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Samsung UE60D8000 review

LED TV is the ultimate mix of Smart technology and picture performance

Samsung UE60D8000
The D8000 Series from Samsung may be pricey, but the picture quality is near faultless

Samsung smart hub

As you'd expect from a brand's flagship TV, the UE60D8000's spec sheet is longer than War and Peace. Every possible feature is ticked. In fact, it takes a while to get to grips with everything this screen can do.

At its most basic, the UE60D8000 is a 60-inch edge-LED set with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution and Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners. Playback naturally includes 3D in all manner of flavours (frame-sequential, side-by-side, etc), plus 2D-3D conversion.

The silicon onboard is the best that Samsung has to offer. Pictures are scrubbed up by its proprietary 3D HyperReal Engine, and the set claims a Mega Contrast ratio, which I guess implies it's so high that the R&D boffins can't measure it.

Connectivity is good. Four HDMI inputs, plus component and D-Sub, is enough for all but the most overladen of kit racks. And cabling can be simplified by using the Audio Return Channel (ARC) if you want to hook the TV up to a home cinema system.

On the Smart side of things you get an Ethernet port and a trio of USB inputs. In many setups the Ethernet will remain unused as the UE60D8000 features built-in Wi-Fi. The USBs are for media playback from storage devices and recording/timeshifting broadcast telly. Personally, I think three is a bit of an overkill; I would rather have a pair of USBs and an SD card slot - the latter for quick viewing from cameras and camcorders.

Other jacks include an optical audio output for non-HDMI sound systems and two RF inputs to feed the double tuners.

Of course, the UE60D8000 offers more than just TV viewing. It's branded a Smart TV, and offers Samsung's full suite of connected features, including its App store, VOD services, full web-browser and AllShare media streaming.

These features are accessed from the Smart Hub, a gorgeous hi-res colour user-interface packed with icons. It's certainly handy having all these bonus bits accessible from one location, but it can seem a little overwhelming. At least there's a PiP window so you can continue watching television while you zip around the menus.

Now that Samsung's Software Development Kit (SDK) is open to everyone, its App store is filling up. No other Smart TV platform has as much on offer. Quantity doesn't always equal quality, however, and some of the apps are, to be fair, kind of pointless.

One that I stumbled upon, called Funny Sounds, uses a garish, cartoony interface and lets you call up around 30 different bizarre noises, ranging from gunshots to drum-rolls and, er, farts, with each accompanied by a cutesy animation. Does Samsung quality control these apps before unleashing them? I wonder...

However, amidst the dross you'll find genuinely useful apps like Google Maps and AccuWeather, so it's worth having a browse and downloading these goodies - and checking back often to see what's been added.

As for Video on Demand, Samsung has inked deals with both LOVEFiLM and Acetrax, meaning new movies can be streamed direct to the set. Both these require a subscription; free VOD is provided by BBC iPlayer and YouTube, amongst others. There's even a selection of free 3D content in the Explore 3D app. Accessing this begins with a warning that a 'high-speed' 'net connection is recommended for seamless playback. Take this warning seriously - my network proved to be below the UE60D8000's tastes, resulting in a few crashes while trying to view 3D trailers.