The PND8000 is the top-shelf series in Samsung's 2011 plasma line. It's loaded with all of the company's most advanced performance technologies and features. We have not performed a hands-on review of the PN59D8000, but here is an overview of those features. This 59-inch, 1080p plasma is an active 3DTV, which means the TV alternately flashes a full-resolution left-eye and right-eye image. Active-shutter 3D glasses direct the appropriate image to each eye. Samsung includes one pair of 3D glasses in the PN59D8000 package, and you can now purchase compatible Samsung glasses for as little as $29.99 (with prices up to $129.99 for the sleeker designs). This TV also supports 2D-to-3D conversion.
• Read more 3D HDTV reviews by the staff at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• See more reviews in our Plasma HDTV Review section.
• Look for a 3D-capable Blu-ray player in our Blu-ray Player Review section.
The PN59D8000 employs Samsung's Real Black Filter to cut down on ambient-light glare and improve black-level performance, as well as Local Contrast Enhancer and 600Hz Subfield Motion to improve motion resolution. The TV has integrated WiFi and features Samsung's Smart Hub platform, which includes access to Netflix, VUDU, Blockbuster, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Pandora, Facebook, Twitter, and many more options offered through the Samsung Apps store. Skype is also supported, as is DLNA/AllShare media streaming. A full Web browser is available, and Samsung's RMC-QTD1 dual-sided remote with a full QWERTY keyboard is included. The PN59D8000 has Samsung's +1 design, with a smaller bezel that allows for an additional inch of screen in the same-sized cabinet as last year's 58-inch model. For a plasma display, this TV has a slim profile of just 1.5 inches, and it sports an attractive brushed-metal finish with Samsung's quad stand.
The connection panel includes four HDMI inputs (all side-facing), one component video input (a single mini-jack with a supplied adapter cable), one PC input, and one RF input to access the internal ATSC and Clear-QAM tuners (limited PIP is available). Dual USB ports are available for media playback and accessories like the Skype video camera ($169.99) The PN59D8000 lacks an RS-232 or IR port for integration into an advanced control system.
The setup menu offers a thorough assortment of video adjustments, including: "cell light" to adjust panel brightness; gamma; flesh tone; edge enhancement; digital and MPEG noise reduction; four color-temperature presets, plus RGB offset/gain and 10p white balance controls to precisely adjust color temperature; and three color-space options, including a custom mode in which you can individually adjust red, green, and blue. A 96Hz mode is available for reduced judder with 24p Blu-ray content. The Expert Pattern and RGB Only modes are designed to aid in the video-setup process. Samsung has included several features to prevent or counteract the effects of short-term image retention (a common plasma concern), including pixel shift, a screen saver, a scrolling bar, and the option to use light or dark sidebars with 4:3 content. The PN59D8000 has six aspect ratios, including a Screen Fit mode that displays images with no overscan.
A special 3D setup menu allows you select the 3D mode (off, 2D-to-3D, side by side, top & bottom); enable 3D-to-2D conversion that shows the left-eye image only; and adjust 3D perspective and depth and swap L/R images.
On the audio side, the TV's setup menu includes five preset sound modes, left/right balance, a five-band equalizer, SRS TruSurround HD, SRS TruDialog to improve vocal clarity, and an Auto Volume function that reduces level variations between TV shows and commercials. A new 3D audio effect is available for 3D content.
Read about the high points and the low points of the PN59D8000 on Page 2.