Fed the right sources and given a few tweaks, the UE65C8000 delivers a picture that is, at times, jaw-dropping. Contrast levels are excellent, colours are punchy and bright but still natural, and it resolves fine detailing with pin-point accuracy. HBO war drama, The Pacific (on Blu-ray), is an excellent test disc, and the Samsung lapped it up.
TV material it may be, but it's very cinematic in tone, and the UEC658000 displays every subtle colour tone, razor-sharp edge and shadow detail without imparting any unwelcome imprint of its own on the picture.
However, to get these results you will have to spend a few minutes fiddling around in the picture menus. Alarmingly, all the UE65C8000's picture presets (Dynamic, Standard, Natural and Movie) come with MotionPlus technology activated to a greater or lesser degree. This adds an artificial smoothness that film fans will spot straight away.
It can be switched off in the menus and while you're there you may as well turn off the glowing Samsung logo in the bezel, which despite looking neat, can be distracting when watching a movie in low-lighting.
Of course, if you are a fan of motion-smoothing technology, MotionPlus is very powerful and doesn't introduce much in the way of artefacting.
Another thing we noticed is that the UEC658000, out of the box, displays reds that are somewhat orangey. But altering the colour temperature in the advanced settings menu can rectify this somewhat.
It is also possible to see lighter patches around the edge of the screen when a bright, centralised image appears on a black background (the opening credits to a movie, say). This is caused by the side-firing LED backlight that enables the TV's eye-catching thinness.
TV broadcasts – including Freeview HD – from the in-built tuner are less impressive than full HD Blu-rays. It's not poor quality, and the tuner appears up to the job technically, but it will seem disappointing after you've feasted on 1080p. SD pictures are characterised by softness and colours that are less well resolved, but processing artefacts are kept to a minimum.
The Samsung's 3D performance, is, like its 2D playback, very impressive indeed. Monster House on full HD 3D Blu-ray is stunningly sharp, bright (even with the glasses on) and packed with detail and contrast.
The overall experience is a delight, as the sheer size of the panel really boosts the effect of 3D. With more of your field of vision filled by the image, it becomes so much more involving. Certain sequences in Monster House show real depth, especially in the background.
The 3D pictures are not without their flaws, though, with crosstalk obvious on some occasions. However, it's not entirely clear whether this is introduced by the TV's own 3D processing or by the source material. The effect is most visible when the image is paused – it's often less clear with the movie playing – and creates a general shimmering. It can be distracting, but not disastrously so.
While some will dismiss the 2D-3D conversion as a mere gimmick, it does have its benefits, providing you limit it to an HD diet. Standard-def material simply doesn't provide the TV's processing with enough to work with and the results are messy and barely resemble 3D.
However, it can reap rewards with Blu-ray. Planet Earth, for instance, proves a good match, with the Samsung adding a genuine sense of depth to the already breathtaking visuals. So, while it's a feature you shouldn't rely on too much, it's better to have the option than not.