Samsung PN51E8000 3D Smart Plasma HDTV Review$2,199.00
The PN51E8000 tested with a decent maximum contrast ratio, though it was less impressive than we were expecting from Samsung's flagship plasma. A deep black of 0.06 cd/m2 is okay, but take a look at the chart below. The PN59D7000 (from last year) was much darker at 0.02 cd/m2; Panasonic's flagship, the VT50, was also darker, scoring 0.03 cd/m2. Finally, even Samsung's entry level plasma, the PN51E530, had a deeper black level.
For general purposes, a contrast ratio of 2775:1 is plenty of black/white differentiation on screen. But in theory, the PN51E8000 ought to have tested with deeper blacks. More on how we test contrast.
Color & Greyscale Curves
Take a look at the chart below. The black line represents the E8000's grayscale detail across the light input spectrum. The red, blue, and green lines represent--you guessed it--red, blue, and green. This is a decent performance; your colored lines ramp up in slow uniformity, which will give extra detail to shadow tones--the hallmark of a sound plasma. This is offset by the grayscale detail, which is favoring detail in midtones, and begins to get choppy as gets closer to highlights.
These color curves aren't perfect, but they do complement one another to make for accurate color representation, and to give as much detail as possible across the entire visible spectrum. More on how we test color performance.
The chart below represents how well the E8000 manages its color temperature input across the light input spectrum. To put it more simply, we run this test to determine how well a TV can maintain the 6500° K standard color temperature across the full spectrum of light output.
The clear area around the orange and blue spikes represents the limit of imperceptibility. This is a good result because, as you can see, there's almost no visible error to be had, save at the very darkest input, where it's likely the temperature skews to the warmer side of detail as it begins to favor shadow detail over temperature integrity.
Across the remainder of the spectrum, there's no visible error. This is a good result, and you won't notice a thing during broadcast content. More on how we test color temperature.
The most impressive aspect of the E8000's core performance is right here. We check each TV's color gamut against the rec. 709 standard for white, red, blue, and green, essentially to determine how closely it matches those four points to what is considered "perfect" by the aforementioned standard.
For consumer purposes, and for all possible content viewed, the E8000's color gamut is spot on. An amazing result which we rarely see. More on how we test color temperature.
The Samsung PN51E8000 showed us technology with a good dynamic sense. For plasmas, this means leveling the brightness/darkness of white/black depending on the amount of each hue on screen. The E8000's brightness increased in even integers--about 4 cd/m2--as white decreased in screen real estate by about 10%.
Toss in well implemented auto-dimming on all black screens, and you've got a smart use of picture dynamics. More on how we test picture dynamics.