It's not inexpensive, and some plasma TVs deliver blacks that are just a touch darker, but the 64-inch Samsung PN64D8000 delivers a huge screen, impressive overall picture quality and just about every feature that a TV enthusiast might want or need. If you demand the deepest blacks of all, a TV in Panasonic's even pricier TC-PVT30 series -- such as the 65-inch TC-P65VT30 or 55-inch TC-P55VT30 (Discontinued) -- might prove more satisfying. But experts say that differences are subtle and that these Samsung plasma TVs can out-black just about any other TV currently available. In terms of color performance, there is no quibbling -- it's outstanding, with one top reviewer going so far as to say that these Samsung TVs will be their new benchmark when it comes to color accuracy.
When it comes to features, Samsung left very little on the shelf when it came to stuffing goodies into the PND8000. The company's Smart Hub Internet streaming platform leaves few stones unturned in terms of provider partners, and there's a third-party app store for smartphone-like apps as well. A built-in web browser is a tad buggy, but it is fine for light-duty surfing. Skype support is enabled via an accessory and extra-cost (*Est. $170) camera. You can also stream content from your computer. Getting and using all of that content is made easier by the inclusion of built-in Wi-Fi and a full QWERTY keypad on the flip side of the very functional remote. One complaint we saw voiced is that the interface used to get to all of this content could stand a little improvement. Internet reports have surfaced that say that the anti-reflective screen treatment can peel, but those also say that Samsung has fixed the issue in current runs of the plasma TV, and that any owners with affected sets can get them repaired under warranty.
Of course, the 64-inch PN64D8000 has 3D. The active shutter system works far better than last year's efforts, drawing praise even from the technology's harshest critics. But while annoying artifacts such as ghosting have been greatly reduced, some say that the overall 3D picture quality might be just a hair better in the Panasonic TC-PVT30 sets. Glasses cost extra, and the once commonplace offers for free ones have become hard to find, but basic models cost far less than last year (starting at *Est. $50). If you don't have quite enough room for a 64-inch screen, the 51-inch Samsung PN51D8000 and 59-inch Samsung PN59D8000 are also available.
We found input on Samsung's PND8000 series of plasma TVs, including the Samsung PN64D8000, at a couple of sources. CNET provides the most comprehensive review. PlasmaTVBuyingGuide.com and ISF calibrator Chad Billheimer also weigh in with a helpful report. There isn't a ton of user feedback as of yet, but you can read a handful of reviews at BestBuy.com.
CNET tests the 59-inch screen size in this series, but David Katzmaier notes that since specifications (other than screen size) are identical, the review also applies to the 64-inch PN64D8000. Picture quality comes very close to the very best, while "best-in-class" features means these Samsung plasma TVs might be the very best overall for 2011, Katzmaier says.
Review: Samsung PN64D8000, David Katzmaier, June 8, 2011
2. PlasmaTV Buying Guide.com
PlasmaTVBuyingGuide.com also bases its report on the 64-inch PN64D8000 on its hands-on testing of the 59-inch screen size in the series. Testing is well documented, but some of that and the accompanying commentary might be lost on non-videophiles.
Review: Samsung PN64D8000 Review, Robert Wiley
Links here lead to picture-quality reports for TV sets worked on by ISF professional calibrator Chad Billheimer. He likes what he sees in the 51-inch Samsung PN51D8000, but is even more impressed with the black level in the largest member of the series, the 64-inch Samsung PN64D8000.
Review: TV Reviews, Chad Billheimer
There are more than 25 reports at BestBuy.com on the 64-inch PN64D8000. Most seem to be pretty happy as the plasma TV earns an overall rating of 4.2 out of 5.
Review: Samsung - 64" Class / 1080p / 600Hz / 3D Plasma HDTV, Contributors to Amazon.com