The TV world is so littered with acronyms (4K, HDR, 3D, LCD, LED) even today’s most slang-savvy teen would struggle to understand them all.
When it comes to Samsung and LG, it’s tempting to break down their rivalry into two of them: SUHD vs OLED, respectively.
However, unlike OLED, SUHD isn’t a panel technology. Rather, it’s a term Samsung has coined – from the industry-wide abbreviation, UHD – for the technology it uses in its flagship sets.
It’s based on an LCD panel display that uses Quantum Dot technology – nano-sized particles that produce different colours depending on their size. Samsung claims it offers 64 times the colour expression of standard TVs.
Also falling under the SUHD umbrella is HDR1000, meaning the TVs can reach a brightness of 1000 nits, in line with the UHD Alliance’s Ultra HD Premium specification – which also includes a 4K resolution, less than 0.05 nits black level, and 10-bit colour depth – which the SUHD models adhere to, including this 65in UE65KS9000.
It sits just under the TVs in the mothership JS9500 range and like the rest of the SUHD line-up (with the exception of the UE55JS8000) has a curved screen.
It also has new improved panels and Ultra Black Moth Eye filter technology that ensures distracting reflections are kept to a minimum. Samsung remains adamant that curves make the picture more immersive.
While there’s an argument for that when looking at the screen head-on, LCDs don’t have the wide viewing angles OLED offers.
We watch the UE65KS9000 from the very corner of our sofa and it looks notably washed out compared with the LG OLED65E6V, which largely retains its colour and contrast potency.
LG 1, Samsung 0? Not exactly. The Samsung replies with a slightly cleaner, sharper picture and, despite all the OLED hoo-ha, makes an impressive case for the ongoing validity of LCD.
4K HDR performance
A 4K HDR stream of Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle is expertly delivered, with lines confidently etched and colours natural and brimming with subtlety.
We find setting colour temperature to ‘Warm1’ sucks the apparent coolness from its out-of-the-box palette for a more balanced presentation, so that everything from blood on faces to the autumnal mix of leaves and brown Nazi uniforms look all the more realistic.
Applying motion processing in moderation is worth your time, too, to iron out small judder issues. With it, the Samsung delivers one of the most stable pictures we’ve seen.
The value of HDR is apparent when it comes to nuanced shading and, especially, brightness. Neon lights in night scenes are radiant, as are explosions. The level of high contrast is eye-catching.
Needless to say, it can’t match the OLED set’s black depth, and while that makes all the difference when watching something such as Gravity – space in complete blackness? Yes please – that’s a universal compromise of LCD televisions compared with OLEDs.
For an LCD set, though, the UE65KS9000’s blacks go impressively deep – deeper than those managed by the Sony KD65ZD9BU, which struggles to match the Samsung for dark detail, too.
The Samsung doesn’t struggle, providing insight into a dark office, while ensuring lights in the corner of it shine brightly.
It’s not about getting you ‘one or the other’, and that ability to multitask materialises again in Mad Max: Fury Road on Ultra HD Blu-ray, as truck lights punch out from a clear and well-detailed night scene.
HD and SD performance
As we feed it a standard Blu-ray of Furious 7, the Samsung makes the gargantuan task of upscaling look easy. Apart from a slight loss in crispness and fine detail, it doesn’t feel like much of a comedown.
Colour detail and subtlety still impress and, in the exhilarating-borderline-ridiculous action scenes, motion feels smooth and natural.
Standard-definition broadcasts won’t ‘wow’ – as is the case with all 4K sets we’ve seen, the picture is plagued by noticeable softness and noise – but HD channels are much more clear and defined, with the bold hues of our favourite daytime television programmes (the blues in The Jeremy Kyle Show and reds of Tipping Point) solid and bright.
While the UE65KS9000 doesn’t have the LG OLED65E6V’s volume levels, or as much weight behind the presentation, the 60W 4.1 channel set-up never sounds overworked.
It’s absolutely fine for daytime TV: balance is spot-on and dialogue is more than clear enough.
However, to get a sound as exhilarating as the Samsung’s picture, the audio reins will need handing over to a soundbar, particularly for gains in dynamic expression and bass.
All of Samsung’s 2016 SUHD TVs feature IoT (‘internet of things’) technology, so the UE65KS9000 can act as a remote control for Samsung’s compatible home devices, from door locks to light switches.
Those more interested in ‘true’ TV functionality have BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, Netflix and Amazon at their TV-binging disposal. However, without All4 and Demand5 it isn’t the most comprehensive app list we’ve seen.
Samsung’s Tizen operating system is back this year, and not without upgrades.
The menu still sits along the bottom of the screen, much like LG’s WebOS, but there’s now a collapsible second row that takes one more button press out of accessing sources, suggested or most-watched shows.
We hover the smart remote over the Netflix tab and above it float our most recent watches. Nice!
It feels quicker, too. Providing there’s a good internet connection, apps and web pages load in haste.
While there’s wi-fi on board, connecting via the ethernet port located on the telly’s right-hand side panel is preferred for greater stability.
One USB port sits next to it, while two more are housed in Samsung’s external One Connect box that sits alongside, with four HDMI inputs and an optical output.
The idea of the One Connect box is that it can be easily swapped out for new iterations to accommodate future upgrades, but it also helps make connections more accessible and the UE65KS9000’s stylish design less blemished.
In fact, the slim bezel-less screen and textured back panel are worth doing an observational lap around. The UE65KS9000 is indeed a beauty, not just inside but outside too.
While OLED has its benefits, LCD certainly won’t be consigned to the waste bin any time soon – not when the televisions are still this good and, dare we say it, affordable.