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Review: Samsung C9000

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Samsung C9000 review

Samsung’s high-end LED model is extremely thin and actually the slimmest TV on the market at the moment. The C9000 range not only has an extremely slim frame, it also comes packed with all the multimedia functionality from Samsung. The panel is based on Edge LED and also handles 3D.

But how good is the Samsung C9000? It’s Samsung’s most expensive model but can it compare to Sony and LG’s high-end LED models? And what about the 3D picture quality? FlatpanelsHD finds out in this review.

Samsung C9000 is available in 40, 46 and 55 inches called 40C9000, 46C9000 and 55C9000.

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Size:46" widescreen
Resolution:1920x1080
Response time:-
Contrast ratio:-
Brightness:-
Color support:16,7 million colors
Signal processing: 8 for each color
Viewing angles (H/V):178/178
Dot pitch:
Panel type:LCD with Edge LED
Wall mounting: (only on special version)
Swivel stand:
Dimensions (HxWxD): 59.8cm x 96.9 x 3.4cm (without stand)
Weight14.5 kg
Built-in speakers:
Input formats: 480p/i, 576p/i, 720p, 1080i & 1080p (50, 60 & 24p)
Inputs
VGA
DVI (but possible to convert through HDMI)
Audio (type) (Audio in/out)
SCART (1 input)
S-video
Composite
Component
HDMI (4 inputs, 1 HDMI 1.4)
Other
Outputs
Audio (type) (1 output, headphones)
SCART
S/PDIF (optical)
Other
Tuners
Analogue
DVB-T
DVB-T (MPEG4)
DVB-C
DVB-C (MPEG4)
DVB-S
DVB-S (MPEG4)
Other

Price and retailer:

US retailerUK retailer


Our first impressions

Samsung C9000 is the slimmest TV on the market and it is quite an achievement. The metal frame creates a strong cabinet; stronger than you would think when you see just how slim the TV is.

Samsung C9000 review
Samsung C9000 review


It’s not only beautiful from the front but also from the back. It’s completely clean and has no unsightly cables coming out of the cabinet.

Samsung C9000 review
Samsung C9000 review


A cool detail is the slide-out button-bar that is activated by waving your hand underneath the front of the stand.

Samsung C9000 review
Samsung C9000 review


All inputs have been integrated in the stand and the stand is required because most of the electronics have been integrated here. Not just the inputs; but also some of the picture circuits.

So, say you want to wall-mount the TV, then you need to dismount the TV from the stand and attach it to the back. Actually there are two different versions of the TV. One with a fixed stand and one intended for wall mounting. But it’s impossible to wall mount the TV completely flat against a back wall, simply because the stand adds a few centimeters on the back.

Test tools

Our TV signal is DVB-S (satellite) from Canal Digital and DVB-T (terrestrial). We also have an analogue TV connection. Testing is done with the DVE (digital video essentials) and Peter Finzel test DVD. Testing is also done with DVD, TV, Blu-Ray and Media center/PC.

We use our own monitorTest. The software supports some of the traditional test patterns used to evaluate displays as well as some new and unique test patterns developed by the people here on FlatpanelsHD.

Sony PlayStation 3 is our Blu-Ray player.

All contrast measurements are based on the ANSI methodology.

Functionality

Samsung has developed a new Touch Remote that comes bundled with C9000. It has a large touch screen and some physical buttons below.

Samsung C9000 review
Samsung C9000 review


We have already talked about the remote several times but here we give you a short summary.

The touch screen is relatively responsive and well integrated. When activating buttons on the screen the integrated vibrator vibrates.

Samsung C9000 review
Samsung C9000 review


Most functionality is available from the front screen and you can slide to the right to see more options. Actually the Touch Remote has some cool features when connected to a home network. It can serve as a DLNA device, playing video on the small screen and it can also playback live TV broadcasts, by using the extra tuner in the TV.

The user interface is not perfect and some navigation steps are not very logical. Most of the time it is a cool addition but the only problem I – personally – have with touch screen remotes is the fact that you often need to look at the remote each time you have to change something. Luckily, Samsung has integrated volume buttons and channel selectors as physical buttons.

The remote control is by the way programmable and can control other devices. You just need to set up a few things. It even does macros (a series of commands) if you’re into that sort of thing.

If you want to learn more about Samsung’s touch remote see this article: Samsung 9-series launch - with impressions

And if you want a simpler remote C9000 also has this small “stone” remote in the box.

Samsung C9000 review
Samsung C9000 review


The rest of the multimedia functionality is pretty much similar to the other Samsung high-end models. It therefore includes Internet Apps, DLNA, USB recording (in Europe) and USB playback.

For more information on these multimedia features see our Samsung C8000 review.

Calibration settings
The following picture settings options are available: Backlight, contrast, brightness, color, tint, and sharpness.

It also has some Eco modes and in the advanced settings I found: Black tone, dynamic contrast, shadow detail, gamma, Color Space, White Balance (RGB), 10p White Balance, Flesh Tone, Edge Enhancement, xvYCC and LED Motion Plus. Finally, in the picture options menu I found: Color Tone, Size, Digital Noise Filter, MPEG Noise Filter, HDMI Black Level, Film Mode and 200/240 Hz Motion Plus.

The 200/240 Hz Motion Plus also has advanced settings to control the amount of blur reduction compensation and judder reduction compensation.

This is quite cool because in the past Samsung's 200/240 Hz circuits had a tendency to be too aggressive.

You can also select from these picture modes: Dynamic, Standard, Natural, and Movie.

Energy consumption

Below I have measured energy consumption.

Standby0.0 W0.0 W
SD+HD194W132.5 W
3D210 W210 W


After calibration I measured power consumption to 132.5 W. This is higher than most Edge LED based TVs today.

I have also included a 3D energy consumption. In the 3D mode the backlight is often maxed out to compensate for the reduction in light from the 3D glasses. Therefore the 3D mode also typically consumes more energy.

Also, please note that the flat panel TVs uses less power after calibration. This is common on flat panel displays because many picture parameters are reduced during calibration.

Calibration on Samsung C9000

Below you can see an out-of-box measurement on Samsung C9000 in the Standard picture settings without the Eco mode enabled.

Samsung C9000 review


The graph says this:

The number on the left is the delta value. Delta is a difference between two factors; here it’s the difference between the measured color on the panel and the actual color that is our target.

  • A delta value lower that 2 results in a visible deviation from the actual color.
  • A delta value over 4 or 5 results in wrong colors.
  • A delta value between 1 and 2 results in precise but not perfect colors.
  • A delta value lower than one results in almost perfect colors. The target is 0.
  • Everything between 0 and 1 is barely visible to the human eye.

    The out-of-box picture quality is not very accurate and the colors are oversaturated. I measured a gamma rising from 1.8 in the dark grey tones to 2.4 in the bright grey tones meaning that the dark colors on the screen are too dark and the bright colors on the screen are too bright.

    The color temperature was measured to 7909 Kelvin which is typical on TVs today even though it gives a too cold and bluish picture compared to the reference level of 6500 Kelvin.

    Brightness was extremely high too and was measured to 329 cd/m2. This is too high for TV watching.

    I changed to the picture preset called Movie and took a new measurement.

    Samsung C9000 review


    The Movie preset is definitely better but not perfect. The color deviations are still visible but gamma has been improved to between 2.04 to 2.14 which means that the picture is more balanced.

    Color temperature is now too low and we measured 6119 Kelvin. The brightness value is much better for all-round use at 173 cd/m2.

    I wanted to improve picture quality further so I did a calibration on C9000. Here’s my result.

    Samsung C9000 review


    After calibration I achieved a satisfying result. Color deviations are relatively low and gamma is close to 2.2, which means that colors are neither too dark nor too bright. Only the darkest grey tones are a bit too dark.

    The color temperature is also very close to our 6500 Kelvin goal.

    Below are my calibrated settings.


    Picture preset:Movie
    Backlight8
    Contrast90
    Brightness:45
    Sharpness:10
    Tint:G50/G50
    EcoOff
    Black ToneOff
    Dynamic ContrastOff
    Shadow detail0
    Gamma-1
    Color SpaceAuto
    Flesh Tone0
    xvYCCOff
    Color ToneWarm2
    SizeScreen Fit
    Digital Noise FilterOff
    Mpeg noise filterOff
    Film modeOff
    R-Offset26
    G-Offset24
    B-Offset25
    R-Gain28
    G-Gain20
    B-Gain28


    I have reduced backlight for better all-round settings but if you mostly watch TV in the daytime you should increase the settings called Backlight or activate the automatic light sensor in the menus.
    I have also changed the RGB values to improve color accuracy and color reproduction in general and have changed gamma to -1.

    Picture quality on Samsung C9000

    In this section I go through picture quality with the calibrated settings.

    Samsung C9000 has a semi-glossy panel and therefore some reflections. You might experience reflections during the daytime but besides that it’s not that bad. The newer TVs with glass fronts are the ones causing the biggest problems out there. C9000 has no glass front but just a semi-glossy coating on the panel. Unfortunately I didn’t get a shot in a bright living room but below you can see C9000 in a dark room with artificial lighting.

    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    I moved on to look at color reproduction and I saw some problems in our color gradation tests. Our gradients tests showed clear evidence of “bands” in the dark and semi-dark areas, which means that not all colors are perfectly distinguished from each other. Samsung’s C8000 LED model had better color gradation.

    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    SD picture quality is fair but not great. Detailing is above average but not on par with Samsung’s own C8000/C7000 plasma TV or Panasonic’s VT20/VT25 ranges. Also, C9000 is not better than Samsung’s 7 and 8 series when it comes to SD picture quality.

    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    HD picture quality is generally beautiful but not as detailed as on some of the other high-end LED models from Sony and LG, and again we saw no improvement over Samsung’s 7 and 8 LED series. Also, I felt that the black levels were lacking which gave a feeling of less vivid and intense pictures compared for example Sony’s high-end HX909 model and LG’s LE8500 that both feature local dimming. Samsung C9000 had no local dimming. I will get back to black levels shortly.

    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    Response time is fast enough for sports and action movie. Samsung has integrated a limited scanning backlight system. It’s not 100 % the same as on LCD-TVs with backlit LED but a more rough scanning backlight technology. It’s called LED Motion Plus and it reduces blurring on fast motion visibly in practice.
    See the picture below to get an idea of the effect. The 3 pictures have been taken with a Canon EOS with a very fast shutter time.

    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    However, I saw some blurring on very fast motion and C9000 is not as fast as the fastest scanning backlight enabled LCD-TVs or plasma TVs. But all in all response time on C9000 is fast enough for most viewing and. We didn’t see any overdrive trailing either.

    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    I have talked about Samsung’s 200/240 Hz system before and on C9000 it’s called Motion Plus. Personally I prefer to turn it off because it makes pictures look weird as if you were watching a soap-opera. But I also have to point out that Samsung has integrated blur compensation and judder compensation setting options which enables users to adjust and therefore achieve different results with Motion Plus.

    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    Below I have measured black level and contrast.

    Black level0.16 cd/m20.09 cd/m2
    Brightness329 cd/m2125 cd/m2
    Contrast ratio2056:11389:1
    Contrast ratio +/- 100


    After calibration I measured a black level of 0.09 cd/m2. This is not a great result and Samsung’s C8000 range has deeper black. It’s most likely a downside of the very slim design.

    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    Shadow detailing on C9000 is fairly good after calibration but C9000 had a tendency to crush some dark detailing before – and after - calibration. This is caused by the slightly inaccurate gamma.

    But all I all I’m satisfied with the shadow detailing on C9000 and I was able to distinguish most of the dark grey tones meaning that dark movies scenes and dark games are reproduced with a high level of detailing which is important. I only wished that black depth on C9000 had been better.

    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    Below I have examined Samsung C9000 in a completely dark room to see if it has clouding, backlight bleeding or floating black issues.

    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    Samsung C9000 has some clouding in all of the corners and this wasn’t unexpected. Most Edge LED TVs suffer from clouding or backlight bleeding and the very slim cabinet in C9000 leaves very little room for anything; especially homogeneous backlight distribution.

    But I also have to say that I had feared worse clouding on C9000. It is visible in practice but rarely to a point where you get frustrated – at least with our sample.

    3D picture quality on Samsung C9000

    We used the PlayStation 3 and a 3D Blu-ray player to test 3D movies and 3D games.

    I won’t say too much about 3D in general and what you should expect but instead refer to our Panasonic VT25 / VT20 review for a general 3D introduction.

    In this test I want to examine 3D depth, 3D picture quality, 3D crosstalk and finally include a small comparison to some of the other 3DTVs on the market.

    Samsung C9000 is able to pump out enough light to make 3D in bright living rooms possible.

    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    I experienced some crosstalk in 3D games and movies and it has been reduced compared to Samsung C8000 that we tested last year. But even though I experienced less crosstalk, I felt that 3D depth was weak.

    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    In my Grand Canyon 3D test I missed depth in the most impressive scenes and even though the 3D picture quality was acceptable I wasn’t completely impressed and plasma TVs such as Samsung’s own C8000/C7000 range definitely does a better job in terms of 3D depth (it also has less crosstalk).

    The lower crosstalk is positive but most of the time I felt unimpressed with the 3D pictures on C9000 and if you want good 3D picture quality I still advise you to go for the plasma technology.

    PC and Media Center

    The TV supports 1:1 pixel mapping. In order to achieve 1:1 pixel mapping you need to select the aspect ratio called “Screen Fit" in the OSD.

    Viewing angles

    The viewing angles are not very wide and we experienced changes in color intensity from relatively narrow angles. Images tend to look “dead” and greyish from wide angles and you should strive to sit right in front of the TV.

    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    We recently discovered that Sony’s HX909/HX900 range has no drop in contrast from angles and we had hoped to see similar results from Samsung’s high-end C9000 model. But unfortunately contrast – and therefore black – is also reduced significantly from an angle. See the picture below.

    Samsung C9000 review
    Samsung C9000 review


    Sound quality

    The speakers are not integrated in the actual TV but instead in the box below the TV.

    The speakers aren’t fantastic but actually a bit better than most speakers in very slim TVs. Bass is obviously nowhere to be found but human voices are clear and distinguishable.

    For movies, music and games I recommend separate speakers.

    Conclusion

    Samsung C9000 has a beautiful design and no other TV is as slim as the 9 series. Small details such as the sliding touch sensitive button bar, adds to an experience of a very gorgeous and extremely thin TV. Yet it’s packed with all the functionality that you know from other Samsung TVs such as Smart TV internet, DLNA, USB recording (in EU) and Apps. The only real problem with the design is the fact that you need the stand for wall mounting.

    Picture quality on C9000 is good but not great. It leaves room for improvement and it’s actually not 100 % on par with the cheaper C8000 and C7000 ranges. Samsung has indeed sacrificed something to make it this thin. Nevertheless, you can get pretty accurate colors from the TV and HD pictures are beautiful.

    We did see some clouding, even though it was softer than feared. The response time is fair but black levels are not very deep and not nearly as good as on other LED models from Samsung. The 3D pictures looked all right and crosstalk has been reduced compared to the first Samsung 3D models but 3D depth was not great.

    That leaves us with a TV that is gorgeously beautiful and is packed with great media functionality. And if you were looking at this TV in the first instance you obviously also focus on aesthetics, as it is an important factor to consider when comparing the price on C9000 (it has been reduced significantly lately) to other expensive TVs. However, C9000 is not Samsung’s best TV in terms of picture quality and it’s not comparable to the most expensive models from for example Sony such as the HX909/HX900.

    Price and retailer:

    US retailerUK retailer


    HD picture qualityPicture quality not comparable to high-end TVs Living room
    Good Smart TV interface Viewing anglesHome Cinema
    Relatively accurate colorsReflections in bright rooms
    DesignClouding
    Innovative Remote controlCrosstalk in 3D pictures
    Black level



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    Samsung C9000 debate

    For questions and comments please visits this thread in our forums: Samsung C9000 debate




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