The high-performing 55-inch Samsung UN55B8000 is one of Samsung's most talked about LCD HDTV models, not just because of its price - $2500 to $3500 - but also because it is at the top of the line of Samsung's edge-lit LED televisions. But what exactly is an edge-lit HDTV?
To understand the concept of an edge-lit HDTV, first, you have to know how an LED-based HDTV works. While a regular LCD television uses a single fluorescent lamp as a backlight, an LED-lit LCD television uses hundreds of small bulbs (called light emitting diodes or LEDs) covering the back of the screen. Because of this, LED-based televisions are brighter and can produce more vivid colors and in particular, deeper blacks - a result of the fact that a group of LEDs can be totally turned off while part of a fluorescent lamp can only be dimmed. LEDs also consume less power but can last much longer.
Because of this, LED-lit HDTVs are becoming popular. However, most of them are direct-lit, which means that the LEDs cover the entire panel and project the light forward. On the other hand, the Samsung UN55B8000 is edge-lit, which means that the LEDs are only on the top and the bottom of the panel, projecting the light towards the center where a light guide plate reflects it forward and focuses it accordingly.
One advantage of edge-lit HDTVs is that they can be made even thinner and lighter, making them not only attractive but also easier to mount on the wall just like a framed painting. Indeed, the UN55B8000 is only 1.2 inches deep at most, making it one of Samsung's slimmest and most stylish HDTVs.
Another advantage is that edge-lit HDTVs consume even less electricity. In fact, while LEDs already consume half the electricity that a fluorescent lamp uses, edge-lit HDTVs use far less. The UN55B8000, in particular, consumes up to 40 percent less power.
Edge-lit televisions have disadvantages, too, though, such as the heat generated by the frame - especially the top and bottom part - and problems regarding screen uniformity. Samsung claims to have solved these issues, though, and indeed, the UN55B8000 is an efficient piece, with the issue of screen uniformity only appearing during dark scenes, and even then, is difficult to discern.
Aside from the fact that it is an edge-lit HDTV, the Samsung UN55B8000 is an excellent HDTV for other reasons, such as its 240Hz processor, which results in clear and crisp images even during fast-moving scenes and its accurate colors, which contribute to creating amazing picture quality. It comes with interactive features, as well, such as an extensive library of built-in content and Yahoo widgets to keep you posted on the latest updates in the weather, news and stock market. Connectivity, though not its strongest point, is quite good, too, with four HDMI inputs, a PC input and two USB slots to name a few.
Overall, the Samsung UN55B8000 is a great buy, that is, if you can afford it. After all, it is not only an edge-lit LED-based LCD HDTV. With an eye-catching design, a bunch of great features and breathtaking images, it might as well be Samsung's best LED TV yet.