Until now, if you wanted a large-screen curved TV you had to buy an OLED set at a premium price. Samsung has just launched their line of LED HDTVs and UHD TVs with curved screens and a ton of other features. Samsung’s H8000 series are their high-definition curved TVs, and their HU9000 series are their 4K UltraHD curved screen TVs. Samsung is always striving to stay ahead of the curve, no pun intended, and these fantastic TV’s will do just that.
A lot of movie theatres, particularly the better ones like IMAX, use curved screens in order to create a more immersive experience. Another reason theatres use a curved screen is that it corrects for distortions that can occur closer to the edges of a flat screen. As well, it provides a more even distribution of light across the screen, which creates a brighter and clearer picture, especially for 3D films.
But movie screens are huge compared to TVs so is there really a benefit to a curved TV? Interestingly, old school CRT TVs were slightly curved, but the opposite way with a convex curve. The big improvement for CRT’s was delivering a flatter screen. But even with a perfectly flat screen the corners of the screen are farther away from the eye, which creates a slight trapezoidal distortion called the keystone effect. You don’t really notice it because the brain gets used to it and compensates for it. With a curved screen, there is a lot less to adjust for so the brain adjusts much faster.
A more noticeable advantage of a curved screen is improved contrast and colour accuracy because the screen is able to reduce ambient light reflections. It mitigates reflections from side lighting and tends to reflect light that does hit the screen away from the viewer. This results in less washing out, creating better contrast and colours.
The curved screen, in my opinion, makes for a striking looking TV that just looks very cool. The curve is not huge, but enough to make the subtle improvements mentioned above. Manufacturers will claim that it creates a more immersive and surrounding experience but I believe that is a bit of a stretch, unless you have a really big screen or are sitting very close to it – neither of which is the case with most TVs. A greater immersive experience can, however, be argued in terms of the improved picture quality and depth of field that comes with a curved screen.
H8000 Series – Key Features
In addition to being one of the first LED HDTVs in a curved format, the H8000 series comes loaded with capabilities. The Samsung H8000 comes in both a 55” and a 65” diagonal, so it is nice and big. They are beautifully curved displays that have a matching arch-curved stand specially designed to compliment the screen.
In addition to the subtle improvements in picture quality that the curved screen provides, Samsung has added a lot of technology to make the picture even better. They included two types of dimming, black local dimming and a micro dimming capability, which work together to create even greater contrast, and deeper blacks.
It also has an Auto Depth Enhancer, a technology that instantly analyzes each image and adjusts the contrast further to add even more depth to the picture. On top of that, Samsung included their well-known Clear Motion technology to compliment their 240Hz refresh rate so the picture will remain crystal clear regardless of how fast the action is. Add to that, their Wide Color Enhancer Plus technology for vivid realistic colours that are not washed out at all. Bring all this together with the curved screen for a fantastic HD picture.
Samsung’s H8000 series of TVs are both smart TVs, but not just ordinary smart TVs. Their Quad Core Plus processor is up to four times faster than normal smart TVs so finding content or switching applications is instant. The Samsung Smart Hub is their well-developed interface for finding all the media and entertainment content you want. A really great feature they have added is Multi-Link capability that provides a dual screen so you can search the Internet about a show you are watching while still watching the show. It gives you an endless combination of dual screen possibilities.
The Samsung H8000 is an active 3D set that comes with four pairs of 3D glasses. All the picture quality enhancements I mentioned above help make the 3D experience that much more eye-popping. Because the glasses are light they are very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
Some additional features worthy of mentioning is the H8000 has screen mirroring so you can easily display Smartphone or tablet screen right on your TV. It also has Samsung’s Soundconnect technology, which is essentially a Bluetooth-based capability that enables you to wirelessly connect to external speakers or a sound bar. You can also use the TV for Skype video calling if you buy their add-on TV camera. This camera will also allow you to control the TV with hand gestures, which is a bit gimmicky, but could be fun for a while. You can also use voice commands instead.
HU9000 Series – Key Features
There are not many improvements that can be made to the H8000, but the HU9000 has most, if not all of them. First and foremost, the HU9000 is a 4K Ultra High Definition set, which is a big step up in resolution. A four times increase in the number of pixels, hence that much clearer. Samsung smartly recognized that there isn’t yet the desired amount of 4K content so they included UHD upscaling in the HU9000. Theirs is a proprietary upscaling process that takes SD and HD content and brings it much closer to UHD picture quality. I think this is an essential feature for 4K TVs so you can take full advantage of the wonderous 4K screen.
In terms of picture quality, the HU9000 has all the technology in the H8000 plus an additional Samsung branded “PurColor” technology that adds secondary colours of magenta, cyan, and yellow to the usual primary red, green, and blue colours. This creates an even more vibrant picture that brings out the best in the TV. As a result the HU9000 is one of the best quality LED pictures that you will find.
Another feature that Samsung has added to the HU9000 is the One Connect Media Box (shown at left), which essentially is a stand-alone hub separate from the TV that you can connect all your video components to. I think this simple idea is brilliant as it makes connecting your components so much easier and it leaves the back of your TV clutter free.
Like the H8000, the HU9000 comes in a 55” and 65” model, but I believe Samsung will also be producing a 78” version of the HU9000. If you are wondering about all the other features that the H8000 has – they are also all with the HU9000: Smart Hub with WiFi, active 3D, Multi-Link capability, mobile device mirroring, Bluetooth based Soundconnect, and the beautifully curved screen.
Stay ahead of the Curve
One concern of being an early adopter of the latest TV advancements is that it becomes obsolete or at least not quite as good as the next generation. This is much less of a concern with these new Samsung models because they have included everything you could possibly need in a beautiful looking set with a truly awesome picture. However, just when you thought these TVs truly have everything, Samsung provided insurance in the form of their Smart Evolution Kit. Both of these TVs are enabled for this kit, which is a way to future proof your TV so you don’t have to buy a new one every time Smart TV technology evolves. This kit is a hardware addition that enables you to continually update the Smart TV technology of the set as more innovations happen.
All said, Samsung’s H8000 and HU9000 are both fantastic choices of TV’s to be early adopters for.