Admitted, moving up from a circa 2010 Visio LCD 1080p 50" to this Samsung MU8500 55" Ultra HD 4K Curved Display is a bit like going from my last 27" CRT to that 50" 1080p Visio.
Hyperbole? No. It really is that big an upgrade.
Sure, if you're used to watching that old LCD 1080p TV you're probably happy enough with it. Especially if -
like me - you grew up on CRT and 480i. Compared to what you were happily watching 20 years ago that 1080p LCD TV was pretty incredible after all.
But when the wife and I decided it was time to upgrade the main TV and move the old 1080p Visio to the bedroom we found out that there is a world of difference between what was okay in 2010 and what's okay today.
Even though our PS4 doesn't play Ultra HD Blu-rays it still played the regular Blu-ray of "Mad Max: Fury Road onto our new Samsung MU8500 55" in such rich colors, amazingly black blacks, and a resolution that was jawdropping.
Almost right away I had to dig around into the Samsung's display settings to do something about the dreaded Soap Opera Effect, which was quite noticeable on this native 120hz panel. Fortunately it's fairly straightforward to eliminate that problem ( set “Auto Motion Plus Setting” to “Custom”, “Blur Reduction” to “0” and “Judder Reduction” to “0”).
Then again I actually know people for who the Soap Opera Effect is a plus in their eyes (my Dad for instance). I don't understand those people but it takes all sorts to make the world go around.
Playing games on the Samsung mu8500 via OUR Playstation 4 was a real treat. Even games like Grand Theft Auto 5, which are PS3 games that have been upgraded to take advantage of the PS4's better hardware, look amazing. Incredible. Breathtaking. Madden 17 looked equally fantastic and even Rock Band 4 was a real treat.
Yes, you'll want to activate Game Mode when playing console games on just about any 120hz display panel, especially games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. With Game Mode active a quick ingame calibration later and Rock Band 4 never looked better.
We were disappointed to find out (when we got home) that my recollection at the store about our Playstation 4's ability to play Ultra HD 4k Blu-rays was incorrect. And, shockingly, even the new Playstation 4 Pro doesn't have a Ultra HD 4k Blu-ray player.
So, of course, the very next day my wife and I found ourselves the owners of a brand new shiny Xbox One S, which DOES have a Ultra HD 4k Blu-ray player.
We also bought a few more new Ultra HD Blu-ray movies. Sony said the reason they didn't include their newest and best Blu-ray player in the new PS4 Pro was because people have stopped buying physical media mostly and have been buying their movies and TV shows on streaming services and the Playstation 4 Pro delivers those services perfectly well.
And that had indeed been the case for our family; we'd not purchased a movie on physical media in probably 4 years. It's been all about Netflix, Hulu, YouTube.
But with a TV that can display 4k and Ultra HD we find ourselves in the market for physical media again.
See, Sony, the reason we've all been buying our movies off Amazon and Google Play is because they were as good as the Blu-ray discs we could buy plus they were as high quality as our old LCD TV could display. So why bother with physical media?
But those streaming movies AREN'T as good as the Ultra HD Blu-rays. So now people are buying physical media again.
I think it was a huge mistake for Sony to not include a Ultra HD Blu-ray player in their latest Playstation. Microsoft included one in the latest Xbox and now our family owns its first ever Xbox.
There's a lesson in there for you, Sony.
And it's because of the fantastic capabilities of this Samsung mu8500 TV that we were in the market for any of it. Who's going to buy a Xbox One S to get the Ultra HD Blu-ray player when they're still on an old Vizio 1080p LCD unit?
But as soon as we got the mu8500 home and saw how great it looked we just HAD to have an Ultra HD Blu-ray player!
And, of course, Mad Max: Fury Road looked even more amazing on the Samsung mu8500 via the Ultra HD Blu-ray player in the new Xbox One S.
Like, really really amazing. As in it was a religious experience, watching it.
As far as the smart part of this Smart TV, it runs the very attractive and functional Tizen Operating System by a quad core processor. Apps such as YouTube and the Playstation and Xbox launchers run smoothly and the entire UI is intuitive and easy to operate.
Mirroring the TV's video and audio to our Samsung smartphones is easy and great fun. Same for mirroring our Samsung phones display and audio to the TV. Both work very well and are more handy than you might think. We no longer need our Chromecast device. Not for this TV at least.
We're very happy with the quality of the display, from the super black blacks and the HDR colors and the 4k resolution of details and the 120hz native panel. Additionally, Samsung's Motion Rate 240 makes motion blur and side to side motion in general look a lot better than your typical 120hz display.
I just can't say enough about what a great TV this is for the money. Couple it with a decent sound bar and subwoofer (we chose the Polk Audio Signa S1 which is fantastic for under $200) and you've got a really decent home entertainment system started!
And getting it at Best Buy (where we also bought the Polk Soundbar and Subwoofer as well as our new Xbox One S) was a no-brainer. Not only did we get a competitive price but when we got home and found out that the Samsung mu8500 display was cracked Best Buy swapped us out a new unit with no argument at all. Now that's customer service that really was an enormous relief to us as you can imagine how heartbroken we were to hook up our brand new shiny TV and immediately discover that it was, for all intents and purposes, dead on arrival to our home.
The free Geek Squad delivery and installation for all TVs over 50" is a big relief for us as well, considering we bought a wall mount kit for the Samsung mu8500 and though connecting the Playstation 4, the Xbox One S, and the FIOS fiber optic cable TV service wasn't difficult, it's really nice to have the wall mount installed professionally and the various accessories for the TV installed and set up professionally as well.
Very satisfied with our Best Buy experience. Five Stars for you!