My Samsung UN50HU8550 UHD Televsion Review... - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 2 Old 10-01-14, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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My Samsung UN50HU8550 UHD Televsion Review...

I just picked up a Samsung UN50HU8550 television for $1800 (that is the street price, retail is $3500). I figured I should comment on my purchase. Note that all consumer sets are called UHD (Ultra High Definition) instead of 4K. 4K (4096x2160) has a few more lines of resolution than what UHD (3840x2160) has.

- Awesome picture
- terrific detail
- great accurate colors (after calibration)
- contrast to die for
- Uniform screen darkness
- excellent edge-light implementation, almost as good as back-lit screens
- very little halo effect in high contrast images
- 3D is impressive, free of crosstalk
- motion judder and blurriness not that bad
- very low power consumption
- panel is 10-bit ready, supports higher color mode when needed
- television has an upgrade option to a new One Connector box in case newer HDMI standards appear
- free one terabyte external USB HDD with 10 movies and a bunch of demos (temporary promotion, so get it while you can)

- really, really bad off-axis image
- gray scale issue;blacks seem to be crushed in dark scenes
- Mediocre sound, but better than the average set
- Setup a bit confusing
- Supplied 3D glasses are flimsy, cannot be worn over prescription glasses; uses odd, hard to find CR1620 batteries

I previously owned a Panasonic 46" GT series plasma television. I really like the Panasonic but unfortunately, time marches on and new technology eventually comes into play.

I saw this particular model at a friends house and was floored. So I bought one. Right away (actually the day after). Nearly all reviewers say that at the distance where I sit, you "should" not see any difference in picture quality from 1080P to UHD. I don't care what the pundits say... I can... My family can. Even though I have a "small" 50-inch screen (I wish I could have gotten a bigger screen but 50-inches was the biggest size that would fit in its location...) and we sit about 10-12 feet from the screen.

The television is pretty light. Out of the box, the image is very detailed, but if you want to get the most out of your set, you must calibrate it with a calibration disc. I used the Spears and Munsil disc to perform a basic calibration on the colors and image quality. After the calibration, the picture was as perfect as I have seen. Contrast was extraordinary. The upscaling from 1080P to UHD was flawless. With reference Blu-Ray movies, the image takes your breath away. I watched Pacific Rim and Total Recall (terrible movies but great PQ). The image was simply stunning. Remember that the quality of the image is very dependent on the quality of the image source. If you have a mediocre Blu-ray disc, the image from the Samsung will be mediocre as well. The internal scaler is better than the scaler on the Sony BDP-S6200. The Sony scaler produces a softer image than the Samsung does. I do not have an Oppo so I cannot determine how much a difference that brand would be. Watching SD material is probably the set's weak spot. Watching broadcast SD shows results in a very soft image.

Screen uniformity was terrific (LED sets normally have lighter areas on screen when viewing a dark scene, such as a space star field), I could not detect any luminous unevenness on my particular set. I did not notice any glaring halo effect on high contrast images. There was very little judder or motion effect while watching football (I should note that motion judder does not affect me that much). Enabling the motion controls impacts the picture a bit. It makes the image look softer and a bit un-natural.

The only issue, like all LED-LCD sets is that the image degrades a lot when viewed off-axis. The image degradation is very severe (the color shifts and contrast is literally gone) once you get about 20 degrees off to the side (only Plasma and OLED sets do not have this issue. Unfortunately, plasmas are discontinued and current UHD OLEDs are prohibitively expensive, 5X the price of this set).

3D on the set is excellent. Unlike most other 3D implementations, I could not detect any crosstalk (ghosting) issues (Sony's 3D implementation seems to be the worst. Just titling the head a few degrees loses the 3D effect with ghosting). I could tilt my head to different angles and the 3D effect was very stable. While the set comes with four active (battery powered) 3D glasses, they are very flimsy and they are almost impossible for anyone with prescription glasses to use. The 3D glasses have a very small lens area and when fitted over prescription glasses, it does not cover the entire television image. The sets built-in 3D conversion is mediocre at best. My Panasonic plasma had far better 3D conversion than the Samsung. You can barely see any 3D effect on the Samsung. Adjusting the 3D controls do not affect the 3D effect too much.

The sound from the set is above average with a bit more bass than the atypical tinny sounding speakers, but voices seem a bit muddied on this set. You can adjust the overall sound with different settings but it does not improve the clarity of voices.

The larger remote control is fully lit and the layout is pretty good with large buttons. The layout is decent, but when the remote is set up to use with your cable STB, the control can be a bit confusing. Sometimes a button will adjust something on the TV, other times it will do something else on the STB.

The smaller remote is handy but lacks some functions as it is very basic, One unique feature is that the smaller remote can be gesture controlled. The movement detection can be adjusted in sensitivity and seems to be pretty good. It is very handy in the fact you do not have to look for the buttons on the control as much as the standard remote.

I have not really used any of the Smart Apps. I do have VUDU and Amazon Prime. Unlike my Sony Blu-Ray player, I cannot change the sort order in VUDU, it only lists the movies in date of purchase order... Using the Amazon applet, I cannot view the entire wishlist. I can only view a couple dozen movies although I do have about 40 movies on my wishlist.

If anyone is interested in my end settings (this is only for the 50" model, larger screens will probably be different) from the S&M calibration disc:

Picture Mode: Movie
Contrast: 80
Brightness: 46
Sharpness: 20
Color: 50
Tint: G51-R49

Under Advanced:
Dynamic Contrast: off
Black tone: off
Flesh tone: 0
RGB only: Off
Gamma: 0

Under Picture Options:
Color Tone: Warm 2
Digital Clean View: Off
Auto Motion Plus: off
SmartLED: High

Notes: Do not touch the Color Space and White balance controls unless you have the proper light calibration sensors...

The movies that are on the HDD drive are: The Book Thief; Counselor; Forrest Gump; GI Joe Retaliation; Life of Pi; Night at the Museum; Star Trek; Star Trek Into Darkness; World War Z; X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The movie pack will only work with the Samsung 8500-9000 series sets and does require an internet connection in order to work.

UPDATE 10/01/14: After settling down with the TV, I am beginning to see some issues... Watching normal movies is fine, but watching movies that are dark overall reveals that the set seems to be crushing the black levels. Black is still black on the set, but watching the last Harry Potter movie shows that the set conceals details in the dark areas. You cannot discern black from nearly black scenes, it is just all black. I am not sure if this issue can be remedied but I am planning to have the set calibrated by an ISF technician once the set breaks in.

The off-axis mage degradation is really bad and it bothers me. If I sit on a sofa directly inline with the set, everything is fine. But moving off the sofa shows the image degrading. The degradation is severe and rapid. 20 degrees offline shows the picture quality is already declining. 45 degrees offline, the image is pale with no colors and contrast. The location of the set along the long wall just makes the viewing angle worse in my situation. Unfortunately, there is no way to place the set along the short wall in my house. The Samsung 50" 6950 series did not show as much degradation as this model.

I am still floored by how much improvement in detail is apparent when watching Blu-Ray movies... Watching James Cameron's Avatar is mind-blowing. Watching 4K mastered movies (Battle: Los Angeles; Spiderman, Total Recall and Ghostbusters is what I have) is mesmerizing. The movie does not have to be 4K to enjoy it. It just has to be a reference transfer to get the most out of it. It's like watching something in real life through a window, not on a screen...

Last edited by jon96789; 10-01-14 at 07:49 PM.
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post #2 of 2 Old 10-03-14, 02:51 PM
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