Samsung UE55ES8000 3D LED LCD TV Review

2D Calibration

Note: Our Samsung UE55ES8000 review sample was calibrated using Calman Professional, the industry-leading video calibration software.


Pre-calibration RGB Tracking
Pre-calibration RGB tracking and delta errors (dEs)

The “Warm2” greyscale preset, which is selected by default in the [Movie] mode, did a good job of producing accurate greyscale, which meant that the picture appeared fairly naturally coloured. If we looked at the screen in a dark environment, black areas of the image had the usual purple-blue glowing that we typically see with LED-lit LCDs. Tests revealed a slight excess of red in other darker stimulus levels (20%-40%). Perhaps Samsung pre-programmed some sort of red bias into the video processor to compensate for the blue tint added by the light source, and over-compensated? Fortunately, the errors aren’t hugely visible or annoying. Accuracy at higher (brighter) levels is excellent. This is a very good result for an uncalibrated HDTV.

Post-calibration RGB Tracking in [Movie] mode
Post-calibration RGB tracking and dEs in [Movie] mode

The Samsung UE55ES8000UXXU has a 10-point Greyscale calibration option, so achieving near-perfection is no big deal. Unlike on consumer Plasma TVs, the Greyscale tracking on this LCD-based screen is highly consistent. As video enthusiasts we love consumer Plasmas for their numerous picture quality strengths, but the fact that Greyscale and Gamma can be a little temperamental on many of them is their “dirty little secret”. LCD televisions do very well in this category, as was evidenced by a playthrough of test sequences specifically designed to sniff out greyscale tracking irregularities.

We measured various types and sizes of greyscale test patterns – full screen, windowed, APL – and the measurements were essentially the same each time, indicating an excellent level of accuracy and repeatability (Remember that we’re using a highly accurate Klein K-10 measuring device). The excess of blue at 10% stimulus sometimes changed, indicating that some sort of dynamic backlight adjustment is going on, but our point that this is much more consistent than most Plasmas remains.

However, being an LCD display, this accuracy is only present in the middle of the screen (some variation to the edges is visible in practice), and can only be seen by the viewer’s eye if they’re sitting on-axis (at 0°) to the panel. So, a Plasma TV could be viewed as less consistent in one way, but not in another – no display technology is perfect.


Gamma curve in [Movie] mode Gamma tracking in [Movie] mode
Gamma curve in [Movie] mode Corresponding gamma tracking

By default, gamma in the Movie mode tracked at around 2.35, which means that the image looked suitably punchy and vibrant in a typically lit viewing environment. The [Gamma] control can be adjusted in the TV menu, meaning that settings such as 2.5 (recommended for darkened viewing environments) and 2.2 (for everyday, slightly brighter rooms) can easily be hit – although they aren’t labelled as such. For consistency with our other reviews, we selected the “+1” [Gamma] setting, which, after calibration, gave us an average gamma of 2.2. The most important thing is that the gamma tracking is linear; the actual target being hit is best decided by the viewing conditions.


Pre-calibrated colour with the default setting of [Colour Space]: “Auto” was good. There’s also a “Native” mode, which, on “old-style” CCFL-backlit LCD TVs tended to produce an exaggerated colour gamut, but due to the gamut limitations that seem to be part and parcel with LED LCD, the setting doesn’t do much on the Samsung UE55ES8000.

Fortunately, the LED light sources present in the ES8000 are mostly capable of fully covering the Rec.709 gamut used in the production of HDTV material. Only blue remains slightly undersaturated after calibration.

Post-calibration CIE chart in [Movie] mode
Post-calibration CIE chart with reference to HD Rec.709
Post-calibration Luminance levels in [Movie] mode
Post-calibration colour luminance (coloured bars = targets; black bars = measured values)

If any of our readers watched the Value Electronics 2012 HDTV shootout in New York (which HDTVTest participated in), then you’ll have seen the saturation tracking measurements used to assess in-depth colour performance on the six tested HDTVs. In the past, we’ve aligned displays (such as some of the later Sharp Quattron LED TVs) perfectly with simple gamut measurements, but have noticed colour skew errors in real-world content. These measurements – which we now have access to (from Calman version 5) – will reveal any of these errors.

Colour saturation tracking
Post-calibration colour saturation tracking

As it happens, the Samsung UE55ES8000 does a highly servicable job here. Most importantly, all of the colours are on hue from 0% to 100% saturation – there are no pinky reds or sickly-coloured greens. Our only observation is that red oversaturates a little quickly.

3D Calibration

For 3D calibration, we attached one of the pairs of supplied active-shutter 3D glasses to the front of our Klein Instruments K-10 meter. Like the 2D mode, the [Contrast] control in the default [Movie] mode is set to 100. In 2D mode, this actually doesn’t cause any clipping in bright areas. In 3D, though, we had to reduce the control to around 68 to recover full white detail without any discolouration in bright areas. We also found that the “Warm2” colour temperature mode, which is usually the most accurate one, presented an image that, when viewed through the 3D glasses, was quite red-tinted. The “Standard” [Colour Tone] setting was the one which yielded a white point closest to the HD standard of D65.

3D Mode Greyscale

3D Pre-calibration RGB Tracking
3D Pre-calibration RGB tracking and delta errors (dEs)

Pre-calibrated greyscale tracking in 3D was mostly accurate, but there was a heavy amount of discolouration present in the higher shades due to the aggressively preset [Contrast] control.

3D Post-calibration RGB Tracking in [Movie] mode
3D Post-calibration RGB tracking and dEs in [Movie] mode

The 10-point Greyscale correction feature is not available in the Samsung UE55ES8000’s extra-dimensional mode, meaning that we had to work with just the standard 2-point controls. This meant that while we reduced errors to imperceptible levels from 30% stimulus and up, we actually made the blue tint at 10 and 20% worse. Errors in shadowed areas can cause larger tints in the image; accordingly, we went simply went back to the default settings and reduced [Contrast] to solve the high-end discolouration we noted above. This gave the best compromise. We present the above result for reference only.

3D Mode Colour

Although the full three-axis colour management menu is present in 3D mode, it shares the same settings as the 2D display mode. As a result, we selected the most accurate preset mode (which is saved independently of 2D/3D), which is “Native”.

3D Post-calibration CIE chart in [Movie] mode
3D Post-calibration CIE chart with reference to HD Rec.709
3D Post-calibration Luminance levels in [Movie] mode
3D Post-calibration colour luminance (coloured bars = targets; black bars = measured values)

Benchmark Test Results

Dead pixels None
Screen uniformity Good for an edge-lit LED LCD
Overscanning on HDMI 0% with “Screen Fit” selected
Blacker than black Passed
Calibrated black level (black screen) 0 cd/m2 (LEDs shut off)
Calibrated black level (ANSI checkerboard) 0.05 cd/m2
Black level retention Auto-dimming with full black screen. Stable otherwise with [Black Enhancer] Off
Primary chromaticity Very Good
Scaling Excellent, smooth
Video mode deinterlacing Very effective jaggies reduction
Film mode deinterlacing Failed 2-2 PAL, passed 3-2 NTSC test
Viewing angle Standard for PVA LCD, colours lose saturation from sides, greyscale takes on mild purple tint
Motion resolution 1080 with [Motion Plus] enabled
Digital noise reduction Very high quality NR, but can’t be disabled unless “Game Mode” is used
Sharpness Defeatable edge enhancement
Luma/Chroma bandwidth (2D Blu-ray) Full Luma, Chroma vertically blurred except in “Game Mode”
1080p/24 capability No judder in 2D, slight judder in 3D
Input lag 31ms compared to lag-free CRT
Full 4:4:4 reproduction (PC) Yes, if 60hz signal and input set to “PC” (on any input)

Power Consumption

Default [Standard] mode (2D) 93 watts
Default [Standard] mode (3D) 124 watts
Calibrated [Movie] mode (2D) 93 watts
Calibrated [Movie] mode (3D) 115 watts
Standby 1 watt

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