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Samsung UE46C8000 review

Superb 3D-capable TV with Freeview HD and LED backlighting

Our Verdict

Samsung's step up 3D TV is a greatly improved option that's definitely on par with its Panasonic plasma rival

For

  • Stunning design
  • Huge feature list
  • Excellent 2D and 3D picture quality

Against

  • Black levels not the deepest, Flawed local dimming
  • Not cheap

Samsung got the UK's 3D ball rolling in solid fashion with its UE40C7000 a couple of months ago. But we're hoping that its more glamorous and larger sibling, the UE46C8000 will launch the brand into the same kind of stratosphere occupied by Panasonic's 3D debutante, the Panasonic TX-P50VT20.

Features

The UE46C8000's compatibility with all the key new 3D formats is obviously its dominant feature, but it also boasts a so-called 3D HyperReal Engine that's claimed to deliver significant performance benefits over other brands.

Some aspects of this engine are too complicated to fully explore here, but for starters, Samsung has added a scanning backlight to its existing 200Hz engine – delivering an effect that some rival brands would most likely call 400Hz. This should enable it to reproduce motion with greater clarity.

Also key is a dual black insertion system, where frames are inserted between the alternating left and right 3D frames to reduce the ghosting phenomenon that's commonly known as crosstalk.

Samsung has developed a special high-speed pixel-driving circuit for the 46C8000, too, along with an ultra-fast 1.05Gbps high speed interface, to reduce LCD's usual, response time issues.

The 46C8000 also integrates a 2D to 3D conversion system, so that users can watch conventional discs and broadcasts in three dimensions until there are more true 3D sources available to buy.

Samsung ue46c8000 side

The design is a feature in itself meanwhile, with a gorgeous, shiny silver metal bezel to the fore and an exceptionally slender rear end, courtesy of edge LED backlighting. Samsung has introduced a local dimming element to the latter, whereby segments of the edge lighting can have their brightness individually adjusted if the TV detects obvious areas of discrepancy, to boost contrast.

Extensive multimedia features include online access and DLNA PC file streaming; Freeview HD timeshifting to USB drives and optional Wi-Fi via a USB dongle.

Ease of use

Inevitably, the set is complex to use, due to its sheer number of features.

Among such important features as various LED Motion control circuitry and the local dimming option, Samsung has added one or two unnecessary and confusing submenus without adequately explaining them.

Samsung ue46c8000 remote

The menus are clear and attractive and the glinting remote is as easy to use as it is gorgeous.

Picture

The 3D pictures really are an advance on those of the C7000. This is particularly true where motion is concerned, with the moving image components suffering markedly less from resolution blur and crosstalk.

Another contributory factor is that the 46C8000 doesn't suffer as badly as the C7000 series with backlight inconsistencies. The pictures are fearsomely bright and vibrant, too, exploding off the screen with 2D footage, but also, crucially, retaining good brightness when watched through Samsung's 3D glasses.

This provides a truly substantive point of difference between Samsung's 3D approach and Panasonic's, with the former brand delivering extra shadow detail and more dynamic colours, while Panasonic delivers slightly less crosstalk and deeper black colours.

Samsung ue46c8000 side 2

The 46C8000's 2D to 3D converter is more effective than expected, creating a sense of real depth without generating as many glitchy effects as anticipated. However, it's still a diluted 3D effect, and as such we question the wisdom of the feature's inclusion.

The TV is also highly accomplished with non-3D material, exhibiting outstanding colours, loads of detail with HD, good upscaling with standard-def and good noise and motion handling. However, the motion and noise reduction processing should be used judiciously to avoid side effects.

The general black level response isn't as profound as we'd ideally like, and the local dimming engine creates obvious 'blocks' of light, so we chose to leave it deactivated. But otherwise, the 46C8000's pictures really are terrific.

Audio

While the 46C8000 represents a vast improvement over Samsung's previous flat TV generation when it comes to sonic ability, it's still short of bass and fails to deliver an expansive soundstage during action scenes.

Samsung ue46c8000 side 3

However, it sounds fine with ordinary TV and, given its price, would quite likely be accompanied by a separate sound system when watching more demanding fare.

While undeniably expensive against standard 46in TVs, it does feature extensive multimedia support, a stunning design and a large amount of innovative 3D technology.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Digital TunerDVB-C (MPEG4), DVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports4
Number of SCART Interfaces2
Product Family8000
3D Type3D
Brand NameSamsung
Screen Size116.8 cm (46")
Aspect Ratio16:9
EthernetYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)19.20 kg
Backlight TechnologyEdge LED
VESA Mount Standard400 x 400
Operating Power Consumption200 W
Standby Power Consumption100 mW
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
HDMI VersionHDMI 1.4
VGAYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand723.80 mm
Width with Stand1090.80 mm
Depth with Stand303 mm
Number of Common Interface1
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
Height662.8 mm
Width1090.8 mm
Depth23.9 mm
ColourTitanium
Sound SystemSurround Sound, Dolby Digital Plus
Product Series8000
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesAuto Program, Auto-off, Closed Caption, Picture in Picture, Teletext, Sleep Timer
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelUE46C8000
Product NameUE46C8000 46" LED-LCD TV
Manufacturer Part NumberUE46C8000XKXXU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Finally there's a television that delivers a picture so stunning that it looks- and feels - more real than reality. It's the Samsung LED C8000. With its explosive 3D capabilities and immersive HyperReal Engine, it delivers the world as you've never seen it before. Its LED screen amplifies images to such an extent that it's hard to believe they're coming out of an ultra-slim TV. Richer colours, smoother motion and mega contrast levels combine to make an unparalleled viewing experience. So whether you're watching your favourite television programs, web content or a video you shot yourself, it was designed to blow your mind.

Package Contents
  • UE46C8000 LED-LCD TV
  • Batteries
  • Instruction Book
  • Remote Controller
  • Slim Gender Cable
SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)17 kg