Earlier this year, we extensively tested the JS9000 series from Samsung, the top model for 2015 . This TV has a curved screen but there are still enough consumers who prefer a flat screen. That is why Samsung launched the JS8000 series in September, which consists of only one model; the 55-inch UE55JS8000. This TV has almost the same specifications as the JS9000 series, but without a curved screen.
Samsung JS8000 – specifications
The Samsung JS8000 series is, as said, largely comparable to the JS9000 series, but comes with a flat panel. Samsung only brings this model in a 55-inch format on the market and provides the TV with almost all the latest features and functions.
The UE55JS8000 comes with the high 4K Ultra HD resolution, a quantum dot filter that provides a larger color range, support for HDR material, the new Tizen smart TV platform, an octacore processor, the One Connect Mini. box and of course the Smart Control remote control. In terms of image techniques, the TVs have an 1800 PQI, Precision Black, a 10-bit panel and Peak Illuminator Pro.
This review uses the Marantz UD7007 Blu-ray player, the Marantz SR7009 receiver, a PlayStation 3 game console and Bowers & Wilkins CM S2 series loudspeakers. We also used Netflix for testing 4K material.
Samsung JS8000 – design
The first thing you notice about the design is that this is one of the few Samsung TVs that has a flat screen. The Korean manufacturer chooses this year especially for curved models but saw that consumers still like to go for a flat screen. That is why the JS8000 series was created.
The appearance reminds of the JS9000 series, apart from the bend in the screen. The screen has slim bezels that have been given a brushed steel finish. At the bottom of the frame we see the logo of Samsung, with below it a sunken ledge in which the LED indicators and speakers are located. The foot is taken from the JS7000 series and has been given a T-shape. The foot is completely plastic and does less luxury than the TV itself. But it is still a tight design. The foot also has a conductor for cables.
The UE55JS8000 is equipped with the One Connect Mini box on which most connections are located. So you can connect equipment to this box and you no longer have to be on the back of the TV. The box comes with two USB 2.0 ports, four HDMI 2.0 connections, an optical connection and a connection to connect the box to the TV. On the back of the TV itself we see a CI + lock, a USB 3.0 port, an ethernet port and component and composite connections.
The Samsung UE55JS8000 comes with two remote controls; the standard black remote control with virtually all the buttons you need and the new Smart Remote remote that gives you access to the most important functions with a limited number of buttons and a cursor function. The ‘normal’ remote control feels a bit cheap and does not look very premium, but all important buttons are present and the operation is without problems. You can also go for the premium looking and sensing Smart Remote remote control. It also features a built-in microphone for voice operation and a motion sensor (pointer). With this pointer, elements on the screen can be selected easily and quickly, which is convenient since there are few buttons on the remote control itself. Because of its curved shape and the structure (with notches) at the back it is easy to hold. The buttons also feel solid and high-quality. In addition to these two options, you can also control the TV using the Smart View application for your smartphone or tablet.
Samsung JS8000 – ease of use
As far as ease of use is concerned, we see no differences with the JS9000 series that we have tested before. This TV also comes with the Tizen Smart TV platform and the standard menus we already know from Samsung. These menus are somewhat simpler than last year, with little color and especially a lot of structure. The navigation is smooth and you immediately know where you have to adjust certain settings.
With most options there is a brief explanation of what they contain so that you also know what you are doing when you start playing with the settings. However, there are many submenus for the novice user. You can dive completely into the setting of, for example, the image view, for example to adjust the movement correction or advanced color options. You can of course make it as crazy as you want in terms of settings, but more about this under the heading about image quality.
When you switch on the UE55JS8000 for the first time, you will see the most important settings and options so that you can start immediately. You have to link the network to use the internet services, you can show channels and you have to create a Samsung account to make use of all smart TV options. The navigation within the smart TV platform, called Tizen, also runs smoothly. We did not suffer from lags or delays and there is a clear structure. Also the switching between apps goes smoothly, just like browsing through app lists and menus.
Samsung JS8000 – features
Smart TV platform (Smart Hub)
In the field of smart TV software, a lot has changed at Samsung this year. The Korean manufacturer now uses the Tizen operating system. This software is the future according to Samsung and should also appear on devices such as smartphones, tablets and even printers.
The smart TV platform looks drastically different this year and although we were fan of last year’s software, it must be said that this year is better. The whole platform is a lot simpler, with less advanced pages or options, clear elements and easier operation.
If you watch TV or watch a video (outside of the smart TV platform in Netflix for example) you will get four choices presented by touching the pointer button on the Smart Remote. At the top of the screen you will see an icon that gives you access to a large number of quick settings, including settings for the image and the audio, and also shows a number block with which you can quickly find a particular channel. On the left we find an icon for quickly changing the volume, on the right an icon appears with which you get access to the channels and the guide. At the bottom the icon of the Smart Hub appears.
The Smart Hub is the component that is also drastically minimized. You no longer enter a real hub (read: page) with all smart TV options. Instead, at the bottom of the screen, in a kind of fan / bar, you can see the most recently used apps and inputs and a small block with recommended apps. Click on the small block and you will see a larger range of apps that Samsung recommends.
You can also access the app library from this range. In this library you will find a complete new overview of all available apps, sorted by category. The most popular and well-known apps can be found here, which Pathé Thuis, Nu.nl and Videoland can not find. The offer is very complete and Samsung shows in this area still leading the way.
As you read and see, the smart TV platform has become a lot easier, without extra pages that are actually not needed at all. The Tizen software has a low learning curve and you quickly get to where you need to be for certain functions. If you also want to get an overview of all inputs directly, the source button on the remote control is for that. With this you get a fan at the top of the screen with the available inputs. The Tizen software is reasonably fast and switching between apps is smooth. Unfortunately, the app offer is not yet what we are used to from Samsung, but we expect that this will change rapidly during this year.
We have known Tizen for almost a year but recently Samsung has released a new part of the software; Gamefly. With this streaming service games can be streamed to your TV so that you are not dependent on the processing power of your TV. However, a stable and fast internet connection is required, so it is best to connect the TV to your router via a cable.
That said Gamefly is a very nice and well-functioning addition of the smart TV platform. There are quite a few nice games available that are streamed in sufficient quality towards the TV and only contain a very minimal layer. You can play shooters or racing games without difficulty using a standard USB controller, but it is of course not comparable with a console game. It is a bonus for those who like to play a game now and then. Most games can be tried out briefly and if you want to play for a long time it costs you between 7 and 10 euros for a game pack.
As mentioned above you can operate the TV in different ways; using the normal remote control or the Smart Remote. The Smart Remote has a pointer function and makes it possible to operate the TV by voice.
The pointer function is the most convenient of the two, and is also accurate. By placing your thumb on the pointer button you can quickly select elements on the screen but sometimes, in different applications (including the browser), it takes a while before the cursor has found its place. The cursor also does not work in third-party apps. Some apps simply need to be operated with the arrow keys, which of course is not a problem.
In addition, the Smart Remote has a built-in microphone. This allows the TV to be operated by voice. Unfortunately, this function is not really usable, just like on TVs from other manufacturers. Especially the number of commands then supported and what you have to say exactly is unclear so it is often ‘hit and miss’. It is nice to for example open Netflix by using the command ‘Start Netflix’ but that is why we have had it. Perhaps the most annoying thing is that the function can only be activated via an on-screen menu and not via the remote control. The use is cumbersome, unclear and simply does not really invite you to repeat.
In addition to the Smart View app, you can also use the built-in media player to view photos, movies and music on your TV. This allows you to connect a USB stick or through content streaming from your home network. The support of file formats is reasonably wide. For example, we also see hevc, including for 4K material. We have little to complain about the operation of the media player; the operation is simple and content is displayed without problems.
Like all other software within the smart TV platform, the browser has also been updated this year. Samsung has kept the new browser fairly simple, but we are less satisfied than last year. In particular, the pointer / cursor has difficulty in the browser, when filling in the address and scrolling, making the browser simply less inviting to be used. In terms of speed we have few complaints, but it is a pity that this browser is not an improvement but rather a deterioration.
Samsung JS8000 – image quality
With a TV from this category, it is mainly about image quality. That is why you put so much money for it. In terms of image quality, this model should not be very different for the , but the flat screen will naturally make a difference. The UE55JS8000 features edge lit LED backlighting with pseudo-local dimming, an 1800 PQI, Precision Black and Peak Illuminator Pro, Wide Color and an upscaler that can be used to improve low resolution content.
We almost never go to work with a TV without checking the settings and adjusting them where necessary. A professional calibration is not, you often do not do that at home, but with some small adjustments you can provide optimal image quality.
|Picture mode: Film
Tint: G50 / R50
|Dynamic contrast: Off
Black tones: Off
Skin color: 0
RGB mode: Off
|Color tone: Warm2
Digital Clean View: Off
MPEG noise filter: Off
HDMI black level: Auto
Motion Plus: Custom
Film Black: On
Smart LED: Low
You can take over these settings, but we explain why we made certain adjustments. Samsung calls local dimming Smart LED, which enables or disables specific areas of the backlight independently of each other. We have not completely opened this option because it is too clear with the lighting is played and for example the image around the subtitle is too gray / light. In addition, we set the option Auto Motion Plus to ‘Custom’ and then enable LED Clear Motion. This option provides a slightly smoother and sharper reproduction of fast moving images and objects, without introducing negative effects such as a home video effect. The only small disadvantage is that some people perceive a flicker effect due to this option and that the brightness deteriorates slightly. It remains a compromise. We have turned off the noise and mpeg filters because we are already looking at a good quality source, and we are using Film Black to make black bars above and below films in cinemascope format look really black.
Before we go further into the picture quality we have to mention that this model of Samsung is an SUHD TV and that this means that Samsung uses quantum dots . Put simply, this means that the TV can display a larger color range, something that can be achieved by setting the color range to ‘own’ in the menu. However, the content must also have a larger color range to take advantage of this and at this moment there is no content available with a larger color spectrum than rec709 standard. If you use the larger color range with this content, this will result in a saturated and unnatural display. So it is more a preparation for what is to come.
What we first look at in each review is the general quality of the panel We do this by looking at uniform black and white images, and showing dark images with light objects on the screen. With this, we check the backlight and its uniformity, the black values, clouding issues and possible problems with, among other things, halo effects. Although the image of the JS8000 series is not completely uniform in both a white and black image, we have little to no trouble during normal TV viewing. The brightness is not the same everywhere and this leads to a slightly yellowish display of white in some parts of the screen. Because the LED lighting is on the sides, we also see a slightly gray appearance when we show a black image on the screen. But, in both cases, this is so minimal that we do not suffer during normal TV viewing. Here we see some small clouding issues and around light objects on a dark background a very light haze is visible. Again this is very minimal but must, certainly looking at the price range, be mentioned.
The black values are also impressive. The TV knows black parts of the screen to keep very deep black, even if there are lighter objects within these parts. So it is absolutely good in terms of contrast; even in scenes with, for example, a lot of shadows subtle and dark details remain very visible. As far as the general qualities are concerned, the UE55JS8000 scores more than sufficient, but please note that these issues will fall if you sit far out of the middle of the TV. So the brightness decreases and you see more clearly that you are dealing with lighting from the sides.
When playing back SD content on an Ultra HD TV, there is always a risk of errors in the image. The software itself has to get started to ‘make up’ pixels and thus achieve the high resolution. Samsung, however, is known for having mastered this well and also the UE55JS8000 shows this. The TV is particularly good with SD material and even manages to make it appear quite lively and dynamic, without any noticeable artefacts or noise. It is generally a relatively clean picture, only here and there you can encounter some smeared details in quick movements. With the LED Clear Motion option enabled, fast movements are also perfectly taken care of, but with SD content, the automatic ‘Clear’ option provides a slightly quieter view.
When watching the HD content via Netflix, digital TV and Blu-ray, the UE55JS8000 really shows what it can do. After all, with this content less needs to be done and so the panel can show its qualities. The TV provides a lively picture, with high contrast, deep black values and a natural color reproduction. The details are razor-sharp and the upscaler also does an impressive job here to show subtle details accurately and accurately. In dark parts of the screen (or the scene) a lot of detail is and remains visible, which only attracts more in a film or series. When displaying HD content, especially digital TV, we recommend that you leave the LED Clear Motion option on, since without this option, especially in content where fast movements occur (for example, sport or action), you can sometimes have somewhat stuttering images.
But, of course we have to deal with a 4K Ultra HD TV and therefore 4K content has to be watched. Via services such as Netflix you can already find quite a bit of material, but for the rest it will still have patience. Early next year we expect the first and as a home cinema fan you can release with the high resolution.
Although the content on Netflix is compressed using the HEVC codec, the quality is extremely impressive. Especially the sharpness of the screen, with a natural and dynamic color reproduction, deep black and a convincing display of details. Here and there you can suffer from artifacts because of the compression, but here too you can quickly see through. The processing of fast movements, of the camera or of objects in the picture is almost perfectly arranged in both HD and 4K.
Like the JS9000 series models, the UE55JS8000 has support for . Put simply, this means that the TV has a higher contrast with more color gradations, deeper black levels and more intense whites. The actual brightness of the TV is not particularly high, but the TV can display HDR content. However, the problem is that no HDR content is currently available. We do not expect that until the beginning of next year, with the arrival of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.
The Samsung UE55JS8000 uses the active 3D technique but unfortunately no glasses are included. You have to purchase them separately if you want to view content in three dimensions.
Unfortunately we have not been able to test the 3D display, but we expect that Samsung has invested little more in this area. The chances are that the 3D experience matches the models of last year and that was fine. The development then already stood still. However, the known drawbacks of active 3D are still present. For example, the glasses are pricey, you can have a chance of flicker effects and crosstalk remains present to a small extent.
If we look at the input lag of this TV we may say that we are dealing with a nice TV for gamers. The input lag is 27ms and that is just above average. For this, however, the game mode, found in the system menu oddly enough, must be enabled. The low input lag ensures that the actions you perform with a controller are displayed faster on TV and you can respond better / faster in games where this is of great importance.
Reflections and viewing angles
Where the JS8000 series makes the difference with the JS9000 series are the viewing angles and reflections. Because the panel is flat you have less problems with a small viewing angle and there are also fewer reflections on the screen. From any acceptable angle it is easy to look at the screen. Yes, the brightness and the contrast go back slightly but nothing that we do not find ‘normal’ for a TV. This TV also has a new filter with which reflections have to be minimized and this filter does a great job. Incident sunlight is still clearly visible, but a lamp in the back of the room, for example, is weak and only stands out when you know it.
Samsung JS8000 – audio quality
As with the JS9000 models, Samsung shows with the JS8000 models that flat TVs can still provide excellent audio reproduction. The UE55JS8000 does not have the most advanced or impressive speaker system we have ever seen, but we do not have much to demand for ‘normal’ TV viewing.
The TV provides sufficient clarity in dialogues (and has a special mode to give voices some extra emphasis), offers a wide sound field and provides sufficient power in the low tones to at least keep a series or TV program lively enough sound. Even at high volume, the audio reproduction remains very tight and tidy and, in addition, the placement of the speakers at the front radiates the sound towards the viewer, which naturally has a positive influence on the quality. Also, the TV has a virtual surround mode but you can better ignore it because it negatively affects the audio quality and does not add value.
Samsung JS8000 – conclusion
All in all, the Samsung UE55JS8000 is a TV that we have little to say about. This model has our preference, even compared to the , purely and simply for the flat screen. But, of course, that is also a matter of preference and taste. Apart from some minor issues with uniformity, this TV offers a very good image quality and, moreover, the audio reproduction does not disappoint. The design is premium, although the foot should also be made of metal, and Tizen is a platform that is easy to use and offers plenty of entertainment possibilities. A small point of criticism is that the 3D glasses should have been included in the price of 2,299 euros. Apart from that we can only recommend the Samsung UE55JS8000, although it is a pity that there is only a 55-inch format in the range of the Korean manufacturer.