You now have a brand new method of showing the friends and neighbors how rich you are (or how much your parents love you), without saying a word - The Samsung F9000 series Ultra High Definition TV. To be precise, 65-inches of full glory, sitting in your living room, or as part of what you may lovingly call your home theater setup.
We have the 65-inch Samsung F9000 UHD TV in the Digit Test Centre, and before a detailed review comes along, here is a quick first look at the beauty that may be the future of televisions. Or may not be, depending on how much love the 4K standard manages to gather. But, for the moment, we are being told this is the way forward.
The UA65F9000 is Samsung’s earnest attempt at a mainstream 4K TV. By 4K, we are referring to the 3480 x 2160 pixel resolution, which surpasses the 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution that your TV might have. The TV packs in a quad core processor, a gamut of smart TV features like gesture and voice control, the Smart Hub for apps and services and the up-conversion to 3D on the fly.
Unlike Sony’s 4K TVs, Samsung has kept a rather minimalistic design, which also includes reducing the SAMSUNG logo size below the screen to a rather classy small font size. Aesthetically, this is very pleasant to look at, with the rather thin bezel and the redesigned table stand that keeps the TV a lot closer to the surface it is placed on.
Moving away from the traditional method of plugging in the devices directly to the TV, via HDMI, this time around there is a different approach. Which is why, there is the One Connect box, which packs in all the connectivity options for video, and does not need its own power. Connect the proprietary cable to the TV, and hook up all video sourced to the One Connect. There are 4 HDMI inputs, LAN connectivity (in-case you don’t want to use the built-in Wi-Fi for some reason) and optical audio out, for an AV Receiver.
But, apart from the spec sheet fun, what is most critical is the performance of the TV - with 4K content, with 1080p and 720p content, and even with sources that may be much worse off. Trust us, not everyone of us has methods to access Netflix in India, and the good old DTH box is the source of entertainment most of the time! There is the assumption that anyone buying a 4K TV would scoff at any source less than Full HD, but that would be a wrong basis for any judgement.
For this, we hooked up a notebook with the F9000 and played back a variety of content, including a 4K video.
First up, was the big day - Sachin batting in Mumbai, in what could be his last innings in test cricket. For this, we streamed the match live on starsports.com, and the results were fantastic. The streaming, which is claimed to be “as good as HD”, looked extremely good on this panel. Just to have some fun, we turned on the 2D -> 3D feature and adorned the active 3D glasses. The depth can be adjusted, and for upconverted content, the higher the better is the logic. It was superb fun while it lasted, because I happen to be one of those people who get a splitting headache with active 3D, after about 10 minutes of faffing around. But, what we did take away in that short while was that you can have some fun, if 3D is what you like. Second, we played back some 1080p content, and the scaling was extremely good. Inevitable, that a panel this size would throw up instances of edge noise and judder a tad more than usual. Finally- 4K video, for which, the quality you see depends on how far away from the screen you sit.
Anything less than 9 feet, and any difference between 4K content and 1080p content would be negligible and missed by the eye. The real difference only shows up - the crispness, richer details and better colour, is visible only when you are inside the virtual 9 feet range. Though we would not recommend that, because the eye strain from a 65-inch panel up close would be immense.
Before we leave you for the time being (there will be a complete review soon), we would like to leave you with a video of 4K gaming on the Samsung F9000 UHD TV, thanks to the adequately powerful Nvidia GeForce GT 730M (2GB) GPU in one of the ultrabooks lying in the test centre. See the video, and we would leave the quality rating to your judgement. However, if this is what a graphics card, that's not even top end and additionally shackled by a ULV processor can do, we wouldn't be surprised if this TV becomes a part of your gaming setup.