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Reviewed on Nov 16, 2016

Samsung KU6500 TV REVIEW

This tv was replaced by the Samsung MU6500

Type : LED
Resolution : 4k
Refresh Rate : 60 Hz

The 4k UHD Samsung KU6500 offers good picture quality when viewed from directly in front, but this degrades when viewed at an angle. It is almost exactly the same as the Samsung KU6600, and the Samsung KU6300 (but with a curve). It performs best in a dark room due to the good native contrast ratio. Unfortunately it is average at handling fast motion and although it supports HDR10, it doesn't really benefit from the extra information.

Test Results
Design 8.5
Picture Quality 7.3
Motion 6.0
Inputs 8.2
Sound Quality 6.1
Smart Features 8.5
Pros
  • High native contrast results in good dark scene performance
  • Feels responsive
Cons
  • Image loses contrast at an angle
  • Some dirty screen effect
  • Doesn't deal with reflections well

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Summary

  • 7.4 Mixed Usage
  • 6.8 Movies
  • 7.1 TV Shows
  • 7.2 Sports
  • 8.3 Video Games
  • 7.1 HDR Movies
  • 7.9 HDR Gaming
  • 6.9 PC Monitor
Mixed Usage 7.4

Good TV for mixed usage. Picture quality is good, and so is dark scene performance. No features such as local dimming to improve it further. Picture quality degrades when viewed at an angle. Motion handling is above average for fast paced content.

Movies 6.8

Average for watching movies in a dark room. Picture quality is good, but degrades when viewed at an angle. High native contrast ratio but lacks local dimming feature to improve dark scene performance further. Those sensitive to judder will notice it when watching movies.

TV Shows 7.1

Slightly above average for watching TV in a bright room. Average at dealing with reflections. Whole screen can't get bright to fight glare. Picture quality is good, but degrades when viewed from an angle. Smart platform works well for watching media or files on a USB.

Sports 7.2

Above average for watching sports. Picture quality is good, but degrades when viewed at an angle. Motion blur is slightly better than average. Whole screen can't get bright to combat glare.

Video Games 8.3

Great for console gamers. Input lag is low across all sources, which is great. Picture quality is good. Motion blur is average, which should be ok for most people.

HDR Movies 7.1

Supports HDR10, but can't really benefit from it. Good picture quality but doesn't support a wide color gamut or high peak brightness to take advantage of HDR content. Lacks local dimming.

HDR Gaming 7.9

Supports HDR10 and can activate game mode for low input lag. Picture quality is good but doesn't benefit from the extra HDR information. Can't display a wider range of colors and can't get very bright highlights.

PC Monitor 6.9

Good PC monitor. Supports a wide range of resolutions with chroma subsampling for clear text. Feels responsive with low input lag. Picture quality is good and motion handling is average.

Compared to other TVs

Top left: Samsung KU6300 (UN55KU6300). Bottom left: Samsung KU7500 (UN55KU7500). Middle: Samsung KU6500 (UN55KU6500). Top right: Vizio M Series 2016 (M70-D3). Bottom right: Sony X700D (XBR55X700D).  Unlike our other photographs, this picture wasn't taken under a controlled environment, so do not draw conclusions from it.

The Samsung KU6500 provides good picture quality, especially in a dark room, but unfortunately it is priced well above the competition. As a result it is up against some higher end TVs, with additional features to improve the picture quality. Keep this in mind when viewing our recommendations below.

Test Results

Misc
Power Consumption : 50 W
Power Consumption (Max) : 170 W
Firmware : 1142

Thickness
Max Thickness : 3.46" (8.8 cm)

The curve of the TV makes it appear quite bulky from the side. It will stick out a bit if wall mounted.

Borders
Borders : 0.71" (1.8 cm)

The borders are an average thickness, and there is some space between the edge of the border and the start of the picture.

8.8 Contrast
Native Contrast
:
5015 : 1

The native contrast ratio is good on the KU6500. The blacks look deep and should provide a very good dark room viewing experience.

7.0 Reflections
Reflection
:
2.4 %
Screen Finish
:
Semi-gloss

The TV is average at dealing with reflections. It has a semi-gloss finish which diffuses reflections on the screen. This does make them appear larger, but reduces their intensity. The curve of the TV also distorts the reflections, which can be a good thing depending on where the ambient light is coming from. It is not a problem for a room with some glare but may be an issue in a bright room.

Pixels
Rear Inputs

All inputs are located on the side of the TV.

Side Inputs
Remote
Remote : Smart

The remote is identical to other TVs in the Samsung KU6* series, such as the K6250, KU6300 and KU6600. It works well and is easy to use.

9.4 Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
:
0.717 %

Black uniformity is very good and is comparable to what you get on the flat version, the KU6300. Some really faint clouding can be seen on our test picture, but nothing at all can be seen when watching movies or normal content.

8.3 Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
:
19.8 ms
1080p With Interpolation
:
116.8 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
:
116.8 ms
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
:
36.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz
:
19.7 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
:
37.8 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
:
20.1 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
:
36.5 ms

The input lag is low across all sources when using the 'Game' picture mode, which is good. Changing the input icon to 'PC' to enable chroma subsampling increases the input lag, but this is still quite a good result. This is similar to other Samsung TVs such as the KU6300.

7.4 Motion Blur
Response Time
:
20.4 ms
Overshoot
:
0 ms

The response time of the KU6500 results in below average motion blur following moving objects. This is better than most TVs and should be ok for most people, but may be an issue for fast paced content. It is also about the same result as the KU6600 and KU6300 TVs. The PWM flickering of the backlight can be seen in the duplications following our moving logo.

4.3 Viewing Angle
LCD Type
:
VA
Color Shift
:
26 °
Brightness
:
31 °
Black Level
:
20 °

When viewed at an angle, the contrast of the image is reduced and colors lose accuracy. This is a very similar result to other VA TVs, even the high end Samsung KS* Series. This is okay for fairly narrow seating, but may be distracting for those who regularly watch from an angle.

Update: We have changed the methodology of testing. Since this is an old TV which we don't have anymore, we extrapolated the results.

6.8 Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
:
3.748 %
50% DSE
:
0.205 %

The gray uniformity is average and the result is very similar to what we had on the KU6300. All borders are darker leaving the center a bit more warm than the rest of the screen. Some horizontal bands are visible, but overall the center of the screen is smooth. Dirty screen effect is visible, but should not be so distracting.

Apps

The Samsung app store provides access to the most popular content such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video and Vudu. In general they work well and are stable.

Back
Wall Mount : VESA 400x400

The back of the TV is textured with plastic corrugations. This doesn't look as good as higher end models but the inputs on the side are fairly easy to access, even if wall mounted. It is the same back as the KU6600.

Stand

The central stand supports the TV well and has a small footprint which is ideal for those with smaller tables. It looks the same as the KU6300.

Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 12.6" x 33.1"

0 3D
3D
:
No
3D Type
:
No
2D to 3D
:
No

The KU6500 doesn't support 3D.

8.0 480p Input

Low quality content such as DVDs or cable TV are upscaled well. Most of the details is preserved, and the image doesn't appear too soft.

8.0 720p Input

720p content looks quite good. Some halo artifacts can be seen along edges, but the image isn't too over sharpened.

9.0 1080p Input

1080p content such as Blu-rays look good. The image remains clear and sharp.

10 4k Input

No issues can be seen in the native 4k content.

0 Local Dimming
Local Dimming
:
No
Backlight
:
Direct

There is no local dimming feature on the KU6500. The 'UHD Dimming' which is advertised is a frame dimming feature, which can only be disabled by activating PC mode. It reduces the whole screen brightness when the scene is mostly dark.

7.5 HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
:
364 cd/m2
HDR Peak 2% Window
:
188 cd/m2
HDR Peak 10% Window
:
333 cd/m2
HDR Peak 25% Window
:
400 cd/m2
HDR Peak 50% Window
:
400 cd/m2
HDR Peak 100% Window
:
400 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 2% Window
:
188 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 10% Window
:
333 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 25% Window
:
400 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 50% Window
:
400 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 100% Window
:
400 cd/m2

The peak brightness of small windows is reduced by the 'UHD Dimming'. The effect of this is reduced in 'Movie' mode but the only way to completely disable it is to switch to a 'PC' icon. When in PC mode, the screen brightness is 400 and remains the same at all size windows

The peak brightness stays relatively the same whether HDR is active. This can be seen as a good thing since most of the TV content is in SDR.

7.7 Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
:
4.87
Color dE
:
3.48
Gamma
:
2.16

Prior to calibration, the white balance is a bit off as the image is slightly too warm. The gamma tracks close to the desired 2.2 value, which is good. For most people a calibration is not necessary.

9.8 Post Calibration
White Balance dE
:
0.28
Color dE
:
0.46
Gamma
:
2.19

The TV adjusts quite well using the inbuilt 2 and 20 point white balance. All minor issues are resolved, and the colors appear very accurate. You can see our recommended settings here.

6.8 Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
:
No
DCI P3 xy
:
75.92 %
DCI P3 uv
:
82.29 %
Rec 2020 xy
:
54.47 %
Rec 2020 uv
:
60.01 %

Unlike the KU7500, this TV doesn't have a wide color gamut. The colors of this TV are suitable for SDR content, but cannot display more saturated images for HDR content.

6.0 Frequency Response
Std. Dev. @ 70
:
4.93 dB SPL
Std. Dev. @ 80
:
5.13 dB SPL
Std. Dev. @ Max
:
6.75 dB SPL
Max
:
89.6 dB SPL
Low-end Cutoff
:
135 Hz

Average performance. Frequency response is decent, although at higher volumes pumping and compression will be present. Low-end cutoff is rather poor, even for a TV, but it does get loud enough for most situations.

6.1 Total Harmonic Distortion
Distortion @ 70
:
0.025
Distortion @ 80
:
0.031
Distortion @ Max
:
0.117

Average harmonic distortion performance. The amount of harmonic distortion produced at lower volumes is decent, however, at higher volumes there is a notifiable increase in distortion, mostly in the mid-range.

8.0 Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
:
No
4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
4k @ 60Hz
:
Yes
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes

To accept a high bandwidth signal such as 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4, it is necessary to enable 'HDMI UHD Color'. This is only possible on HDMI1. Change the input label to 'PC' to accurately display chroma subsampling for PC use.

0 24p Playback
Judder-free 24p
:
No
Judder-free 24p via 60p
:
No
Judder-free 24p via 60i
:
No

Judder is experienced when watching movies from any source. This is generally not an issue, as most people aren't sensitive to the small 3:2 pulldown judder.

5.0 Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
:
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
:
No

The KU6500 has a 60Hz panel which is able to interpolate lower refresh rate content. Those who enjoy the soap opera effect can enable it for a 30 fps input.

9.0 Gradient
Color Depth
:
10 Bit

The KU6500 can display a 10 bit gradient smoothly, which is the same as the other Samsung TVs released this year. Some minor issues can be seen in the darker shades, mostly in the green, but this should not be visible while watching normal content.

TV Controls

The controls are located behind the right hand side of the TV. They are a little bit in from the edge of the TV and so may be a bit difficult to access if the TV is wall mounted.

In The Box

  • Manual
  • Batteries
  • Remote
  • Wall mount spacers
  • Composite in adapter
  • Component in adapter

Total Inputs
HDMI : 3
USB : 2
Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm : 0
Analog Audio Out RCA : 0
Component In : 1 (incl. adapter, shared)
Composite In : 1 (incl. adapter, shared)
Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
Ethernet : 1
DisplayPort : 0
IR In : 0
SD/SDHC : 0

Inputs Specifications
HDR10
:
Yes
Dolby Vision
:
No
5.1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
:
Yes
5.1 Passthrough ARC DTS
:
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
:
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical DTS
:
Yes
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth : Yes (HDMI 1)
ARC : Yes (HDMI 3)
USB 3 : No
HDCP 2.2 : Yes (HDMI 1,2,3)
CEC : Yes
MHL : No
Variable Analog Audio Out : No

For 5.1 passthrough it is necessary to select the correct format in the sound options (DTS or Dolby Digital). It does not change automatically.

4.8 Image Flicker
PWM Dimming Frequency
:
120 Hz
BFI
:
Yes
BFI Frequency
:
60 Hz
BFI In Game Mode
:
No

The KU6500 uses PWM to dim the backlight. This can be seen in image duplications following the motion blur moving logo. It is possible to enable black frame insertion to clear up motion, but not when in game mode.

0 Ads
Ad-free
:
No
Opt-out
:
No

10 Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
:
0.000 %
IR after 2 min recovery
:
0.000 %
IR after 4 min recovery
:
0.000 %
IR after 6 min recovery
:
0.000 %
IR after 8 min recovery
:
0.000 %
IR after 10 min recovery
:
0.000 %

7.5 SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
:
380 cd/m2
SDR Peak 2% Window
:
188 cd/m2
SDR Peak 10% Window
:
333 cd/m2
SDR Peak 25% Window
:
394 cd/m2
SDR Peak 50% Window
:
394 cd/m2
SDR Peak 100% Window
:
394 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 2% Window
:
188 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 10% Window
:
333 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 25% Window
:
394 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 50% Window
:
394 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 100% Window
:
394 cd/m2

The SDR peak brightness is bellow average for the KU6500 and remains almost the same whether in SDR or HDR mode, which is a good thing, especially for watching normal TV content. At this level of peak brightness, this TV would be best if situated in a darker room.

5.4 Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage
:
60.476 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage
:
31.774 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage
:
43.971 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage
:
23.673 %

Similar to the other Samsung 6 series TVs, the KU6500 can't produce a wide range of colors for HDR content.

Differences between Sizes and Variants

We tested the 55" (UN55KU6500), version FA01. For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the other sizes. 

If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Samsung KU6500 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review.

Size Model
49" UN49KU6500
55" UN55KU6500
65" UN65KU6500

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