Samsung's UE60D8000 is a stunner. This late addition to the D8000 range not only offers a huge screen size, its styling is also incredibly luxurious. It boasts one of the narrowest bezels we've seen on an LED set.
It's loaded with all the high-end features you'd expect on a flagship model, including active 3D support, Smart TV features and LED backlight dimming.
If you're going to spend £4,000 on a TV you'll want it to be perfect in every department, so can the UE60D8000 live up to expectations?
User interface and EPG
The menu system Samsung has added to this TV is probably the best we've seen on any television. It matches colourful and friendly icons with lush animations to create a slick user experience. Call up the main menu and you'll find all the settings for channels, pictures, sound and networking.
You're given comprehensive control over the picture settings in particular. Along with the usual colour, brightness and contrast controls, there are a huge number of more advanced settings including gamma controls and white balance adjustment.
Like LG's latest TVs, this one has a home screen that's accessed via the Smart Hub button on the remote. This groups together stuff like Internet apps, the AV input selection tool, electronic programme guide (EPG) and digital media playback features into a single colourful and welcoming interface.
The EPG is top class. It has a video window in the top left-hand corner with a summary of the currently selected programme shown next it. Below this, the main EPG grid shows six channels worth of programming data in a large and clear font. The design is lush and looks a lot more classy than the EPGs you'll find on many other high-end sets, especially those from Panasonic.
Digital media and Internet features
When it comes to Internet features, this TV ticks all the boxes. Hit the Smart Hub button on the remote and you're presented with a large number of Internet apps arranged across a virtual shelf. These includes apps for on-demand services such as the BBC's iPlayer, YouTube and Dailymotion, as well as movie rental offerings from Acetrax, LoveFilm and Blinkbox.
There are also apps for Facebook and Twitter, as well as a number of news services and a heap of games. As the TV has an onboard app store, you can add or remove apps as you go. All of the apps currently available seem to be free, but paid-for options might arrive in the future.
Like LG's latest TVs, this model includes a full Internet browser that does a good job of rendering pages, but sadly it lacks Flash support, which means you'll have trouble viewing videos on some sites.
The set comes up trumps on the digital media playback front. You can either play files locally from a hard drive or memory key via one of its USB ports. Alternatively you can stream files across a network from a PC or laptop using either Wi-Fi or the set's Ethernet port.
This model supports standard DLNA servers, so it works with most NAS drives as well as PCs. Format support is excellent. It'll happily stream HD MKV files as well as DviX and Xvid videos.
Design and connections
Despite the narrowness of the chassis, Samsung hasn't compromised when it comes to the range of inputs on offer. As with many of today's large screen TVs, it's got four HDMI ports, along with a set of component inputs, one of which doubles-up as a composite input, if needed.
There's also a VGA socket, three USB ports and an Ethernet socket. If you'd prefer not to use a wired connection to the TV then you can hook it up to your router via the onboard Wi-Fi.
On the back panel you'll find both a standard RF connector for hooking it up to a normal terrestrial aerial when you're using the Freeview HD tuner, as well as an F-connector, so you can connect a dish to the set for the Freesat HD tuner.
Slimline sets such as these usually have all the bass presence of a set of headphones bought from a 99p store. That's thankfully not the case here as the UE60D8000 actually produces pretty strong and muscular audio for such a thin model.
The speakers sound quite open and clear and the soundstage offers up a decent amount of width. Even when you push the speakers quite hard on the volume front, distortion only very rarely rears its head.
The 5-band equaliser gives you a fair amount of control over the frequency balance of the sound and Samsung has included pseudo-surround sound effects including SRS TruSurround HD; this does a good job of adding more width to the soundscape the TV creates.
2D picture quality
This set's huge 60-inch panel uses edge-mounted LED backlighting, with dimming technology to help it produce better black levels. It has Samsung's 800Hz Clear Motion system, which combines 200Hz processing with frame interpolation technology and a scanning backlight to arrive at the 800Hz figure.
We've got to say that the standard picture presets weren't particularly to our taste. They tended to err a little too heavily towards the red end of the colour spectrum and also overdid the brightness levels. However, it was relatively easy to sort this out via the TV's comprehensive picture controls.
There's no doubt that the screen is exceptionally bright for such a large display, and this really helps to make colours look very dynamic and in your face. Thankfully this brightness is also matched by extremely dark and inky black levels, which helps this model produce astonishingly rich levels of contrast.
HD pictures are incredibly sharp. The TV does a good job of upscaling standard definition sources -- something that's not easy on a screen of these gargantuan proportions.
Unfortunately things aren't completely rosy in the 2D picture garden. When it comes to backlighting, this model suffers from the same issue that we saw on Samsung's other high-end set, the C9000.
The backlighting is just not as consistent as we would have liked. When images on the screen darken towards black -- say, during title sequences -- you can see misting in the dark areas of the picture where the backlight is bleeding through. This happens not just on the four corners of the screen, but also at the lower-central section.
It's a common problem on edge-lit LED screens and not noticeable when you're watching brighter material. But it's a tad annoying to see it considering that this set will set you back a full four grand.
3D picture quality
The UE60D8000 uses active 3D technology and Samsung's new active glasses rely on Bluetooth rather than infrared for their timing signals. This means that glasses from older Samsung sets won't work with this one. That's annoying to say the least, especially as the active glasses will set you back around £100 each.
The good news is that there are two pairs included with the TV. Samsung's active specs are thankfully a good deal lighter than those supplied with Panasonic and Sony models. As a result they're more comfortable to wear. They also don't seem to cause as much flickering to be seen when there's ambient light near the screen.
This set's 3D images really do benefit from the big screen size. It helps to suck you into the 3D effect, making it a much more immersive experience. What's more, the high brightness levels that this TV's LED backlighting is able to produce helps to negate much of the dimming effect of the active specs. The resulting images retain virtually all of their punch and vibrancy.
However, as with a lot of LED 3D sets that we've had in for review, this model does unfortunately suffer a bit from crosstalk. This manifests as ghosting in the image, especially on sharp lines in the mid and far distance. Ironically, this set's larger screen size makes the problem more noticeable. By no means does it completely spoil the 3D experience, but it's much more prominent here than on the large screen 3D plasmas that we've tested.
Samsung really has done a great job of making the UE60D8000 look supremely stylish, to appeal to the premium buyer. It boasts excellent Internet features and media streaming capabilities. For the most part, its pictures are top notch too. Unfortunately some crosstalk on 3D pictures and backlight inconsistencies mean that it misses out on our top mark.