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Although 3D is merely an optional add-on, it's to this mode we headed to first on the Samsung PS51D8000 - and we're glad we did, since it's this plasma TV's strongest point.
With a pair of remarkably lightweight and comfortable SSG-3100GB 3D glasses (sold separately) on, we set about watching a bunch of movie trailers from Smart Hub's Explore 3D app. Consistently clean and with depth effects that are almost always comfortable to watch, the Samsung PS51D8000 produces some of the best value 3D images we've seen so far.
Excerpts from How To Train Your Dragon, Ocean Voyagers and Shrek all displayed bags of colour and life, with only live-action fair occasionally displaying hints of double imaging - and we're not blaming the Samsung PS51D8000 too much for that common phenomenon.
It's motion that the Samsung PS51D8000 deals particularly well with. When the 3D action hots-up and the depth effects in How To Train Your Dragon start to fly, we're not startled, squinting or feeling ill, but genuinely engaged and impressed - and comfortable.
Over in Wonderland, this time from a 3D Blu-ray disc, Alice looks decidedly doubled-up, but the cat and all other animated characters hugely impress in both depth and cohesiveness. The richness of the colours and believability of black zones also impress.
Let's not go overboard on the latter. Although the Samsung PS51D8000's contrast and black levels do increase when the 3D glasses are donned - and in a hugely impressive way - it's partly because the native panel lacks ultimate darkness. There's a definite grey tint to the panel that's especially noticeable when the 3D specs are taken off, which is an inevitable consequence of the Active Shutter system.
However, the plasma panel's extra brightness (relative to earlier incarnations of 3D plasmas) not only provides colours with such a sparkle, but will also no doubt help to tempt shoppers that by intuition pick the brightest TV in the shop.
Those customers who do look twice and plump for this plasma TV will also be buying a screen that handles 2D content well, despite that Real Black Filter not putting the Samsung PS51D8000 up alongside Panasonic's pricier plasmas.
Freeview HD sources look excellent, tight and smooth, with a run-through of our beloved Frozen Planet recorded from BBC One HD seeing the Samsung PS51D8000 showing-off its Full HD panel.
If you're used to watching an LCD TV, you will notice the pixel structure of the plasma panel if you sit too close. Sit where you're supposed to (at least a couple of metres away) and you'll be rewarded by an impressive image, although colours can appear a tad ripe.
We largely relied on the Samsung PS51D8000's movie mode, but did tone down the colour somewhat - it was simply too much for us at its standard setting.
Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and Space.com. He also edits two of his own websites, TravGear.com and WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),