Samsung ps64d8000

The PS64D8000 ships with just a single pair of Samsung's comfortable active shutter 3D glasses. This seems miserly for a high-end TV, but then the PS64D8000 is a grand or so cheaper than Panasonic's line-leading TX-P65VT30B, a saving that could buy you 10 extra pairs of specs.

The PS64D8000 carries Freesat HD and Freeview HD tuners, Real Black Filter technology to boost black levels and the very latest version of Smart TV, which includes a web browser and Skype.

Connections are comprehensive and include four v1.4 (3D-ready) HDMIs, two USBs, an Ethernet port, built-in Wi-Fi and a D-Sub PC port. The USBs can be used to record to removable hard-disk drives from the digital tuners, or for playing video, photo or music files from storage devices.

The Ethernet/Wi-Fi options give you access to Smart TV, the open web browser and also enable you to access (via Samsung's Allshare system) content on DLNA-capable PCs, with the number of file formats covered being enough to satisfy the vast majority of users.

Smart TV is impressively wide-ranging. A Recommended section provides instant access to key stuff like LoveFilm, the BBC iPlayer, Skype, the AceTrax movie rental/purchase streaming service, 'Social TV' (Facebook and Twitter predominantly) and Samsung's recently released Explore 3D channel. This contains a selection of (currently free) 3D content for streaming into your TV, and its content level has grown substantially even in the past few weeks.

Much of the content – which chiefly comprises film trailers, kids shows, music videos and documentaries – is obscure, but some of the documentaries are often worth watching for their 3D visuals, if you can tolerate their often eccentric presentation.

It was notable during this review that the 3D images seemed to stream much more stably than they did on, say, the PS51D6900, suggesting that Samsung has recently improved the infrastructure of its online delivery systems.

There's also a separate Video section that seems to be a social networking tool focused on films, but the bulk of the Smart TV content (in terms of volume, at least) is the Samsung Apps section. This had around 60 applications, many of which are likely to be of limited interest to most people, but there are a few gems such as YouTube, Picasa and the vTuner Internet Radio system.

The comprehensive picture calibration options include colour space adjustment, the ability to change the offset and gain of the red, green and blue colour components and 10-point white balance adjustment.

There are also picture processing tools on offer for those not afraid or philosophically opposed to experimenting with them, including digital and MPEG noise filters, and Samsung's take on the now near-universal '600Hz Sub-field Drive' technology that pulses each plasma cell repeatedly for each frame of image data to boost brightness, stability and motion fluidity.

It's surprising that Samsung hasn't pursued THX or ISF certification for this flagship set, but it's reasonable to suppose that support would have been granted had it done so.