Pam­sung RN55EP8000F 55-inch 3a iea Ts

NOVO - - PRODUCTREVIEW - Michael lsad­ciw

It was in the Aug/Sept 2012 is­sue of CANADA HiFi that I re­viewed Sam­sung’s ex­cel­lent flag­ship PN64E8000 plasma tele­vi­sion. Equipped with many of the lat­est user tech­nolo­gies and de­liv­er­ing one of the finest im­ages avail­able, Sam­sung’s ref­er­ence plasma tele­vi­sion leaves lit­tle to de­sire. It’s no sur­prise that af­ter years of suc­cess­ful prod­ucts and good re­views, the same can be said of the com­pany’s LED televisions. And just so ev­ery­one is clear, and LED TV is ac­tu­ally an LCD TV which uses an LED back­light. The UN55ES8000F, un­der re­view here, is part of Sam­sung’s ref­er­ence ES8000 LED se­ries, and of­fers noth­ing but im­prove­ments over pre­vi­ous year’s gen­er­a­tion, re­viewed in th­ese pages just over a year ago. Re­view­ing this TV felt like meet­ing up with an old friend; we picked up ex­actly where we left off but with a few new sto­ries to tell. The UN55ES8000F re­tails for $2,799 and like most higher-end TVs it of­fers 3D func­tion­al­ity and smart TV ca­pa­bil­ity.

The outer edge of the UN55ES8000F ap­pears al­most iden­ti­cal com­pared to last year’s D8000 se­ries, tak­ing the pic­ture right out to the edge of the frame while keep­ing the depth in­cred­i­bly thin at 3 cm. What’s new for this year is an im­proved base which keeps the TV much more up­right and sta­ble from edge to edge, rather than be­ing sup­ported only from the cen­tre. A cam­era also pro­trudes from the top of the frame for var­i­ous Smart TV func­tions. The con­nec­tions on the back in­clude 3 HDMI in­puts, 3 USB in­puts, a ter­res­trial/ ca­ble RF in­put (and the TOSlink out for OTA), RCA com­po­nent in­puts in­clud­ing au­dio, and a mini-jack for com­pos­ite video and au­dio. The UN55ES8000F has built-in Wi-Fi ca­pa­bil­ity and also of­fers a hard-wire Eth­er­net op­tion for faster and more re­li­able on­line ser­vice. A 62 page printed man­ual is in­cluded in the box but some own­ers might pre­fer the ex­panded E-man­ual ac­cessed di­rectly within the TV’s menu.

Those of you who read the PN64E8000 plasma tele­vi­sion re­view in the Aug/Sept 2012 is­sue, might re­mem­ber the many new con­trols the Smart TV of­fered. This LED set is no dif­fer­ent in that re­spect. It comes with the tra­di­tional and com­fort­able Sam­sung in­frared re­mote with large back­lit but­tons which is best used when not uti­liz­ing many of the Smart TV func­tions. The other op­tion is the Blue­tooth Smart Touch Con­troller which of­fers far more func­tion­al­ity. This new re­mote in­cludes es­sen­tial but­tons for power, chan­nel, and vol­ume up/down as well as some new keys for menu nav­i­ga­tion, voice con­trol, and “slide-and-touch pad” func­tions. To uti­lize its uni­ver­sal re­mote func­tion­al­ity, you will need to use the ex­ter­nal IR blaster (in­cluded) to al­low this Blue­tooth re­mote to send IR com­mands to other com­po­nents. An­droid or Ap­ple de­vices can be used to con­trol this TV as well by down­load­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate app.

The built-in cam­era I men­tioned ear­lier can be used for Skype video call­ing as well as “Smart In­ter­ac­tions” such as voice and ges­ture con­trols. The cam­era rec­og­nizes hand and arm move­ments which al­low you to change vol­ume and chan­nels, and con­trol menu nav­i­ga­tion. As I quickly found out with the plasma TV, this LED TV must be mounted at a height where the cam­era can see you for the ges­ture con­trols to work prop­erly. More specif­i­cally, the TV can’t be mounted too high. In prac­tice, I found the voice and ges­ture con­trols worked quite well for ba­sic TV func­tions. Maybe it’s be­com­ing the old school way of do­ing things, but I did reach for the “sim­ple” re­mote of­ten just to get through items faster. Per­haps the voice and ges­ture con­trols will be more ap­peal­ing to the younger crowd who are al­ready fa­mil­iar with th­ese types of con­trols in their gam­ing sys­tems. Give this fea­ture a few more years to per­fect and I’m sure it’ll be just as ef­fi­cient as the hand-held re­mote. Un­til then, con­sumers have the

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