Samsung MU9000 TV REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
8.0
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
7.6
Movies
8.2
TV Shows
7.9
Sports
8.3
Video Games
7.5
HDR Movies
7.9
HDR Gaming
8.0
PC Monitor
Type : LED
Sub-Type
:
VA
Resolution : 4k

The 4k Samsung MU9000 is a versatile TV, with very good picture quality and great motion handling. It can produce deep and uniform blacks, and supports HDR quite well. It isn't all good though as the image accuracy degrades at an angle and the range of colors produced isn't as wide as some other TVs.

Test Results
Design 9.5
Picture Quality 7.7
Motion 7.7
Inputs 8.6
Sound Quality 6.2
Smart Features 8.1
Pros
  • Great dark scene performance
  • Feels very responsive
  • Can get bright
Cons
  • Images loses accuracy at an angle
  • Poor local dimming
  1. Update 3/30/2018: 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 scores have been updated.
  2. Update 3/12/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2. Learn more about our versioned test bench system here.
  3. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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9.5

Design

Curved : No

The design of the MU9000 is great. The TV feels as premium as it looks, and has a few nice touches such as the thin borders and textured back. Most of the inputs are located on the OneConnect box and are easy to access.  

Stand

The stand of the MU9000 is similar to other Samsung TVs such as the KS9000 from 2016. It is small enough to fit on most tables and supports the TV well, although it will wobble a bit if knocked.

Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 33.7" x 13.8"

Back
Wall Mount : VESA 400x400

The rear of the TV looks good. Most of the inputs are located on the OneConnect box and are easy to access. The cable management is great, as the stand of the TV is used to route the cables out of the back (visible here).

Borders
Borders : 0.39" (1.0 cm)

The borders of the TV are thin and look great.

Thickness
Max Thickness : 1.89" (4.8 cm)

The TV is quite thin when viewed from the side. The bottom half of the TV is the thickest part, but even then it won't stick out much if wall-mounted.

Temperature
Maximum Temperature
:
100 °F (38 °C)
Average Temperature
:
90 °F (32 °C)

The TV stays fairly cool, only getting slightly warm to the touch in a few places on the back. The OneConnect box only gets slightly warm, reaching a maximum of 32 °C.

7.5 Build Quality

The build quality of the MU9000 is good. Some minor gaps are present around the frame, but overall the parts feel well constructed and very durable. There is some flex when pushing on the rear plastic, but this isn't an issue.

7.7

Picture Quality

The Samsung MU9000 4k LED TV has a very good picture quality. When set in a dark theater setup, it reproduces dark scenes very well and blacks look very deep thanks to the excellent contrast ratio and remarkable black uniformity. If set in a room with a lot of light, the high SDR peak brightness can easily overtake any glare from the sun or a bright light and the screen finish deals with reflection remarkably. The viewing angle is bad though, and once again, the best viewing position is only a narrow area in front of the TV itself. Luckily, sports fans will be happy as the gray uniformity is good and dirty screen effect is almost non-existent. Finally, HDR movies look great on the MU9000. Colors are vibrant due to the wide color gamut and small highlights really shine thanks to the high HDR peak brightness. The only downside is when it comes to the local dimming, vertical blooming is sometimes visible when there is a very bright highlight, especially in letterboxes bars.

9.1 Contrast
Native Contrast
:
6023 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
:
6027 : 1

The Samsung MU9000 has an excellent native contrast ratio just above 6000:1, which is great for people who have a dark home theater setup as it results in detailed dark scenes with deep blacks.

With the local dimming feature set to 'High', the contrast ratio remains almost the same, which shows the poor implementation of the local dimming on the MU9000.

Note that we could not completely turn off the local dimming feature on the MU9000, but simply set it to 'Low'.

1.8 Local Dimming
Local Dimming
:
Yes
Backlight
:
Edge

The local dimming feature on the Samsung MU9000 is bad and is very similar in performance as on the MU8000 and Q7F. Since the MU9000 is an edge-lit TV and that the local dimming span across a large vertical zone, a large vertical blooming is visible following the moving highlight on our test video. The local dimming has 3 setting ('Low', 'Standard' and 'High') and we recommend to test each setting to see what is best for you. If you find that the screen luminance change too much depending on the on-screen content, set the local dimming to 'Low' or 'Standard'.

8.3 SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
:
402 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
:
541 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
:
1067 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
:
555 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
:
478 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
:
425 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
:
415 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
:
499 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
:
550 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
:
476 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
:
424 cd/m²
SDR ABL
:
0.017

Plot over time

Great SDR peak brightness. The sustained brightness remains a good 400 - 600 cd/m² for all tests, yet local dimming is able to spike the brightness above 1000 cd/m² in an ideal case, though not for very long, as shown in the plot over time. This brightness behavior is very similar to the MU8000, but the MU9000 is a little brighter in every test.

7.0 HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
:
424 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
:
554 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
:
609 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
:
602 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
:
442 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
:
429 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
:
420 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
:
535 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
:
534 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
:
440 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
:
426 cd/m²
HDR ABL
:
0.018

Plot over time

Decent HDR peak brightness. The real scene brightness is good, and the TV's local dimming can make highlights in dark scenes even brighter, as shown by our smaller window tests. The 'Dynamic' picture mode is even brighter than the 'Movie' mode we test, as seen in the plot over time, but has less accurate picture quality.

7.6 Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
:
4.064 %
50% DSE
:
0.168 %
5% Std. Dev.
:
0.359 %
5% DSE
:
0.095 %

The gray uniformity of the MU9000 is good. The edges of the TV are a bit darker, but this isn't too noticeable with normal content. The uniformity of the middle of the screen is very good, so there is very little dirty screen effect when panning over uniform sports fields. The 5% uniformity look even better than the 5%, which is very good.

4.2 Viewing Angle
Color Shift
:
19 °
Brightness
:
30 °
Black Level
:
16 °

Bad viewing angle, but fairly typical for a VA panel. Blacks turn gray and colors degrade when the TV is viewed from a small angle, while brightness decreases at a larger angle. People viewing the TV from the side will not have as good picture quality as people viewing from the front.

6.9 Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
:
1.409 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
:
1.356 %

The overall black uniformity of the MU9000 is decent. On the native black uniformity test picture, some clouding is visible in the center of the screen, but it is very faint. Unlike the 2016 TVs with local dimming such as the KS8000 or KS9000, the local dimming on this TV can't be turned off. Instead, the 'native' picture was taken with local dimming set to 'low' and some vertical blooming is visible because of the edge-lit backlight.

The black uniformity picture with local dimming was taken with the local dimming set to 'High' and the same clouding that was visible on the native test picture is still there, but it is less obvious.

9.1 Reflections
Screen Finish
:
Glossy
Total Reflections
:
1.9 %
Indirect Reflections
:
0.4 %

The MU9000 is excellent at handling reflections. It has a glossy finish, so reflections are defined but also significantly reduced in intensity. There is a minor purple tint, but it works to further reduce any reflections. This is a great result, even for a bright room.

8.5 Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
:
Movie
White Balance dE
:
1.96
Color dE
:
2.16
Gamma
:
2.18
Color Temperature
:
6351 K

Prior to calibration, the accuracy of the MU9000 is very good. The target gamma of Samsung TVs is a bit different to our target of 2.2, but the colors are very accurate and the white balance is good in the 'Warm2' color temperature. For most people, a calibration is not necessary.

9.6 Post Calibration
Picture Mode
:
Movie
White Balance dE
:
0.24
Color dE
:
1.05
Gamma
:
2.21
Color Temperature
:
6498 K

The calibration works very well to improve the color and white balance tracking. This is a great result and results in a very accurate picture. Like other Samsung TVs, the white balance takes a bit longer to perform but the results are impressive.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0 480p Input

Upscaling of DVDs or other 480p content is good. Minor halo artifacts are visible along strange lines.

8.0 720p Input

720p content such as cable is upscaled well. Details are preserved and the image isn't too soft.

9.0 1080p Input

1080p sources such as Blu-rays look good. The image is sharp and clear.

10 4k Input

No issues can be seen with the display of native 4k content.

7.6 Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
:
Yes
DCI P3 xy
:
82.58 %
DCI P3 uv
:
90.60 %
Rec 2020 xy
:
60.58 %
Rec 2020 uv
:
69.49 %

Good wide color gamut, though not as wide as the KS8000 from last year. The TV can produce fairly saturated red and blue, but struggles with saturated green, though this is common for modern TVs. The TV also isn't very accurate at showing the colors its able to. The MU8000 has better accuracy and a very similar color gamut.

The TV's EOTF in the 'Movie' picture mode we test follows the HDR PQ curve very well, up until where it clips at its peak brightness. The EOTFs in Game and PC mode here and here are also very accurate, but have less peak brightness than Movie mode because local dimming is not applied.

6.9 Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
:
75.1 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
:
34.2 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
:
62.7 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
:
28.7 %

Mediocre color volume, though only really limited by its color gamut and dark color performance. The TV shows its wide color gamut almost perfectly throughout its entire brightness range except for really dark colors. The TV's poor local dimming was unable to make our black-with-white-border slide very dark in the center, so the black point, while still good, isn't as low as a TV with good local dimming like the Sony X900E.

7.3 Gradient
Color Depth
:
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
:
0.121 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
:
0.127 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
:
0.113 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
:
0.157 dE

As with other TVs of the 2017 MU line of Samsung, the MU9000 can display how gradient test image without any banding associated with an 8-bit panel. Overall the gradient looks smooth, but there is some imperfection, mostly in the darker green color. Luckily, we did not see any major banding while looking at some particularly demanding scene from HDR movies, which is great.

10 Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
:
0.00 %

Like other Samsung VA TVs, the MU9000 doesn't suffer from any temporary image retention.

10 Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
:
No

We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.

Pixels
7.7

Motion

The motion handling of the MU9000 is great. The response time is fast, resulting in only a very short trail of blur following fast moving objects. The TV flickers to dim, so motion isn't as smooth as some other TVs but most people won't notice it. Movies from any source can be played smoothly, and the TV is able to interpolate content up to 120Hz for fans of the soap opera effect.

8.4 Response Time
80% Response Time
:
5.7 ms
100% Response Time
:
13.8 ms

The response time of the MU9000 is very fast, resulting in only a very short trail following moving objects. This is excellent for fast-paced content. The response time for this TV is almost identical to the response time of the MU8000 and better than the KS9000 of 2016.

4.0 Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
:
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
:
120 Hz

The MU9000 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.

8.8 Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
:
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
:
60 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
:
Yes
120 Hz for 120 fps
:
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
:
120 Hz

Unfortunately, the 'LED Clear Motion' option doesn't reduce the BFI frequency and only dims the backlight. This is the same behaviour as the MU8000 and Q7F.

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.

10 Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
:
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
:
Yes

The MU9000 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. Note that any motion interpolation will introduce artifacts, so use a small value unless you really like the soap opera effect.

7.5 Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
:
27.9 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
:
2.9 ms
10 24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
:
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
:
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
:
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
:
Yes

The MU9000 is able to display 24p movies from all sources with the correct cadence. To remove judder without adding the soap opera effect, set 'Auto Motion Plus' to 'Custom' and both sliders ('Blur Reduction' and 'Judder Reduction') to 0. The 'LED Clear Motion' feature is not related to judder, but to the black frame insertion feature.

0 Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
:
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
:
No
4k VRR Maximum
:
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
:
N/A
1080p VRR Maximum
:
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
:
N/A
VRR Supported Connectors
:
N/A

Like other 2017 TVs, the MU9000 doesn't support a variable refresh rate.

8.6

Inputs

The MU9000 can display nearly any content, including HDR. It has low input lag which will please all but the most competitive gamers.

8.9 Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
:
24.2 ms
1080p @ 60Hz + HDR
:
23.5 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
:
79.1 ms
1080p @ 120Hz
:
N/A
4k @ 60Hz
:
23.9 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
:
24.2 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
:
19.9 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
:
19.8 ms
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
:
80.1 ms
4k With Interpolation
:
80.0 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
:
N/A
4k with Variable Refresh Rate
:
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
:
N/A

Low input lag, which will please all but the most competitive gamers. Both Game mode and PC mode have low input lag, though only PC mode can show 4:4:4 color properly. The PC mode input lag is an improvement over the KS9000.

6.7 Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
:
No
1440p @ 60Hz
:
No
4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
4k @ 60Hz
:
Yes
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
4k @ 120Hz
:
No

Most common resolutions are supported. 4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 color is only supported when 'HDMI UHD Color' is enabled for the input used. 4:4:4 color is only properly displayed when the input's icon is set to 'PC' (aka PC mode).

PC mode cannot be activated for some input resolutions, such as 24 Hz. The icon will still be PC, but the picture settings that are disabled in PC mode are not disabled, indicating that the TV isn't in PC mode.

Side Inputs

On the side of the TV is one USB, and an ethernet port.

Rear Inputs

The external OneConnect box contains all of the HDMI inputs to the TV.

Total Inputs
HDMI : 4
USB : 3
Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm : 0
Analog Audio Out RCA : 0
Component In : 0
Composite In : 0
Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
Ethernet : 1
DisplayPort : 0
IR In : 0
SD/SDHC : 0
Inputs Specifications
HDR10
:
Yes
Dolby Vision
:
No
HLG
:
Yes
3D
:
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 1,2,3,4)
HDMI 2.1 Full Bandwidth
:
No
ARC
:
Yes (HDMI 4)
USB 3.0
:
No
HDCP 2.2 : Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
CEC : Yes
MHL : No
Variable Analog Audio Out : No
Wi-Fi Support : Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

Only one of Dolby Digital or DTS can be enabled at a time, the TV will not switch between them automatically.

6.2

Sound Quality

As with most TVs, the MU9000 doesn't deliver a particularly compelling audio experience. Adding in a soundbar or stereo speakers to your system will produce a great boost in audio quality.

6.2 Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
:
89.80 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
:
4.23 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
:
4.42 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
:
8.53 dB
Max
:
89.4 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
:
4.99 dB

Poor frequency response. The MU9000 shows a strong overemphasis onlower frequencies, and significant pumping and compression appears at higher volumes causing to drastically reduce clarity of content.

6.4 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.186
Weighted THD @ Max
:
1.102
IMD @ 80
:
12.32 %
IMD @ Max
:
11.66 %

Subpar THD performance. The MU9000 shows significant distortion at every volume. It is free of aliasing though, which is good.

8.1

Smart Features

Smart OS : Tizen
Version : 2017

The MU9000 runs Samsung's Tizen 2017 smart platform, also called Smart Hub. It's simple and easy to navigate and has an excellent voice command feature. The center of the interface is the Smart Hub itself, whose simple layout makes it fast and easy to find what you're looking for. Navigating the interface is fairly smooth, but has more frame drops and small moments of lag than last year's Tizen platform. The remote has a microphone for voice commands, which can do many things like directly change settings, change between inputs and apps, and search for content. The remote doesn't have many buttons, so users need to navigate the Smart Hub or use voice commands to change most things.

8.0 Interface
Ease of Use
:
Easy
Smoothness
:
Average
Time Taken to Select YouTube
:
5 s
Time Taken to Change Backlight
:
7 s
Advanced Options
:
Many
0 Ad-Free
Ads
:
Yes
Opt-out
:
No
Suggested Content in Home
:
Yes
Opt-out of Suggested Content
:
No

The TV did not show ads during our testing, but ads on Samsung TVs are often inconsistent. It can be assumed to have ads because all Samsung TVs since 2016 have had ads in the Smart Hub.

8.5 Apps and Features
App Selection
:
Many
App Smoothness
:
Average
Cast Capable
:
Yes
USB Drive Playback
:
Yes
USB Drive HDR Playback
:
Yes
HDR in Netflix
:
Yes
HDR in Amazon Video
:
Yes
HDR in YouTube
:
Yes

The TV is preinstalled with a few apps, such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Video. More can be downloaded from the app menu. Apps run smoothly with minimal lag.

8.5 Remote
Size
:
Small
Voice Control
:
Many Features
CEC Menu Control
:
Yes
Other Smart Features
:
Yes

The remote is fairly simple with few buttons, requiring the user to navigate the Smart Hub or use voice commands to do most things. It has a microphone for Samsung's excellent voice command feature, which can do numerous things like changing between inputs and apps, directly changing settings, searching for content and searching through the web browser. The remote can also be used to control other devices, even ones that do not support HDMI CEC, using Samsung's OneRemote feature.

7.0 Remote App
Acts as the Remote
:
Yes
Directly Launches Apps and Inputs
:
Apps Only
Inputs Text in YouTube
:
No
Inputs Text in Netflix
:
No
Streams Device Files