Active vs passive 3D
The Samsung PS64F8500's pictures are a revelation in both 2D and 3D mode, especially when it comes to their brightness and resistance to ambient light.
Samsung's smart TV engine is miles ahead of the pack in terms of its features, content and sophistication too, plus its sound quality is a cut above the norm, and it seems very fairly priced all things considered.
However, Samsung needs to do more to help users understand all the facets of its smart TV platform. Also, the huge boost in brightness has caused some dither and slight image retention issues, and the set's chassis is much more substantial than that of Samsung's LCD TVs.
The PS64F8500 is easily Samsung's most aggressive assault yet on Panasonic's traditional dominance of the plasma TV market. Particularly remarkable is its brightness, which hits heights never before witnessed from plasma technology.
Couple this with the Samsung PS64F8500's excellent black depths and sharpness levels and you've got a picture of stunning dynamism that makes Samsung's behemoth as usable in a bright living room as it is in a dedicated cinema room.
The set's smart features are unprecedentedly sophisticated too, with the only issues being a little dither noise and momentary image retention.
Best Smart TV platforms
We're still waiting for many of 2013's really large screen TVs to appear, but one alternative you could certainly consider is Samsung's F8000 series. We've tested the 55-inch Samsung UE55F8000 already, but a 65-inch model is incoming with a price of around £3,500 (around AU$5,400 / US$5,334).
Another alternative would be Panasonic's P65VT50 - one of 2012's star TVs that can still be had for some pretty aggressive prices. But you might prefer to wait for its imminent replacement, the P65VT65, which has looked spectacular during previews.