Samsung 2016 4K Midrange TV is a great bargain, if you get a good one

It’s really hard to walk into the TV store nowadays and stare at the row of impossibly then sets and not stop on a Samsung 4K TV. Whether really big or somewhat big or even curved, the Samsung TVs are stunning (especially when set on the brightest mode possible for the store environment, eschewing any need for color accuracy).

We got our hands on a 2016 version 65 inch KS8000 model recently and were very, very impressed. Understand, we’ve been watching a Panasonic 2009 Viera 50-inch plasma that’s been calibrated by a famous Florida calibrator named Louis Carliner. He spent two days, literally, making the set look good.

Back then the plasmas had a hard time doing purple. When Louis was done, our TV did purple. It still does. And it does deep blacks, something these back-lit LCD/LED TVs don’t do as well.

The Samsung, however, delivers a wonderful picture, just so much more sharp than the old HDTVs. If you haven’t seen a 4K TV in your home, you can’t appreciate the clarity. Given a good source, like a 4K DVD, the results are simply amazing. The clarity of the opening sequence in the latest X-Men movie is just stunning. It’s so clear we could make out the obvious CGI we missed when we saw the Tobey McGuire Spider-Man movies in the theaters. Man, it’s so obvious. How did we miss it?

On everyday material — Apple TV, FireStick, DirecTV — the Samsung didn’t do a super great job of upscaling the material — meaning it didn’t make us miss the Panasonic as much — but it looks decent enough and after you play with the color controls enough, you can get a somewhat less color-saturated picture. But we’re nitpicking.

The only problem we had with this TV was a rather big one. The TV doesn’t have many attachments directly into the set itself. You’ll plug what the company calls a “One Connect” cable into the back of the TV and the other end of the four-foot cable contains all of your HDMI connections. It’s a neat idea and, in a sense, could future proof  your purchase somewhat.

But the “One Connect” cable didn’t work for us. Source material would blink incessantly while watching it. The 4K DVD player worked exactly once (remember that X-Men scene?) and that was for five minutes. We got a new “One Connect” box and the problems didn’t go away, which led us to believe it may’ve been the display itself.

So the bottom line is this: the KS8000 is a very good TV, and it’s selling now as low as $1,300. We’ve read about some issues with the “One Connect,” but we don’t believe it’s a big enough deal to avoid the TV. And if you’ve not seen 4K, get this and prepare to have your mind blown.

4K HD is here. Do you want it? Do you care?

Like your 1080p television? Good, It’s obsolete and it’s not 3D, it’s 4K HD that’s the culprit.

Yes, as I write, the first sets are available on line and at select retailers. It has a resolution four times that of 1080p sets, or so says the folks who make them. It’s hard to really tell because there is not much content available to watch. Heck, there’s nothing that’s broadcast in 1080p, much less 4K HD.

Sony 84-inch 4K HD TV
Sony 84-inch 4K HD TV XBR-84X9oo

Sony seems to be the first up, promoting  55, 65, and 84-inch screens. Pick the 84-inch screen it has the ability to upscale even low-resolution media to near high-res content. It also has an LED backlit screen controlled by an Xperia Tablet S. No, you cannot download an app to another tablet or a smartphone to control your TV. The included tablet is your only remote. The software works specifically with that remote.

How much? $24,999.99.

The 55-inch runs $4,999, while the 65-inch will set you back $6,999.

Sooo, to get this better picture you will need to upgrade almost everything you own. A 4K movie will fit on a Blu-ray disc but the whole media may change, according to a Sony representative. Even if the content is delivered by Blu-ray, you will need to upgrade your player. If you own a Playstation 3, all you may need is a download which is usually free. That depends if the Playstation’s hardware will allow this upgrade.

Sony also offers receivers and pre-packaged audio systems to handle 4K. There will also be a streaming network with 4K content available.

LG, Toshiba and Samsung will be shipping product soon, but Sony’s lead may be what that company needs to reignite the public’s interest in Sony product.

Or this could be another bust like 3D. Those sets never took off. Buyers have scoffed at the cost of glasses and movies. 4K actually improves picture quality so this may be Sony’s ticket.

Here are the bigger questions: does the public need or even want this tech? Will the public care about this tech?

There a plenty of people who have taken the Hi-Def plunge but have settled for 720p (which is cheaper) over 1080p sets which are now readily available. This 4K is said to be stunning in definition, but a new set, media player and audio system may not be what consumers want to deal with coming out of a recession.

Or maybe it is. There’s a big group of folk itching to buy something. Will 4K HD be that something? We’ll keep you posted.

 

cross@alldaytech

 

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