Setting aside the issue of price for a moment, the Samsung UN65HU8550 is a compelling new entry in the TV market. It’s got a comprehensive list of features in a flat form factor, and it proved to be very good performer, with the versatility to suit both bright and dark viewing environments, both film and HDTV, equally well. Some minor brightness-uniformity issues, but it will likely deliver the goods for all but the most discerning black-level purists, who are probably looking at Samsung’s F8500 plasma anyhow.
Of course, we must bring price back into consideration. On the one hand, the UN65HU8550’s $3,299 MSRP asking price falls at the low end compared with the other new 65-inch Ultra HD models in the Competition. On the other hand, the Ultra HD resolution gives this TV a premium price tag over comparable 1080p TVs. the UHD resolution makes a big enough difference at this screen size isn’t really inspiring enough to pay more just to get Ultra HD; but then again, what’s the cheaper 1080p alternative in the 2014 line? Samsung was strategic this year in the features it put in each of its high-end TV series, ensuring that there’s no exact, lower-priced 1080p equivalent to the HU8550 Series. The 1080p H7150 Series is flat but lacks local dimming, whereas the 1080p H8000 Series has local dimming but is curved. If you want the best, most home-theater-worthy performance that Samsung has to offer in a flat LED/LCD, the HU8550 Series is the choice for 2014. Last year’s 1080p F8000 Series offers better black-level performance, and right now you can get the 65-incher for $400 less than this TV. That’s close enough in price that it really comes down to what matters most to you: black level or resolution. You make the call.
If Audio is your thing, you might be interested in SpaceCoast AV’s July Specials.