By Branko Miletic
Samsung has come a long way since it began making noodles and other food stuffs back in the late 1930s, and as if to bolster that point you should check out its latest Series 8 55-inch LCD/LED television.
From the moment you take this 55-inch (140cm) TV out of the box, you know you are in for something special.
First, Samsung has gotten rid of their chrome Octopus stand - yes, it was fun while it lasted, but it was also impractical. The new U-shaped stand is much better looking as well as being more practical, especially if you are like me and have a Wii sensor set up at the front of the unit.
The Full HD 1920 x 1080 TV itself is a behemoth - the bezel is only about 20 mm thick but don’t mistake thin for light- at 20kg this unit has got some solid bones.
Coming with a refresh rate of 60Hz, active 3D glasses and picture-in-picture capability, this Series 8 also has some in-built speakers, which while small, at 20W, the sound is still pretty good.
This is a TV for the bigger room, so with that in mind, watching any action or sport makes the series 8 really the TV of choice, and with its 3D and sound capabilities, plus all those bundled Samsung Apps, this could easily become the central screen in any modern home - especially when you consider that this TV can be networked.
Shipping with 1 x DVI input, 3 x HDMI inputs, 3 x USB ports, 1 x composite Input, 1 x component, 1 x optical (digital out) cable, Ethernet, wifi and being DLNA ready, also means when it comes to attaching a multitude of audio-visual boxes and/or using streaming technology, it is reasonably future-proofed. It has a web-cam on the front which is designed for those Skype chats with the relatives from overseas.
Last, and most unusually, are the two remotes. This has now become fashionable with some TV makers; to provide the normal, garden-variety remote and then a special remote – in this case one that comes with a track pad and a microphone. This feature, according to Samsung, is designed for gesture and voice control of the TV-that means you can control certain features by moving your hands and/or talking. This is just one of the extra features that make this flat screen simple one of the best screens around.
My biggest bugbear was the active 3D glasses. I always find these a pain due to their feel, weight and occasional ‘dead spots’ that pop up if you move your head in the wrong way/direction.
Pros: great pictures, voice control remote, decent in-built speakers
Cons: Active 3D glasses can still be a pain
4.5 Shacks Out Of 5