The Samsung MU8000 is a capable 4k LED TV that offers good picture quality. Most content will do well on this TV, and it supports modern features such as HDR. Unfortunately, it can't display as many colors as other TVs in its class, and picture quality degrades at an angle.
The design of the MU8000 is great. The stand may be too wide for most tables, but it supports the TV well and looks good. The borders are very small, and the TV is very thin so it looks good on a wall or freestanding. The design is an improvement upon the KS8000 from 2016 with the addition of cable management.
The MU8000 has a similar wide stand to the KS8000 from last year. It supports the TV well and feels stable, and also provides cable management routing through the left leg. Unfortunately the remainder of the power cable is quite short (25.2") when routed through the tracks. There are two stand positions available on the 55" model: the narrower position is pictured.
Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 9.7" x 35.5". There is a secondary wider stand position which is 9.7" x 43.4".
The borders are very thin and look good, similar to the KS8000. The finish is a bit different though.
The TV is quite thin when viewed from the side and would look good when wall-mounted.
The TV stays fairly cool even after extended use, only getting a little warm to the touch along the bottom. The OneConnect box also stays cool, never getting hotter than 32 °C.
The build quality of the MU8000 has improved slightly upon the KS8000 from 2016. The back feels to be more secure, and the joins are more flush.
The Samsung MU8000 has a good picture quality. The high native contrast provides nice deep blacks which provide a good movie experience when set in a dark room. Bright room performance is also good since the TV can get bright enough to fight glare, but isn't as good as some other TVs at handing reflections. The MU8000 uses a VA panel with a relatively low viewing angle so when sitting off center the picture quality degrades. The gray uniformity is good with very little dirty screen effect which is good for watching sports. When it comes to HDR, the MU8000 performs well and can display a wide range of colors. On the other hand, the local dimming is not that great and the peak brightness in movie mode is good, but not enough to make HDR stand out from SDR.
The native contrast ratio is great on the Samsung MU8000. The high contrast will let the TV produce deep black scenes, especially when viewed in a dark environment.
The contrast ratio, when local dimming is set to 'High', is almost the same (4727:1) as the native contrast ratio. When turned on, the local dimming doesn't really make blacks deeper when measured on our checkerboard pattern. This is because the local dimming feature on the MU8000 doesn't work well.
The local dimming feature of the MU8000 is bad. When compared side by side with the Q7F, both perform almost the same way. It is an edge-lit TV and vertical blooming is visible which follows the bright moving highlight. When watching a movie, blooming is visible in the 2 black bars. Even if the local dimming is not the best, enabling it is still recommended especially for HDR content as it is necessary to produce bright highlights.
Great SDR peak brightness. Under certain conditions local dimming can make small areas incredibly bright, but this only lasts for a short time. In normal usage, the TV will rarely hit this peak, but its sustained brightness is still good enough for even bright rooms. Unlike the Q7F the backlight algorithm doesn't dim scenes of high APL (eg. 100% white window), which is an advantage for rooms with glare. The difference between the Q7F and MU8000 brightness in movie mode can be seen here.
Decent HDR peak brightness. The TV is able to show all content at a decent brightness, and is able to use local dimming to make small highlights even brighter for a short time. The Q7F can get brighter windows in test patterns (see here), but the real scene brightness reflects performance in normal content and the MU8000 performs slightly better in this test.
The overall gray uniformity is good for this Samsung TV. The standard deviation is a bit high though, and this is caused by some darker regions on the screen, especially on both sides. The bottom edge is also a bit problematic since the left side is a bit darker than the right side.
Luckily the TV's dirty screen effect is less problematic, leaving the center region of the screen mostly even. When watching content like football or hockey, where panning shots are more frequent, you don't really notice any dirty screen effect.
The 5% gray uniformity is also very good. the standard deviation and dirty screen effect numbers are even better than the 50% gray, and when looking at our test picture, nothing really negative can be noticed.
Poor viewing angle. Blacks turn grey and colors shift when viewed from the side. People sitting at an angle to the TV will not have as good picture quality as people viewing from directly in front.
Black uniformity is decent on the MU8000. No clouding can be seen in the corners or near the bottom edge, a problem often seen on LED TVs.
When the local dimming is set to maximum, the central vertical blooming is a bit more obvious since both sides of the TV are even darker. This is the main reason why the standard deviation number is higher.
Note that unlike the 2016 Samsung TVs with local dimming, this feature can't be turned off completely on the MU8000 in order to show the TV’s true native black uniformity. As such, the native black uniformity test picture was taken with 'Local dimming' set to 'Low' (the lowest setting) and as a result, some vertical blooming can be seen in our test picture. The black uniformity picture with local dimming was taken with the local dimming set to 'High'.
The TV reflects quite a lot of light, which may be an issue for a bright room. With a few small light sources this is not a problem but if there are any large windows behind the TV then the semi-gloss finish diffuses light across the screen. This is worse than the higher end Q7F.
Out of the box, the MU8000 is very accurate. With both the white balance dE and Color dE under 2.0, this performance is quite good and should be more than enough for normal home use. The only aspect where the MU8000 is a bit less accurate is the gamma, which is not tracking our target of 2.2 very closely. But even then, the overall value is not far from our 2.2 target.
After calibration the MU8000 is even more accurate, with the white balance dE error being reduced to a mere 0.38 which is excellent. The Color dE was reduced a bit less than the white balance dE, but at 1.20 this is still a great result. As for the gamma, after calibration it was flattened to track the target 2.2 gamma more closely.
Overall the calibration process went well, but as is often the case with Samsung TVs, the white balance calibration took a bit longer to accomplish and the color space management could have been more responsive. But in the end, this TV is very accurate, and even with the process taking a bit longer, the results are very good.
You can see our recommended settings here.
Low quality content such as DVDs look quite good. Some halo artifacting can be seen along edges.
Native 4k content looks good, and no issues can be seen. The MU8000 doesn't produce the same artifacting as the Q7F when using a warm color temperature, which is good.
Mediocre color volume. The TV is able to show its wide color gamut at a range of moderate brightness values, but it struggles to show extremely bright or dark deep colors. This should be good enough for most people, but some other comparable TVs like the X900E and Q7F have better color reproduction.
The MU8000 can display our gradient test pattern smoothly with only some small banding in the darker color and also in the darker region of the gray scale. Overall, banding in normal content is not very visible and should not be a problem in everyday use.
The MU8000 is free of image retention. Even right after the burn-in scene, no retention is visible, which is good, especially for the gamers out there.
We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
The motion handling of the MU8000 is excellent. The response time is low, which results in only a short trail following fast moving objects. The backlight of the TV flickers, which helps to improve motion even more, but can't be adjusted for people who enjoy a lot of flicker. Movies played from any source can be displayed smoothly, and fans of the soap opera effect can enable very strong motion interpolation.
The response time of the MU8000 is outstanding, resulting in only a very short trail following moving objects. This is excellent for fast-paced content.
This TV uses PWM at 120Hz to dim the backlight, starting at 20/20 backlight setting. Lowering the setting down to 14/20 lowers backlight amplitude, while lowering it from 13/20 shortens the duty cycle, while amplitude remains constant. Backlight that uses PWM results in duplications following moving objects, but does clear up motion slightly.
Update 03/30/2018: Scaled the 'Luminosity' axis of the plots; now the Flicker-Free plots and the new BFI plot have the same 'Luminosity' axis.
Update 03/30/2018: It was discovered that many 2017 Samsung TVs change their BFI frequency to 60 Hz when a lot of 60 Hz motion is detected on screen. The score, photo and plots have been updated.
The MU8000 has a 120Hz panel which can interpolate lower frame rate content. To do so, set 'Auto Motion Plus' to 'Custom' and increase the 'De-judder' and 'De-blur' sliders. The 'De-judder' slider affects 30 fps or lower content, and the 'De-blur' slider affects 60fps content.
The MU8000 is decent at playing content without stutter, however some stutter will be noticeable for low frame rate content such as 24p movies due to the fast response time, which results in only a short transition between frames.
The Samsung MU8000 can play movies without judder from any source, such as DVDs, Blu-ray players, native streaming apps or cable and satellite boxes. To remove judder from any source without adding any soap opera effect, set the 'Auto Motion Plus Settings' to 'Custom', 'Blur Reduction' to 0 and 'Judder Reduction' to 0. Leave 'LED Clear Motion' since this does not relate to judder, but to the black frame insertion feature.
The MU8000 doesn't support a variable refresh rate. This is similar to most 2017 TVs. The 49" model is limited to a 60 Hz refresh rate.
The MU8000 has very low input lag when in game or PC mode which makes it feel very responsive, and it supports almost all of the common HDMI input signals so it should be able to play nearly any content, including HDR.
Very low input lag. In game or PC mode, the input lag is 19-25 ms regardless of input, which is great for nearly any game. PC mode had ~ 5 ms less input lag than game mode, but this is negligible. The input lag outside game or PC mode is much higher but is still relatively low, so navigating the TV and using peripherals feels responsive.
Update 06/13/2017: The PC mode HDR bug has been fixed as of firmware 1106, and the 4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR input lag was remeasured as 21.7 ms.
This TV supports most of the common input resolutions. Chroma 4:4:4 is only supported when the input label has been changed to PC. To display 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 and 4:2:2, "HDMI UHD Color" must be enabled.
HDR is not supported in PC mode; the TV displays that it is showing HDR (and the gamma in the settings changes to ST. 2084 as it should), but it does not follow the PQ curve, as shown in this gamma measurement.
Note that unlike the 2018 model NU8000, this TV doesn't support a 120Hz input. It has a 120Hz panel, but this 120Hz motion is achieved through the motion interpolation feature on lower frame rate content.
Update 06/13/2017: This problem has been fixed as of firmware 1106. HDR is now displayed properly in PC mode, as shown by how this EOTF plot roughly follows the HDR PQ curve.
Update 04/25/2018: Clarification about 120Hz input.
For 5.1 audio passthrough, only one of Dolby Digital or DTS can be enabled at a time, the TV will not change between them automatically.
The sound reproduction of the MU8000 is about average. The TV's speakers produce a good amount of distortion at all levels and the experience would benefit greatly from adding a set of speakers.
Decent frequency response performance. The MU8000 offers a fairly flat response at lower levels, but it quickly turns dark at higher volumes. The TV gets fairly loud, but the volume is better kept under 80dB as compression and pumping artifacts become more apparent past that point.
Below average distortion performance. THD rises as the volume is raised and is audibly noticeable at high levels.
The MU8000 uses Samsung's 2017 Tizen platform. Tizen received a visual overhaul for 2017 and now has a white theme and nicer animations. Unfortunately this visual overhaul caused the interface to have much more frame drops and choppy animations, although responsiveness and speed when navigating the interface are unaffected. Indeed, Tizen is one of the better smart TV platforms when it comes to ease of navigation; the interface is simple and it's easy to find what you're looking for. Voice commands spoken to the microphone on the remote can help the user skip navigating the interface entirely by opening apps and changing settings directly.
The center of the interface is the Smart Hub, which must be navigated to access the rest of the interface. This makes it easy to use, but adds extra steps to accessing things like inputs and settings. This is alleviated somewhat by the second row of the Smart Hub, which contains a quick menu of common settings or recommended content for the item under focus.