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Samsung UN46F8000 46-inch 3D Smart LED/LCD TV Review

How Much TV Can You Handle?

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Samsung UN46F8000 LED/LCD Smart TV - Photo - Front View - Garden Image

Photo of the front view of the Samsung UN46F8000 LED/LCD TV - Garden Image

Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The UN46F8000 is part of Samsung's flagship 1080p LED/LCD TV line, featuring a slim, stylish-looking, 46-inch LED Edge-lit screen. This set incorporates 3D viewing as well as built-in network connectivity for access to both the Samsung Apps internet and Samsung Allshare network streaming platforms.

However, that is only the tip of iceberg as this set packs additional features, such as a built-in camera for both facial and gesture remote control and making Skype video phone calls, as well as a voice recognition system. There is even a built-in web brower that allows surfing the web using a standard USB Windows-compatible keyboard. Keep on reading to get the whole scoop.

Product Overview

1. 46-Inch, 16x9, 3D capable LCD Television with 1080p native display resolution and Clear Motion Rate 1200 (combines 240Hz Screen Refresh Rate with additional color and image processing).

2. 1080p video upscaling/processing for all non-1080p input sources as well as native 1080p input capability.

3. LED Edge-Lighting System with Micro Dimming Ultimate.

4. The UN46F8000 employs Active Shutter Glasses for 3D viewing. Four pairs are included with the TV. The glasses require batteries and are not rechargeable (initial set of batteries provided)

5. High Definition Compatible Inputs: Four HDMI (includes one MHL-compatible), One Component (via supplied adapter cable).

6. Standard Definition-Only Inputs: Two Composite video inputs accessible via provided adapters.

7. One set of Analog stereo inputs that is paired with the component and composite video inputs. A second set provided for the additional composite video input.

8. Audio Outputs: One Digital Optical and one set of analog stereo outputs. Also, HDMI input 3 can also output audio via the Audio Return Channel feature.

9. Built-in stereo speaker system (10 watts x 2) for use in lieu of the outputting audio to an external audio system (However, connecting to an external audio system is highly recommended). Built-in audio compatibility and processing includes Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse, DTS 2.0 + Digital Out, DTS Premium Sound, and DNSe.

10. 3 USB ports for access to audio, video, and still image files stored on flash drives, as well as providing the ability to connect a USB compatible Windows Keyboard.

11. DLNA certification allows access to audio, video, and still image content stored on network connected devices, such as PC or media server.

12. On-board Ethernet port for wired internet/home network connection. Built-in WiFi connection option.

13. WiFi Direct option also provided which allows wireless media streaming from compatible portable devices directly to the UN46F8000 without going through your home network router.

14. Bluetooth-based "SoundShare" feature allows the direct wireless streaming of audio from the TV to a compatible Samsung sound bar or audio system.

15. ATSC/NTSC/QAM tuners for reception of over-the-air and unscrambled high definition/standard definition digital cable signals.

16. Link for remote control via HDMI of HDMI-CEC compatible devices.

17. Built-in pop-up camera for Skype video calling and facial-recognition based gesture control. NOTE: The camera can be pushed back into the bezel when not in use to prevent any unauthorized access by a third party.

18. Wireless Touch Pad remote control with built-in microphone for voice command control option.

Additional Components Used in this Review

Blu-ray Disc Player: OPPO BDP-103.

DVD Player: OPPO DV-980H.

Home Theater Receiver: Onkyo TX-SR705 (used in 5.1 channel mode)

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System (5.1 channels): EMP Tek E5Ci Center channel Speaker, four E5Bi compact bookshelf Speakers for left and right main and surrounds, and an ES10i 100 watt powered subwoofer.

DVDO EDGE Video Scaler used for baseline video upscaling comparisons.

Darbee Visual Presence - Darblet Model DVP 5000 Video Processor used for added observations.

Audio/Video connections made with Accell, Interconnect cables. 16 Gauge Speaker Wire used. High Speed HDMI Cables provided by Atlona for this review.

Blu-ray Discs, DVDs, and Additional Content Sources Used In This Review

Blu-ray Discs (3D): Adventures of Tintin, Brave, Drive Angry, Hugo, Immortals, Oz The Great and Powerful (3D), Puss in Boots, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Underworld: Awakening.

Blu-ray Discs (2D): Battleship, Ben Hur, Brave, Cowboys and Aliens, The Hunger Games, Jaws, Jurassic Park Trilogy, Megamind, Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Oz The Great and Powerful (2D), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Dark Knight Rises.

Standard DVDs: The Cave, House of the Flying Daggers, Kill Bill - Vol 1/2, Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut), Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, Outlander, U571, and V For Vendetta.

Netflix, Audio and Video files stored on USB flash drives, and PC hard drive.

2D Viewing Performance

Samsung UN46F8000 LED/LCD Smart TV - Photo - Evolution Kit

Photo of the Evolution Kit provided with the Samsung UN46F8000 LED/LCD TV

Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
I found the Samsung UN46F8000 was an excellent performer. Despite the use of LED Edge Lighting, the black levels were very even and deep across the screen, with no visible white blotching and just minor spotlighting from the bottom left and right corners on very dark scenes.

Color saturation and detail were excellent with high definition source material, such as Blu-ray Discs. Standard definition sources (analog cable, internet streaming, composite video input sources) were softer (to be expected), but the built-in video processing did a better job bringing out detail and sharpness than I have seen on other TVs that I have reviewed recently. Artifacts, such as edge jaggedness and video noise were minimal.

Samsung's Clear Motion Rate 1200 processing provides smooth motion response, although the degree of the enhancement used can result in the "Soap Opera Effect", which is distracting when viewing film-based content. However, the motion settings can be limited or disabled, which is preferable for film-based content. It is bet to experiment with the setting options with different types of content and see what setting works best for your viewing preferences. Also, the settings can be customized for each input source.

3D Viewing Performance

The UN46F8000, as with all Samsung 3D-enabled TVs, incorporates the Active Shutter viewing system. Four sets of glasses and four non-rechargeable CR2025 watch batteries are included (compare prices for replacements). It would have been nice to also provide a USB rechargeable option instead just having to periodically replace batteries.

That being said, I found that the glasses were comfortable and performed well, but some users may notice some subtle flickering as the shutters open and close.

Using several 3D Blu-ray disc movies and running a selection of depth and crosstalk tests available on the Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark Disc 2nd Edition, 3D display capability was very good, with very little flickering (sometimes at the beginning of the viewed content - maybe as the result of the synching process), haloing/crosstalk (white and green appeared to be a little off on the polarity check test, but looked fine in actual real-world content), or excessive motion blurring.

The UN46F8000 also provides several "built-in" 3D content services. One is Samsung's Explore 3D app. This app provides access to a collection of short films (mostly documentaries), as well as some children's programming, that provide a good sampling on how native 3D looks, without having to purchase a 3D Blu-ray Disc player or subscribe to a 3D channel on a cable or satellite service (high-speed internet connection required). If you are not sure about whether you want to take the extra financial plunge into 3D, the Explore 3D app allows you to get your feet wet.

Two other 3D content apps are also available, Yabazam 3D, and, if you check out Vudu, they are also have a 3D content category.

Also, if you do have a 3D-enabled Blu-ray Disc player, check out my listing of Best 3D Blu-ray Discs, which I use in my 3D TV reviews.

One final 3D viewing option provided is real-time 2D-to-3D conversion. The results are not nearly as good as when viewing native 3D content. Although the conversion process does add depth to a 2D image, the depth and perspective is not always accurate. You can use the provided 3D depth and perspective controls, which enable users to tweak the 2D-to-3D conversion effect somewhat. The 2D-to-3D conversion feature should be used sparingly, and is not a substitute for getting the full 3D experience from natively displayed 3D content.

Audio Performance

One big challenge for TV makers is trying to squeeze decent audio from thin profile LED/LCD and Plasma TVs.

Starting with a 10x2 channel built-in speaker system, Samsung provides basic (treble, bass) audio settings and sound processing options (virtual surround, 3D sound, and Dialog Clarity), as well as a setting that compensates for sound quality when the TV is directly mounted on a wall, as opposed to its included stand. Samsung even includes a sound setup option that uses test tones.

However, although the provided audio setting options aid in providing a better sound quality result than I have heard on several other TVs I have reviewed recently, there just isn't enough interior cabinet space to provide a powerful sound system.

For the best listening experience, especially for watching movies, an external audio system, such as a good sound bar, paired with small subwoofer or full system featuring a home theater receiver and 5.1 or 7.1 channel speaker system are the best options.

Smart TV

Samsung has the most comprehensive Smart TV features of any TV brand. Centered around it Smart Hub label, Samsung allows you to access a host of content from both the internet and a home network.

Via Samsung Apps, some of the accessible services and sites include: Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Pandora, Vudu, and HuluPlus.

In addition to content services Samsung also includes access to online social-media services, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and also provides (with via its built-in camera, the ability to make video phone calls via Skype.

Also, access to more content and media sharing apps can be added via the Samsung Apps Store. Some of the apps are free, and some require a small fee or the app may be free, but the associated service may require an ongoing paid subscription.

There is variation in the video quality of the streamed content, ranging from low-res compressed video that is hard to watch on a large screen to high-def video feeds that look more like DVD quality or slightly better. However, the UN46F8000 does a pretty good job suppressing artifacts and noise, and a good high-speed internet connection also helps.

DLNA and USB

In addition to accessing content from the internet, the UN46F8000 can also access content from DLNA compatible (Samsung All-Share) media servers and PCs connected in the same home network.

For added flexibility, you can also access audio, video, and still image files from USB flash drive-type devices.

I found that accessing and playing content from the network or USB port was easy - however, it is important to note that the UN46F8000 is not compatible with all digital media file formats (consult the eManual, accessible via TV's menu system, for details).

Smart Interaction Control

An additional important aspect of the UN46F8000 are its control options, which Samsung refers to as Smart Interaction.

Touchpad Remote: The first stage of Smart Interaction is is touchpad remote. This remote operates in much the same way as a touchpad that you might find on a laptop PC. It features a few dedicated buttons for turning the TV power on/off, accessing the Smart Hub and system menus, changing volume, and scrolling through channels. However, once you get to your desired function or setting options, you must slide your finger on the remote's touchpad to navigate through the more detailed menu selections.

Although I like the idea of a less cluttered remote, and the touchpad was responsive, I also found that the sliding your finger on the touchpad wasn't as precise as I would have liked - Sometimes I found myself jumping around too much or, in the case where I was navigating through horizontal rows of app and movie selections, I would find myself jumping above and below the row I really wanted to be on. Also, with no actual keypad on the remote, getting to other channels took longer as I had to scroll through them, rather than just type the numbers in.

Virtual Remote: Samsung does provide a virtual remote control that displays on the TV screen, but it still isn't as efficient as having a keypad on the remote. I would rather have a larger remote control with both a direct alphanumeric keypad as well as a touchpad that what is provided with UN46F8000. Check out a look of the Virtual Remote interface.

In addition, Samsung also provides control of features (such as volume and channel changing) via either physical hand gestures or voice recognition.

Gesture Control: The pop-up camera provided with the UN46F8000 can be used to "log" your face and limited hand gestures. Surprisingly the facial recognition actually works, but sometimes I did have to repeat hand gestures in order for the TV to recognize them properly. It helps to have a well-lit room so that the camera can easily see your gestures.

Voice Control: I found a similar quirkiness in the voice recognition control features. The voice control can be setup to recognize one of several languages, but it is important to note that you much speak your words slowly, distinctly, and loud enough to be recognized properly by the built-in microphone in the touchpad remote. It also helps if no one else in the room is conducting a side conversation.

As a result, although simple volume up/down voice commands were easily recognized and executed, I found that when using commands to go to different channels, that the TV would not always go to the same channel that I had just commanded - so I would sometimes have to repeat the voice command for it to be executed properly.

S-Recommendation: One last control feature that is provided, with what Samsung refers to as S-Recommendation. This feature calls up a content bar that makes content access suggestions (such as programs, movies, etc...) based on your most recent TV viewing habits. It sort of works like a preset search function for when you aren't sure what you might want to watch at a given moment, but are open to some ideas that you may have overlooked in you manual searching or channel scanning. S-Recommendation can be accessed by the touchpad or via direct voice interaction. Check out a video overview of the S-Recommendation feature.

What I Liked About The Samsung UN46F8000

Photo of the remote control provided with the Samsung UN46F8000 LED/LCD TV

Samsung UN46F8000 LED/LCD Smart TV - Photo - Remote Control

Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
1. Excellent Color and Detail - very even black level response across the screen.

2. Very good video processing, as well as upscaling of lower resolution content sources.

3. Very good, and comfortable 3D viewing experience.

4. Extensive interactive oncreen menu system.

5. Samsung apps platform provides good selection of internet streaming options.

6. Lots of picture adjustment options provided - can be set independently for each input source.

7. Thin profile and thin bezel edge-to-edge screen styling.

8. Built-in Camera for both webcam and control use.

What I Didn't Like About The Samsung UN46F8000

1. "Soap Opera" effect when engaging motion settings can be distracting.

2. Built-in audio system is not bad for such as thin TV, but an external sound system is really needed for a good home theater listening experience.

3. Remote Control features (both phyiscal and virtual) a little quirky to use.

4. Voice and Gesture control not always consistently responsive.

5. Provided base/stand requires surface as large as the TV screen.

6. 3D Glasses do not use a rechargeable battery system.

Final Take

From its stylish edge-to-edge screen design and well balanced stand, to its excellent picture quality, the Samsung UN46F8000 looks great. However, when you add all its features into the mix, this set is even more impressive.

Its native 2D, as well as 3D, performance is excellent. 3D viewing is well complemented by its comfortable lightweight glasses. Also, Samsung's Smart features are the most comprehensive I have seen on a TV.

On the other hand, although its facial and voice recognition features are innovative, they still need a little fine tuning (thank goodness for the evolution kit upgrade option) as I found their response to be somewhat inconsistent. However, with several control options, the quirkiness of some of them doesn't detract from an otherwise excellent performing LED/LCD TV.

To sum it up, if you are looking for the best possible performance, combined with a comprehensive feature package, available in a 1080p LED/LCD TV, and you are not concerned about paying a slightly higher price to get it, definitely consider the Samsung UN46F8000 as a possible choice. Also, even if the inclusion of 3D is not an important buying factor for you, with everything else this set has to offer - it is still definitely worth serious consideration.

For an additional look and perspective on the Samsung UN46F8000, also check out my Photo Profile and Video Performance Test Results.

Compare Prices for the UN46F8000

If you are looking for something larger than 46-inches, this set is available in following additional screen sizes: (55-inches - Compare Prices), (60-inches - Compare Prices), (65-inches - Compare Prices), and (75-inches Compare Prices).

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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