We are living in a golden age of television, and to truly appreciate the full cinematic wonder of what’s out there, you need the right equipment.
When it comes to new technology, unless you are the adventurous type you usually don’t want to go with the first model. However, when it comes to a product like the Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV, that company’s experience as a pioneer in 4K television is what you want.
They are not only an industry leader in smart, high-quality televisions, but the UHD 8 Smart TV is the kind of television that will make a passive activity like watching shows or movies more enjoyable. The family can gather around the TV, rapt at the stunning picture or the awesome variety of content available. You and a loved one can snuggle close and get lost in your favorite romantic movie, feeling like you are in your own private theater.
Even when binge-watching your favorite shows by yourself, the Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV delivers such a great experience it doesn’t even feel like wasting time. If you want a 4K television for your home, this one is a great choice.
A Bit About the Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV
Before we dive into what makes the Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV so special, we should talk about how we got here. Perhaps you’ve never been too interested in the specifics of what makes high-definition what it is. So, well talk about how we got here.
History of 4K Video
In the early 2000s, high-definition television was the next big thing, and people who saw those images wondered how they could ever be clearer. Yet, while these TVs were just starting to show up in middle-class homes around 2003, the first 4K cameras were put into use.
About seven years later, as manufacturers began producing more of them, Google and YouTube went to work developing new compression systems and allowing 4K upload as early as 2010. The next year, most theaters had upgraded to 4K projectors (though some had the technology as early as 2004).
Yet, it was digital downloads and streaming services like Netflix that started releasing lots of 4K content. Over the past couple of years, the prices on these televisions started to drop from thousands of dollars to hundreds.
History of Samsung Televisions
Samsung is a storied Korean manufacturer that over the past decade rebounded from near obscurity to one of the leading producers of phones, components, and smart devices. In 2007, Samsung introduced a new product it called “Internet TV.”
Up to 2009, Samsung had the largest global market share for four consecutive years. In 2010, the newly rebranded Samsung Smart TV and their first 3D television both hit the market. They sold so well that Samsung quickly became the industry leader.
However, Samsung learned its lesson from its mobile phone battles with Apple. Rather than resting on their high market share, they have continued to innovate. They now include motion-controlled gaming apps and hope to release new apps like smart health programs or an app that can turn your television into a large digital picture frame.
Who Is the Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV System Perfect For?
This product is perfect for anyone, except people who hate watching anything on a screen. This is a great model for a family or a single individual who wants to have an excellent TV. (Though, that person will have to host their friends for Game of Thrones or sports viewing parties, for sure.)
Even with all of the technological options, these televisions are even great for elders. Using the voice-control function usually allows them to find their favorite channels, shows, and movies just by speaking. The menu also has a robotic-sounding voice assist that will read whatever menu text pops up on screen.
It’s simple enough for kids to use (and comes with parental controls) and has enough features that even the pickiest cinephile will be satisfied. All-in-all, this is just a great model that makes switching between television or streaming apps seamless and easy.
Features and Benefits of the Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV
From voice-control to a stunning picture, the features and benefits of the Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV are myriad. These televisions are thin and light, but also very sturdy. It comes with a stand that looks flimsy but works incredibly well. You can also get an optional wall-mounting kit, and this slim jewel will hug the wall. All in all, this is a fantastic television.
1. Crystal-Clear Realistic Picture
While there are many features to love about the Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV, the first and foremost thing people expect is a great picture. The high-resolution capabilities of this television are otherworldly, especially if its your first time experiencing 4K video. This is perhaps best experienced by a shot that many movies and films employ: pointing the camera through a moving vehicle’s windshield. With the right video settings, what you see would be indistinguishable from actually looking out a windshield on that road. When you encounter low-resolution video, it can look grainy. However, you can reduce the image size easily with the smart remote.
There are a number of video settings you can change even when you are watching high-resolution video. Of course, you can manually adjust each setting but that can be time-consuming because there are so many options to tweak. There are also a few preset modes. There is the standard mode, which is effectively the television default. Then there is a mode for gaming, that helps with contrast and blurring during fast-moving action. They also have a movie mode that filters a lot of the blue light. However, the Dynamic mode is arguably the best one. Colors are discrete, the picture is sharp, and it just looks more vibrant. After a few months, looking at standard high-definition video will be almost off-putting. You’ll wonder how you could have ever been impressed with it at all.
2. All the Apps a Smart TV Needs
Now that you have a television with an astounding picture, you have to pick what to watch. Of course, you can get cable and satellite packages but likely will still need the box from that service. Luckily, you can easily plug-and-play almost any device using a hub that is typically included with the television.
The Samsung app “store” doesn’t usually charge for the apps, and they have a whole host of them. There are the Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu apps, all of which offer 4K resolution when available. They also have digital movie apps like Walmart’s Vudu app, Fandango Now, Google Play Movies, and Microsoft’s Movie app.
If you pick up a Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV but don’t have a streaming service account or a cable package, you still have plenty of options. Two of the apps you can use are YouTube and TVPlus, the latter which is Samsung’s native “free” TV app. On TVPlus, the choices are limited. There is Cheddar, an internet channel that emulates cable news, a channel that features classic TV shows like Car 54 Where Are You, a Rifftrax channel, and about a dozen others. You can also stream YouTube videos right from the television. As long as you have an internet connection, you will never lack for something to watch.
3. Incredible Connectivity
The remote for the Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV is slim and small, making it easy to misplace. Yet, where this would have been a problem a decade ago, we now live in the future. Using Samsung’s Smart Things app, you can turn your phone into a working remote. You can also use this app to connect your phone screen to the television, which is great for showing off pictures.
If you have a Samsung phone, you can also instantly stream almost any content from your phone to your television. If someone sends you a text message with a YouTube link to watch, you can toss it up on the big screen with just two touches of your finger. Samsung also put it’s voice-activated assistant, Bixby, in their TVs. This gives you a lot of options to control the TV using your voice.
However, what if what you want to watch is a local file on your computer and not streamable? Let’s say you are a Star Wars purist and want to watch the original theatrical editions, which aren’t really available legally anywhere. It’s a very simple process to cast your computer screen to the Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV. On Windows or Chrome OS devices, you can easily and freely mirror your screen on the Smart TV. If you use a Mac, you will need to download a special app (that costs about $10) to mirror your screen to the TV. There will be a few seconds of latency, so it’s not advisable to use for gaming. But if you want to display a presentation or stream a local video file, it’s very easy to do.
4. Security and Set-Up
If you’re old enough, you remember how excited your family was when they got their first video cassette recorder. Yet, setting up the VCR to work with your TV (especially if you had cable) could be incredibly difficult. Now that the media technology is light years beyond that, one might think set-up would even be worse. It’s not.
You will need a Samsung account to take full advantage of easy set-up, but once that’s done the television does everything else. It’s very simple to connect gaming devices, Blu Ray players, and your cable or satellite. If you have a Samsung phone, the TV can detect it and you can pair the two immediately to set up your wireless network and account.
As a connected device, however, this means that for all the data coming in from cyberspace could also bring with it unwanted intruders. There was no possibility ever that hackers could spy on you or get any information. However, there was an exploit that would allow them to control the television, turning it off or on, changing channels, and opening apps. A late 2018 firmware update addressed that issue, so it should no longer be a problem. After that happened, Samsung issued a statement to Consumer Reports asserting that they are taking a more proactive stance on security and will continue to update it to protect against threats.
What People Are Saying About the Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV System
Three quarters of reviewers rated this television four stars or above. These reviews are all glowing, with users gushing about the picture and sound quality. Everyone from movie aficionados to gamers to sports fan love the clarity of the picture. It does sound like a small percentage of the users had a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the user interface, however most of those that complained about it admitted this was a small gripe. Other reviewers, however, agree that the UI is clean and very easy to use. Users also were impressed by the sleek, slim design of the television. Unlike the flat screens of a decade ago, these TVs are very light but the included stand is very sturdy.
A lot of the user complaints focus on Samsung’s SyncPlus feature which allows targeted advertising. This feature, however, is optional and can be turned off in the menus. If you pay attention during set-up you can opt-out immediately. The other problem mentioned most often is that picture quality suffers if you are sitting at an extreme angle to the screen. This is not a problem with the model but all LED TVs of this kind. This problem doesn’t exist with O/QLED televisions, though those have a risk of burning out. That’s why it’s best to get a large-screen television because you can arrange seating far back enough that this should not be a problem. There are also a few reports of a “popping” sound from the back. While this is rare, it’s a defect and should be covered by the warranty.
Alternatives to the Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV to Consider
Perhaps you have an aversion to Samsung products or simply want a smaller TV without so many features. If this is the case, you can check out these three alternatives below. Also, check out our in-depth guide to the best Smart TVs, linked at the bottom of the page.
Perhaps the inter-connectivity of the Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV seems more like a bug than a feature. If that’s the case, and you’re not afraid of a possibly difficult set-up procedure, the TCL Ultra HD Smart TV is a good option, especially if you want wired connection to gaming or other media devices. You can pair your phone as a remote with a proprietary app if you’d like. The real benefit of this television is that it’s a Roku TV. This means that it comes with about 4000 streaming channels and about 450,000 movies (thought some fees may apply). Be warned, however, this television doesn’t feature a Bluetooth connection of any kind.
While Samsung is a pioneer when it comes to smart and 4K televisions, Sony is no stranger to the technology. They were involved in it as early as 2004 when they started offering 4K projectors to movie theaters. This television works on an Android operating system which offers all sorts of connectivity options that might help if you don’t have Samsung-brand devices. This television is also compatible with both Amazon Echo and Google Home services, so you can use these devices to control your television with voice commands. The Samsung voice assistant is still imperfect, so this one might be your best choice for a voice-controlled television.
Perhaps the idea of a 50- to 85-inch screen is a bit daunting, especially if you occupy a small space. In that case, you might want to try this LG model that tops out at 24 inches. It only offers 720p resolution, but at this size it’s difficult to really tell the difference. The speakers, however, are excellent for its size. This is also an Android-based television, but it doesn’t have an intuitive UI and accessing smart features can be challenging. It also is very easy to screen share with other devices, so you could use this as an HD computer or gaming monitor.
The Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV is a wonderful choice of television for your main living area or anywhere in the house.
This television is a marvel that combines all the high-tech features you could want with an incredible picture. Thanks to Samsung’s commitment to providing an easy, hassle-free customer experience, the user interface is easy to master and switching between content providers is simple.
Even after months of use, there will be moments when you’re looking at a particular shot or scene and are stunned all over again at how beautiful it looks. In the interest of full disclosure, this is actually the television your humble correspondent uses in his home.
While you might want to reduce screen time in your household, this television will make such cutbacks difficult. Yet, even if you are reducing screen time, when you are finally watching something you deserve to have an experience as good as this one. Every moment you spend in front of this great machine is a real treat.
What do you think? Is the Samsung UHD 8 Smart TV the sort of GPS system you’d like to have? Let us know, along with your thoughts, reactions, and experiences in the comments below. Don’t forget to share the article on social media if you’ve enjoyed it.
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