- Excellent motion handling
- 120Hz native refresh
- Very low gaming input lag in all resolution formats
- Great black levels and contrast
- Solid overall brightness specs
- HDR Brightness could be higher
- Typically weak VA panel viewing angles
- Color volume a bit weak in WCG HDR Color format
- Price is a bit high for value offered
Samsung’s 2017 MU-Series 4K HDR TVs are the company’s replacement for the 2016 KU-Series mid-range models like the KU7000, KU6300 and KU6600, which are themselves rated quite highly on our main TV page for their quality and price. However, at least some of these new televisions are more of a mix between what we saw with the 2016 SUHD lineup and the KU-Series as a whole. Of course, this varies a bit by model, with the MU-Series ranging from much more robust and pricier models like the MU9000 and MU8000 to cheaper, more bare-bones units like the MU6000.
Here we’re looking at the MU8000, which give a good general idea of what all of the MU TVs can be expected to deliver and which is priced much more reasonably than any of the 2017 Samsung QLED HDR premium televisions we’ve seen so far. In basic terms, the MU8000 is Samsung’s offering of a new-edition 4K TV with robust HDR specs at a price that more people can easily afford and with this price, the TV manages to offer some very solid performance while not quite matching the high-performance specs of its premium QLED cousins. Let’s look at what we like and don’t like about this model.
Overall, the MU8000 is one very robust and remarkably well-designed 4K HDR TV. While at a glance it seems technically similar to its 2016 KU-Series predecessors like the KU7000 in particular, the MU8000 actually delivers more powerful display performance, superior motion handling in particular and a nice new physical appearance that most people should be happy with in their living rooms. In basic terms, this TV has a lot to like about it and few negatives for its category in the TV price spectrum.
First and foremost in the MU8000, we like this TV’s design. It’s simply great. Not only has Samsung foregone the silly curved display trend with the MU8000, they’ve also given it an elegant but very sturdy support system along with some wonderfully narrow 0.31 inch borders which maximize the television’s display space while making it an excellent choice for mounting to a wall. The MU8000 is also one remarkably thin TV, with a narrower cross-section than any of the 2016 KU-Series models. Furthermore, while the supporting stand is a bit widely spaced for some possible surfaces, it dos make this model considerably better balanced than its 2016 KU-Series cousins, whose stands often introduced enough wobble into the screens to make a user worry about bumping them. Samsung’s new cable management layout in the MU8000 is also a considerable aesthetic improvement over what we saw in the 2016 KS and KU-Series models.
Moving along, the overall display performance of the MU8000 is something we can’t criticize too much at all. No, this model won’t give you the rather stunning quantum dot color filter performance of its QLED cousins for this year and the 8000 definitely lacks the sheer intensity of peak brightness that we saw in the 2016 SUHD TVs and the 2017 QLED models but overall, the MU8000 delivers the full range of HDR color performance at a level that is only somewhat weaker than what you’d see in the new QLED models, so you’re not losing much on color with this TV either. As for the MU8000’s brightness, it comes nowhere near the stunning 1400+ nit peak brightness measurements that we saw in any of the 2016 SUHD TVs or Samsung’s QLED TVs for this year but with that said, the MU8000 can light up a screen at a level that’s equal to or better than those of the majority of mid-range HDR LCD TVs on sale today. Thus, for its price, this TV delivers very nicely on both color and brightness power.
Additionally, as far as black level and contrast performance in the MU8000 is concerned, this television is a truly great performer, outdoing even the much pricier QLED Q7F model we recently reviewed in this metric. Blacks are generally very uniform and deep in this TV while the actual black level that the MU8000 can manage sits at a level that’s almost equal to those of the 2016 SUHD TV lineup. This TV also produced a very decent high native contrast ratio that most viewers will be very pleased with. One other surprising but wonderful display addition in the MU8000 which really helps this TV’s black level performance is local dimming technology. Unlike its 2016 KU-Series predecessors, the MU-Series 8000 has local dimming and while it doesn’t work to a high level of precision, this new feature certainly helps out on delivering deeper, richer blacks in broad areas of the screen when necessary, resulting in more realistic images and stronger contrast.
Finally, where the MU8000 line of 4K HDR TVs really perform admirably is on their motion handling. In this area, they are at their most superior to the 2016 KU-series models and nearly on par with many more expensive premium HDR TV models in how well they handle motion specs. For one thing, the MU8000 has a native refresh rate of 120Hz, unlike the entire 2016 KU-Series lineup which consisted of 60Hz TVs. In addition to this, the 8000 model delivers nearly perfect motion blur control by LCD TV standards, completely perfect 24p content playback and some truly superb motion interpolation for content of below 120fps played back on this TV’s native 120fps refresh panel. De-judder and De-blur settings in the MU8000’s custom picture control menus lend a big hand at delivering high quality motion interpolation here.
The Samsung MU8000 is a high-end mid-range 2017 4K TV with some of the latest features available for LCD TV technology today. Thus, when taking consideration of its weaknesses, we bear in mind that this TV should not be expected to deliver everything a premium model like the QLED televisions or Sony’s Bravia 4K HDR TVs do. The MU8000 should instead be judged by the expectations of its included technology and price range. That said, there are three main defects to the overall performance of the Samsung MU8000 4K HDR TV, though none of them re what we’d call deal breakers.
First of all, like al VA panel LCD TVs, this model has some fairly weak viewing angles. Instead of the 58 degree angles you’d get with your typical IPS 4K TV or the even better viewing angles found in OLED TVs, with the MU8000, any viewing from an angle of more than about 28 degrees will produce a notable deterioration in contrast, color and overall picture quality. Thus, if you have a wide living room and lots of seating far off to either side from dead center in front of where your 4K TV would go, the MU8000 might not be your best choice. Instead a good OLED model like the now highly affordable 2016 B6 from LG or a particularly high-performing LCD IPS 4K TV such as Sony’s X850D model would be better option.
Secondly, the color performance of the MU8000 could use some improvement. Samsung has given this 4K TV wide color gamut and 10-bit color but despite the inclusion of these HDR color performance specs, the 8000-series model’s overall color volume performance is a bit limited. Basically, the wide color gamut volume isn’t shown to the full rich extremes we’ve seen in other WCG HDR TVs like Sony’s X900E or Samsung’s SUHD TVs from 2016. Deeper, darker or more bright, vibrant colors look a bit more washed out than we’d like in the MU8000. Most users of this TV won’t be disappointed by the model’s color performance at all, especially consumers who don’t have regular experience with premium HDR TVs but if you’ve spent any time viewing HDR content on a premium Sony TV model or one of Samsung’s SUHDs from 2016, the difference between their performance and that of the MU8000 will be noticeable.
Finally, at least in our view, while the MU8000 delivers very good display brightness in both HDR and SDR settings overall, the HDR end of the scale could have been improved somewhat. Average sustained 10% display window peak HDR brightness in this model sits at roughly 495 nits, and while this is certainly not bad, it’s only a bit better from what we saw in the 2016 KU-Series Samsung models. For 2017 and for a TV with so many other enhancements over its KU-Series predecessors, this spec could have been boosted further, to say 650 or even 700 nits for concentrated peak brightness. One could argue that this complaint is baseless and we certain ly wouldn’t call the MU8000 a dim 4K TV by any normal measure but if the QLED models can hit 1400 to 2000 nits and even the 2016 SUHD TVs could all reach 1400 nits, then the pricier 2017 MU-Series models like the 8000 should be capable of at least 700 nits.
Overall, we love the Samsung MU8000 4K HDR TV. This model is priced fairly reasonably and delivers some genuine premium display performance despite its mid-range status. This particular TV is a definite improvement over any of the 2016 KU-Series 4K TV models and we’d even argue that it’s almost a premium 4K HDR TV as far as some of its performance metrics are concerned.
Key TV Specs
- Screen sizes: 49 inch UN49MU8000, 55 inch UN55MU8000, 65 inch UN65MU8000, 75 inch UN75MU8000. Model being reviewed is 55 inches.
- Smart TV: Tizen Smart TV platform with
- HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
- VP9 Included. Yes
- HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
- HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
- HDR Support: Yes, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log Gamma
- Refresh Rate: 120Hz native refresh rate
- Screen Lighting: edge-lit LED backlighting (top and bottom) with local dimming
- Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
- Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
- Remotes: Samsung OneRemote Smart Remote
- Connectivity (all in One Connect Mini box): 4 HDMI (all of them 2.0a and HDCP 2.2) ports, 3 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, 1 Digital Audio Out
- Sound: 40W (10W x 2, Woofer 10W x 2) with Dolby™ Digital Plus, Woofer, DTS Premium Sound 5.1
- Contrast Ratio: 4,754 : 1 (native, real contrast)
- Black Level maximum: 0.020 cd/m2
- 3D Technology: N/A
- TV dimensions (55 inch model): 48.3″ x 28.0″ x 2.2″ inches w/o stand, 48.3″ x 30.8″ x 9.7″ w stand
- TV weight (55 inch model): 39.5 lb lbs w/ Stand, 38.4 lb. without stand
- Processor: Quad-Core Processor
Some Important Highlights
Local Dimming: Unlike Samsung’s entire 2016 KU-Series 4K HDR TV lineup, the MU8000 and its pricier cousins such as the MU9000 come with local dimming. Because these are bottom-lit edge-lit LCD TV models, the precision of their local dimming technology is less than stellar but even limited local dimming noticeably enhances black levels and contrast during content playback over what’s possible in TVs without this technology. Specifically, in a TV with this feature, sections of backlight LEDs are actually deactivated to give areas of the display deeper darkness during black scenes in a movie. TVs without local dimming in on the other hand simply leave the backlight array fully lit but block out light via filters in the pixels themselves. This however always produces at least some backlight leakage leading to weaker black levels in dark scenes.
120Hz Refresh: The entire 2016 KU-Series lineup of Samsung mid-range 4K TVs came with native 60Hz panels for a maximum native refresh rate of 60 frames per second. The MU8000 and some of the other MU-Series HDR TVs however come with a native refresh rate of 120Hz, which is the same as that of premium Samsung SUHD and QLED TVs as well as many other premium Sony, LG and Vizio 4K HDR TV models. This creates a distinctly improved level of motion handling and motion interpolation for fast-paced action content in particular.
24p content support: Another major improvement in the MU8000 and its cousins is the presence of full support for 24p media and streaming movie content playback. This basically means that the TV reprograms its native frame rate to more smoothly handle movies which have been filmed at a much slower 24p rate and thus need to be interpolated to fit the native frame refresh of the MU8000’s actual display. TVs without 24p content playback smoothing technology will still play back 24p content of course but with a notable “judder” effect that some viewers can really get annoyed with. Other people barely notice judder but either way, the MU8000 smoothes it out so that it’s barely noticeable even to a sharp eye.
Key Display Specs
In terms of display performance, the MU8000 is a great 4K TV and also offers the benefit of some pretty robust high dynamic range picture specs along with excellent black levels, very decent contrast and some very good if not outright stunning brightness capacity. Furthermore, as we’d noted above, this particular 4K TV delivers some truly excellent motion handling performance. Let’s cover the actual measured numbers for each of these key display categories.
Black Level and Contrast: The MU8000 line of HDR TVs doesn’t deliver the best Samsung 4K TV contrast we’ve seen so far. Some of the SUHD models and even some of the KU-Series TVs managed levels well above 5000 and even in some cases 6000:1 contrast ratios. However, with a contrast of 4,754:1, the MU8000 is absolutely no slouch. It’s contrast is reduced a bit by a slightly lowered white brightness level of just 94 nits instead of the more usual 101 to 102 nits but the black level performance of this TVs contrast metric is quite good at 0.02 nits, which is actually fully HDR10 standards compliant. Overall black uniformity in the 8000 series is also generally quite good with only minimal clouding in the lower middle portions of the screen we looked at. This aspect of display performance can however vary considerably from unit to unit, so our measurement of it cannot be taken as a fixed thing. The same applies to contrast ratio at least to a small degree of variation from one unit to another. Overall though, black levels, black uniformity and contrast ratio in the MU8000 TVs are very good indeed and these are crucial specs for TV display performance.
Brightness: The brightness performance of Samsung’s MU8000 TVs is very good despite our wish that it were even better considering these TVs other improvements over their predecessors and the general standards of today’s HDR TVs (2017 models). But again, these particular models deliver very solid peak brightness for all display coverage percentages. Thus, to name a few key figures in this category. The MU8000 manages a peak SDR brightness of 830 nits in a 10% window. This is great indeed but it’s also something of an abnormality because when delivering sustained 10% display SDR brightness, the MU8000 manages a much lower 412 nits but balances this nicely with sustained 50% and 100% SDR brightness levels of 398 nits and 391 nits respectively. These figures are pretty good and fairly average for an HDR TV working in SDR mode.
As for brightness levels when in HDR mode for high dynamic range content, the MU8000 also performs well but this is the category in which we would have liked to see even higher numbers. Maximum spot peak brightness in a 10% display section on the MU8000 with HDR activated sits at just 601 nits, with sustained 10% display peak brightness lowering down to 515 nits and sustained 50% and 100% display space peak brightness sitting at levels of 415 nits and 396 nits respectively. These figures aren’t bad by mid-range HDR TV standards but they come nowhere close to what the QLED TVs and the 2016 SUHD TVs were capable of. A model like the MMU8000 could have been outfitted to do better even though most users will be perfectly happy with the brightness levels above. Fans of extreme “holy shit the car headlights on the TV made me squint as if they were real” brightness would be happier with a much more expensive full HDR TV like the Q9F QLED model from Samsung.
Color Delivery: The MU8000 delivers full HDR color in the form of support for both wide color gamut at 93.5% DCI-P3 color space coverage and 10-bit color for a total of 1.05 billion RGB color values. However, where this TV does fall a bit flat is on extremes of color vibrancy such as those we’ve seen in comparable models like the Sony X900E or Samsung’s SUHD TVs from last year. Color volume overall, despite wide color gamut coverage doesn’t rally allow for vibrant rich representation of deeper darker colors or extremely bright high vibrancy colors. These absences won’t even be important for non-HDR content but for video sources that have been mastered in high dynamic range, users who’ve seen such content on premium HDR TVs will notice the weakness of color representation in the MU8000.
Motion Handling and Upscaling Performance: The motion handling of this particular Samsung 4K TV model is quite frankly excellent and represents the 8000 TVs biggest improvement over their 2016 KU-Series predecessors. For starters, the MU8000 comes with a native 120Hz display panel and partly as a result of this, it can deliver some very low motion blur in onscreen content, with a minimal response time of just 11.2 milliseconds with almost no overshoot. In simpler terms, fast-paced objects moving across the screen will not look annoyingly blurry with long trails behind them. Motion interpolation of content sources playing at frame rates below the 120Hz of this TV’s panel is also superb in the MU8000, with great playback of 24p, 30p and 60p content formats if settings in the TV’s Custom control menus such as “De-judder” and “De-blur” are activated and played with a bit. We should also note that the MU8000 handles 24p movie formats from discs and streaming systems wonderfully, with full support for judder-free 24p playback.
Below are the connectivity options of the Samsung MU8000 4K HDR TV. All major advanced content connectivity specs are included and this TV is fully capable of console gaming and PC monitor use in all major resolution formats, frame rates and color subsampling modes, with the exception of support for 1080p content at 120Hz, which the MU8000 doesn’t support when used as a PC display. We should also note that the MU8000, like almost all of Samsung’s 4K TVs that we’ve reviewed so far between 2015 and 2017, comes with excellent performance for console gaming. This TV robustly supports all content, color sampling and major resolution formats from game consoles and within its Game mode it does this at very low levels of input lag. 4K and 1080p gaming in HDR can be done with an input lag of between 19 and 25 milliseconds. Now. Here are the MU8000’s inputs, all of them located within the TV’s OneConnect Mini box:
- HDMI : 4 (All come with HDCP 2.2 and full HDMI 2.0a capacity)
- USB : 3 (USB 3.0)
- Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
- Analog Audio Out RCA : 1
- Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
- Ethernet : 1
The MU8000 TV models also offer audio connectivity in the following types
- 5.1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
- 5.1 Passthrough ARC DTS
- 5.1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
- 5.1 Passthrough Optical DTS
Samsung has priced their MU8000 4K HDR TV models much more affordably tan the QLED TVs of 2017 but these new mid-range televsions are nonetheless on the slightly pricey side as of this writing. The following are the prices as of mid-April of 2017, though we suggest clicking the below Amazon links to check them for discounts, sale offerings and general price reductions which can happen at any time.
UN49MU8000 4K HDR LCD Smart TV: $ 1,197.99
UN55MU8000 4K HDR LCD Smart TV: $ 1,497.99
UN65MU8000 4K HDR LCD Smart TV: $ 2,197.99
UN75MU8000 4K HDR LCD Smart TV: $ 3,497.99
The Bottom Line
We like the Samsung MU8000. It’s a powerful 4K TV with definite improvements over any of its 2016 KU-Series counterparts. In some ways it’s almost as good as the 2016 SUHD TVs and despite a few minor flaws, most users will love it. However, in terms of value per dollar spent, Sony’s X900E models are very slightly better televisions, most notably due to their brighter displays.