for those screenshots you posted the other day of your 3D options, my Windows screen resolution menu doesn't have the option "Enable stereoscopic 3D settings for all supported displays." Also, under resolution, it doesn't say "(1920 x 1080) Recommended, 3D". It just lists 1920 x 1080 but doesn't mention 3D. Yet my Nvidia control pnael does list the 2 3D resolutions as available.
post #3373 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle_2 View Post

Nitra, for those screenshots you posted the other day of your 3D options, my Windows screen resolution menu doesn't have the option "Enable stereoscopic 3D settings for all supported displays." Also, under resolution, it doesn't say "(1920 x 1080) Recommended, 3D". It just lists 1920 x 1080 but doesn't mention 3D. Yet my Nvidia control pnael does list the 2 3D resolutions as available.

Windows 8 my friend.
Ignore that part, use the NV control panel.
post #3374 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitra View Post

Windows 8 my friend.
Ignore that part, use the NV control panel.

Ah, that would explain it.

Thanks. Still can't figure out how to get 1080p@24, even the Nvidia test won't run in that mode. I'm on the phone now with Nvidia.
post #3375 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garnoch View Post

Any idea why Apple TV graphics and pictures played through it have the shadows speckled rather than a nice even shadow gradient?

Compression artifacts?
post #3376 of 16128
Update on the Nvidia 3D issue. I was told again that these sets are not currently supported officially. He said what that means is that it may sometimes work, or there may be problems like what I'm experiencing, where 1080p@24 isn't working for 3D mode. He used another Samsung tv model as an example, and said that the older 6500 tv required a special driver to be installed for tvplay to properly work with that set due to a certain issue with the tv. I told him I submitted the EDID info for my tv and he said they will take that info and decide if the tv will function 100% or if it needs special drivers in order to be certified.

I tried playing Dear Esther in 3D and it's just garbled in D - 2D is fine, 3D mode turns the screen into garbled colors and nonsense. That same game played fine in 3D previously when I tested it out on one of the plasmas I tried this year. So there's definitely something that the Nvidia 3DTV play doesn't like about this tv, since it's just not working as it should.
post #3377 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle_2 View Post

I told my girlfriend this and she said put the backlight on 2 just for a laugh, so we did. He has no point. 2 is not watchable. No way, no how.

It depends on your environment as well as the scene your watching. In a lighted environment a minimum of 4 is necessary.

Also make sure you are viewing standard mode.
post #3378 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by eagle_2 View Post

Update on the Nvidia 3D issue. I was told again that these sets are not currently supported officially. He said what that means is that it may sometimes work, or there may be problems like what I'm experiencing, where 1080p@24 isn't working for 3D mode. He used another Samsung tv model as an example, and said that the older 6500 tv required a special driver to be installed for tvplay to properly work with that set due to a certain issue with the tv. I told him I submitted the EDID info for my tv and he said they will take that info and decide if the tv will function 100% or if it needs special drivers in order to be certified.
I tried playing Dear Esther in 3D and it's just garbled in D - 2D is fine, 3D mode turns the screen into garbled colors and nonsense. That same game played fine in 3D previously when I tested it out on one of the plasmas I tried this year. So there's definitely something that the Nvidia 3DTV play doesn't like about this tv, since it's just not working as it should.

I read when that happens, alt-tab out, and go back in.
It's a known issue with that game.
post #3379 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitra View Post

I read when that happens, alt-tab out, and go back in.
It's a known issue with that game.

No good, gave that a try and it just doesn't work with this set for whatever reason.
post #3380 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garnoch View Post

Any idea why Apple TV graphics and pictures played through it have the shadows speckled rather than a nice even shadow gradient?

Samsung just told me this afternoon that they are having some issues with some Apple products not displaying correctly with these sets, and said it was an apple compatibility issue (I called to ask them about the issue with Nvidia and she brought up Apple as an example of incompatibilities).
post #3381 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefanhvt View Post

It depends on your environment as well as the scene your watching. In a lighted environment a minimum of 4 is necessary.
Also make sure you are viewing standard mode.

The lower the backlight, the more you are going to want to use Dynamic Contrast, Black Enhancer, and also raise your contrast to 100. And I am speaking of Movie Mode only here. Because Dynamic Contrast creates a similar effect as Micro-Dimming, you should see similar contrast in Movie Mode to what you are seeing in Standard with Micro-Dimming, but without the color accuracy issues of Standard Mode. Also, Black Enhancer performs similarly to the kind of active contrast dimming that is going on in Standard mode. Essentially, you want to dim the backlight as low as you can tolerate for your room light. If you can tolerate a lower backlight, you will be rewarded with better black levels. Dynamic Contrast helps to balance the picture by making white less dull because you had to lower the backlight. The higher the backlight, the bigger the effect Dynamic Contrast has, which is why most leave it off. It's more beneficial with the backlight lower.

With values from 0-20 and the ability to toggle everything on/off, you can find your own middle ground. And if you really want to see what effect Micro-Dimming has on your picture, put your tv into store mode and goto tools. There is a demo you can turn on and off that goes over top of your current video. Like I said before, It's a lot like Dynamic Contrast and as such it's not enough for me to switch from Movie Mode with near perfect color to Standard with inaccurate color. For many others, it might be.
post #3382 of 16128
Nitra - always enjoy your informative comments.

I've been experimenting with all of the settings on my UN65ES8000 and originally was locked into the "Standard" mode. I have since been able to tweak the "Natural" mode to a very nice picture - - at least to my eyes. I do not know if you have made any changes to your original "Standard" settings, but if you have, I sure would like to see them. (Dynamic is way too bright and washed out on my set but interestingly enough, a setting I have successfully used on other Samsung HDTV's - - most recently on the UN40EH5300 that I purchased for my girlfriend who had to have another TV (32" to 40") after my upgrade in the "man cave.")

Also - - for me, the source of the material makes a big difference - - even if it is the same source! Example: from my DirecTV to my Yamaha RX-A2000 receiver, the sports mode usually looks best in "Standard" and my newly tweaked "Natural" mode. However, the Starz series "Boss" is somewhat washed out on colors - - at least on my set. Conversely - blu-ray DVD's from my Sony BDP S790 are another matter as well as streaming from the Sony player with Amazon Instant Video! Having the ability to switch between picture modes ensures that I obtain the best viewing experience I can for the source material I am watching. At least that is what I have experienced so far.

Lastly - I have a pair of Dimension Optics 3D glasses on order from Amazon since the original glasses are somewhat flimsy and do not block the light out from the side. If anyone else has suggestions on different 3D glasses, please let me know.


SAMSUNG-Compatible 3D Glasses. Works with 2011/2012 3D TV's. Rechargeable.
Compatible with SAMSUNG®
Available in 2 colors
Model: A1S01241
post #3383 of 16128
Replacement panel is in. They could have done it tomorrow, but we are busy with the short week and made an appointment for Friday. Stay tuned.
post #3384 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by JewDaddy View Post

Hey Guys. I called the freight company handling the shipping of my Samsung UN75ES9000 this morning. They told me I would get a call later today to setup delivery for Wdnesday or Thursday. I told the lady I was speaking with that I will be out of town starting tomorrow morning until late Friday night and I would hate to have to wait until next Monday. She called one of the drivers and they are going to deliver today between 8 am and 12 pm!!!!!
I'm so excited. But nervous at the same time. So many things can go wrong with delivery, and not to mention what problems I might see with this $9,000 tv. I will post some pictures and early impressions to let everyone know how this compares with the ES8000. I owned both the 60" and 65" of the ES8000 before taking them back for this lovely beast. I will not throw out accusations such as best tv I've ever seen or amazing black levels better than the elite or vt50. At least not until I've had a week or two to mess with it smile.gif
BTW, I got a pretty awesome surprise on my birthday. My wife and I just recently moved from Oklahoma, here to Atlanta GA back in January of this year. Neither one of us have any family or friends here and I was a little bummed about turning 30 without my bros around. My wife left for work Friday morning as usual and around 8:00 am, I get a knock at my door. It was three of my best buds along with my oldest brother!! She had been setting this up behind my back for the last 5 months. Lol. They started driving the night before and got to my house early that morning to surprise me. So to say the least, it was an awesome birthday. The only thing that could have made it better would have been to get my 75ES9000. Anyways, I'll keep you guys posted.

OK OK OK SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO???

Dying over here to see the pics and your 1st impressions!!!

Can I call you "My Daddy" ??? LMAO tongue.gif
post #3385 of 16128
Thanks, Eagle and Nitra. It was actually all the standard settings on the TV out of the box. Once calibrated, it not only went away, but the Apple TV is arguably my best looking source.
post #3386 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyguyjake View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by JewDaddy View Post

Hey Guys. I called the freight company handling the shipping of my Samsung UN75ES9000 this morning. They told me I would get a call later today to setup delivery for Wdnesday or Thursday. I told the lady I was speaking with that I will be out of town starting tomorrow morning until late Friday night and I would hate to have to wait until next Monday. She called one of the drivers and they are going to deliver today between 8 am and 12 pm!!!!!
I'm so excited. But nervous at the same time. So many things can go wrong with delivery, and not to mention what problems I might see with this $9,000 tv. I will post some pictures and early impressions to let everyone know how this compares with the ES8000. I owned both the 60" and 65" of the ES8000 before taking them back for this lovely beast. I will not throw out accusations such as best tv I've ever seen or amazing black levels better than the elite or vt50. At least not until I've had a week or two to mess with it smile.gif
BTW, I got a pretty awesome surprise on my birthday. My wife and I just recently moved from Oklahoma, here to Atlanta GA back in January of this year. Neither one of us have any family or friends here and I was a little bummed about turning 30 without my bros around. My wife left for work Friday morning as usual and around 8:00 am, I get a knock at my door. It was three of my best buds along with my oldest brother!! She had been setting this up behind my back for the last 5 months. Lol. They started driving the night before and got to my house early that morning to surprise me. So to say the least, it was an awesome birthday. The only thing that could have made it better would have been to get my 75ES9000. Anyways, I'll keep you guys posted.

OK OK OK SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO???

Dying over here to see the pics and your 1st impressions!!!

Can I call you "My Daddy" ??? LMAO tongue.gif
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post #3387 of 16128
Hey guys. Sorry for the delay on my impressions for the ES9000. It got delivered alot later than they originally promised, but it made it here in one piece with no damage.

First impression is WOW! This is huge! Lol. Got the tv setup and downloaded the newest firmware. I didn't notice if it was the same as the ES8000. After turning the tv on and viewing some cable, the increased brightness and black levels were definitely noticeable.

As I showed in my previous picture, you can change the Smart Led and turn on or off cinema black. Btw Eagle, the dimming thing that happens on credits............. Still here. Looks like whatever it is can't be controlled on the 9000 either. I have yet to notice any banding, flashlighting or clouding. I haven't been able to fully test yet, but so far so good. The picture on this tv is BEAUTIFUL. But keep in mind, I honestly don't see a huge difference between this and the ES8000. Yes, I see improvements, but nothing that truly justifies the high price tag. I can't tell anyone that it's worth the money and you should run out and buy it. I can say that if you have the money, it's between this and the Sharp Elite.

I haven't tested 3D yet and haven't watched a letterbox movie. I will post more impressions later this evening along with pics. Btw, viewing angles are a little better than the 8000 but no by much. Please ask any questions!
post #3388 of 16128
I'm in LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! biggrin.gif
post #3389 of 16128
Okay, after spending many hours with it so far , here are my thoughts. First I'll say that I'm not a video guy, but I am a professional re-recording mixer in NYC and am around high quality A/V every day. I decided to get the 60" ES7500 and save a few hundred over the 8500 because I preferred the black border and swivel stand compared to what I'd be getting for the extra money. I'm extremely happy with my purchase and am blown away really. We updated from a 55" Sony HD rear projection TV. I'm still waiting on a cable for the blu-ray, but I have DirecTv and an AppleTV hooked up at the moment, and some others. I made sure it never got laid down and have been very worried about the supposed display roulette. I must have gotten lucky. All pixels are working, no banding that I can see, and very little clouding or flashlighting. I played around for over an hour before calibrating and got very worried about how my Apple TV was looking. Not video, which looked great, just the shadows of pictures and the menu. They were black specked kind of instead of a nice gradient. This turned out to be because of the TV settings out of the box. Now because of the issue with Micro Dimming only working in Standard mode, I stuck with that. I tried Nitra's Standard and CNET's Movie settings because I don't have meters. I liked both. I wound up with a combo of the two and some of my own tweaks, mostly leaning towards CNET's. Here are a few of things of special interest though...

-I expected Film Mode to be Off in Standard but was surprised that on some inputs it was on and changeable, specifically on my DirecTv input.

-Speaking of my DirecTV input, unlike my Apple TV input which is BLACK, DirecTV got light and washed out when I set the HDMI Black Level to Normal. On that one input, I actually put it back to Low. It was terrible with it set to Normal and I'm not sure why.

-My Harmony remote is set up with a Utility Activity to automatically activate the SmartHub without changing the input, while mapping the controls to the TV. If you try to switch an Activity on the Harmony though without first turning off the SmartHub, the TV's input will not change. I have a TV "Device" for this on the Harmony too if I prefer that.

-I hate the soup opera effect, but with certain content, especially some panning in 24p, having it off of course can be "jumpy", studder. I was surprised to find having Motion Plus on Custom, with a Bur of 10 and a Judder of 0, still wasn't perfect. It was creating a odd look once in a while that I can't explain. For me, setting Motion Plus to Clear was the ticket. I also tried all the variants with LED Motion Plus on and off, so to be more specific, Clear and Off was the ticket for me.

-Lastly, I was very worried about the viewing angle, especially on the 7500. For the normal Joe perusing this forum and reading this, don't let it worry you. Can I see the difference off center? Of course. But none of my family notices at all. I'm really surprised how happy I am with the viewing angle after reading this through this thread (65 pages and counting).
Edited by Garnoch - 9/5/12 at 3:58pm
post #3390 of 16128
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitra View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catt99 
I agree with several posters that off-angle viewing produces washed-out colors pretty quickly. You can notice it with flesh tones and/or grassy expanses pretty easily. I’m not sure how the off-angle viewing compares to competing / other manufacturers’ sets, as I haven’t compared them side-by-side. It is not an issue for me or my family – we just don’t notice it enough to be an issue for us - but if you are a prospective purchaser and sensitive to off-angle viewing issues, it is worth your time to experience it and make sure you can tolerate it.
It tends to wash out faster with higher contrast values, a few users have mentioned that in this thread.

I should be clear - from a normal viewing distance and the layout of our viewing room, there is only one seat where any wash-out at all is noticeable. Wanting to see the impact of the off-angle, I viewed the display from about 2 feet away and moved towards a side. My comments on off-angle viewing should be taken with that update. From our normal viewing distance of 9 - 12 feet, there's virtually no color wash-out. But it is still an issue I would evaluate if nervous about a purchase and viewing conditions. I agree with Garnoch's post above that it is not an issue for me or my family at all, but in the interest of being critical and acknowledging potential drawbacks, I did and do mention possible frustration with off-angle viewing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garnoch 
My Harmony remote is set up with a Utility Activity to automatically activate the SmartHub without changing the input, while mapping the controls to the TV. If you try to switch an Activity on the Harmony though without first turning off the SmartHub, the TV's input will not change. I have a TV "Device" for this on the Harmony too if I prefer that.

Nice. I wondered how to get the Harmony to work well with using SmartHub (when I get around to it). I'll have to see if my Harmony One has the utility activity feature to avoid dropping into the "device" mode.
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