Should You Buy a Samsung Neo QLED 8K TV in 2023?

You may have heard the next big advancement in television display quality is 8K resolution. And as an innovator in the space, Samsung released their impressive looking "Neo QLED" 8K models over the past couple years. But should you actually buy one in 2023?

In this comprehensive buyer‘s guide, we will analyze the key factors you need to consider before investing thousands on a Neo QLED 8K TV for your home this year:

  1. Extremely Limited Model Selection/Availability
  2. Much More Expensive Than Quality 4K Options
  3. Virtually Zero Native 8K Content Available
  4. Potential Quality Control & Software Issues
  5. Underperforms Leading 4K TVs in Real-World Picture Quality
  6. Questionable Viability as Companies Quickly Back Away From 8K

After breaking down each of those critical considerations below, along with citing relevant data and industry expert perspectives, we will provide you with our final verdict on Samsung‘s Neo QLED 8K televisions – and whether their lofty promises truly warrant the premium costs for real-world home entertainment in 2023 and the near future…

1. Bare Bones Model & Size Variety

A significant downside to selecting a Neo QLED 8K TV in 2023 is the very constrained options available in Samsung‘s lineup:

Only 2 Models Currently Offered

Whereas Samsung offers many series catering to different budgets and feature needs in the 4K TV space, your choices narrow dramatically when it comes to their 8K televisions:

  • QN900C – 2023 Flagship 8K Model
  • QN800C – Lower-Cost Alternative

That‘s the entire portfolio for this year. The QN900B and QN800B models have already been discontinued in many regions, leaving you with no alternatives.

Limited Sizes From 65 to 85 Inches Only

In addition to the paltry model selection, your size options don‘t vary much if you want Neo QLED 8K:

  • 65-inch
  • 75-inch
  • 85-inch

Anyone hoping for a smaller 50-55 inch edition for bedrooms or gaming setups is out of luck. And the largest variant maxes out at 85 inches currently. Competition like LG‘s 8K OLED TV reaches a massive 97 inches if you want to truly go big.

So overall flexibility in tailoring a Neo QLED 8K to your exact viewing environment is severely inhibited by Samsung‘s restrictions around models and sizes.

You may end up settling for hardware that doesn‘t perfectly fit your space requirements simply because no alternatives exist. And for the prices these 8K TVs command, such a compromise isn‘t very palatable…

2. Significantly More Expensive Than Leading 4K TVs

Let‘s discuss the picture quality and performance you can expect from one of Samsung‘s Neo QLED televisions shortly. But one aspect that prevents most average consumers from even considering them is their lofty price tags:

As a starting point, the 65-inch QN800C model sells for a steep $3,499 MSRP. From there, the larger screen variants see huge jumps:

  • 75-inch QN800C – $4,999
  • 85-inch QN900C – $7,999

In other words, expect to pay at minimum over $3,000 for the entry level Neo QLED 8K display sizes. And ponying up $5,000+ for the largest 85-inch is a realistic prospect.

Pricing Compared to Leading 4K TV Models

Are those kinds of costs justified?

Let‘s see how they stack up against Samsung‘s acclaimed Neo QLED 4K models like the QN90B that offer nearly equal performance in many respects:

ModelResolutionSizesPrice (65")
Samsung QN800C 8K8K65, 75, 85"$3,499
Samsung QN90B 4K4K50, 55, 65, 75, 85"$1,597

As you can see, the 65-inch QN90B 4K model can be purchased for $1,900+ less than the comparable lower-cost QN800C 8K edition.

That‘s a massive pricing gap between largely comparable TVs in terms of display quality, smart features, and design. You must assign serious value to the 8K resolution bump to warrant forking over so much extra money.

And we haven‘t even touched on how the Neo QLED 8K options also sell for thousands more than equivalent sized high-end OLED TVs like the LG C2 series that offer their own visual advantages.

In a premium 4K OLED set, you can get world-beating contrast and true blacks for sometimes 50% less dollar investment. The value calculus simply doesn‘t make as much sense with the Neo QLED 8K editions.

3. Native 8K Content Almost Non-Existent

Here‘s where any justification for buying a Neo QLED 8K or any current 8K TV really falls apart – the complete lack of movies, shows, sports or other content filmed or mastered for the extra-high resolution:

No 8K Offerings on Major Streaming Services

As you likely know, streaming has rapidly become the dominant form of watching television programming and films as physical media declines. Yet none of the top platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or Apple TV+ offer any native 8K content.

The demanding bandwidth and storage costs mean you shouldn‘t expect them to start mass filming/distributing films and series in the higher resolution any time soon either.

No 8K Physical Media Options

What about physical disc formats like Blu-Ray and Ultra HD Blu-Ray you may wonder?

Unfortunately, current Blu-Ray spec caps out at 4K resolution still. And even shifting to 8K would require new players, updated HDMI specs, and enormous disc storage needs that don‘t appear practical.

Limited to Amateur YouTube Videos

For now, that leaves new Neo QLED 8K owners having to track down and stream piecemeal 8K demo footage on sites like YouTube from amateur creators.

There are some nice travel videos and nature scenes floating around. But certainly not anything coming even remotely close to matching having Netflix, movies, sports, etc available natively in 8K.

And this situation probably won‘t change radically over the next 2-3 years minimum…

Is Upscaling Enough?

Now you might be wondering whether having strong upscaling from 4K/1080p sources to 8K resolution on the Neo QLED televisions makes up for only having streaming/disc media mastered for 4K maximum.

Does it provide a noticeably enhanced experience?

The truth is upscaling algorithms on even the best modern television hardware produce decent but not incredible results. You‘ll be looking at a soft "simulated" 8K picture rather than true pin-sharp clarity.

For the high prices commanded already, settling for artificial upscaling seems underwhelming.

8K Gaming Also a Pipe Dream Currently

We should also quickly note that modern videogame consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X cannot output higher than 4K 120fps maximum currently. Some can‘t even hit that consistently.

So the gaming experience is also capped on these Neo QLED 8K TVs, even though their fast response times and VRR support make them suitable monitors otherwise.

But you‘ll be viewing 1080p/4K games only.

When Will 8K Content Arrive?

Fair question considering TV buying decisions are meant to serve you well years into the future too.

Industry analyst predictions suggest more stable proliferation of 8K content across streaming services and Blu-Ray may still be 5+ years away, even in a best case scenario.

Does buying now spacetime make sense when ownership cycles for quality televisions should meet or exceed that timeline anyhow?

4. Early Adopter Hardware & Software Issues

Being first-generation 8K models from Samsung, some quality control concerns and teething software problems appear evident on Neo QLED televisions if reviews are indicative:

Worrying Early Hardware Failures

A sampling of reviews for the now discontinued QN900B 8K model highlight problems like:

  • Dead pixels or uneven backlighting appearing in panels
  • Screens arriving fully non-functional out of the box
  • Frequent motion glitches or freezing necessitating factory resets

Some of this perhaps expected for brand new display technology. However, the severity and frequency of total defects reflected in consumer commentary is worrying.

Having to return and exchange brand new $5,000+ luxury televisions due to such serious problems would prove extremely troublesome and disappointing.

Ongoing Stability & Compatibility Complaints

Besides the hardware defects, Samsung‘s smart TV platform also draws some critiques over stability issues in these Neo QLED sets:

  • Apps like Netflix & Disney+ randomly crashing
  • Video stream buffering hiccups
  • Difficulties getting devices and inputs to sync properly

Reviewers indicate firmware updates may alleviate select teething troubles. But Samsung does not inspire confidence regarding software robustness and continuity based on past SmartHub performance issues.

You want reassurance that everything will "just work" at these prices. Yet compromises seem inevitable.

5. Underperforms Leading 4K TVs in Real-World Picture Quality

Without a doubt, these Neo QLED televisions look sublime out of the box. 33 million pixels makes for dazzling demo footage and snapshots.

But measured testing reveals 4K OLED and QLED (including Samsung‘s own) rate better by crucial image quality benchmarks compared to the 8K models.

Respected television testing site Rtings provides in-depth technical evaluation across areas like contrast, black levels, color vibrancy, motion handling, peak brightness and more.

And last year‘s highly-rated Samsung QN900B 8K model scores an overall 8.2 out of 10 in their comprehensive suite of tests.

That‘s very good. However flagship 4K competitors like the LG G2 OLED and Samsung QN90B QLED score noticeably higher at 8.8 and 8.4 respectively.

That means despite having "perfect" sharpness from 33 million pixels, areas like contrast and motion handling exhibit flaws that technically superior 4K televisions avoid.

You can expect extremely similar performance from the latest Neo QLED 8K editions (QN900C & QN800C) that replace the QN900B.

So Why Does 4K Outperform?

Essentially, perfect contrast andabsolute black levels matter more than simply adding extra pixels in determining perceived real-world picture quality. Those areas of OLED TV performance in particular stand so far ahead.

And improved backlight and pixel response on new Mini and Micro LED 4K televisions allow them to avoid downsides like blooming and banding that early generation 8K panels still struggle with irrespective of higher resolution.

Review site commentary and test results validate that analysis when you dive into the numbers.

So despite looking tantalizing on paper, be aware that quantified display quality does not correspond to Neo QLED 8K TV pricing or hype. You can achieve better visual results for less money at this stage of 4K and 8K display evolution.

6. TV Industry Rapidly Backing Away From 8K

The final ominous sign for 8K television‘s viability in the short term is how quickly manufacturers like Samsung‘s competitors have backed away from supporting the high-resolution format barely 2 years into productization:

Hisense & TCL Drop 8K Support Entirely for 2023

Value leaders Hisense and TCL target budget-focused consumers. But they‘ve also expanded into high-end displays with reasonable success.

You could purchase introductory Hisense and TCL 8K models in 2022 catering to early adopters. However, with little fanfare both companies confirmed they would no longer offer any 8K televisions in their 2023 lineups.

For display specialists aggressive about next-generation technologies like HDR, Mini LED, and gaming features, silently abandoning 8K so soon says a lot about its near term profitability and demand.

LG & Sony Down to Just Single 8K Models Each

Premium rivals LG and Sony also seriously narrowed their 8K TV offerings for 2023, signaling weakened confidence:

  • LG – From 4 models last year down to only 1 8K OLED TV for 2023
  • Sony – Now merely a single high-end Z9K 8K display carrying the torch

With major players like Hisense, TCL and others pulling back drastically or exiting the 8K space just 2 years in, you must seriously wonder whether Samsung‘s remaining Neo QLED niches can drive this premium technology mainstream alone.

Jury is clearly still out judging from competitors‘ reluctance to commit R&D budget and factory capacity towards supporting the ultra-high-resolution format.

Given all the key considerations covered – scarce model variety, lofty pricing, almost non-existent 8K content, potential quality issues, underwhelming real-world picture improvements, and quickly fading industry support – our verdict is recommending most home viewers wait purchasing a Samsung Neo QLED 8K TV at this stage.

The technology shows enormous long-term promise. But it appears premature as a consumer display option currently as weaknesses outweigh marginal resolution benefits you likely will not perceive anyway.

You‘ll sacrifice far too much flexibility, assurance, and value compared to buying one of today‘s phenomenal high-end 4K televisions with smarter feature support, more refined visual performance, cheaper costs, and perfect size variance suiting bedrooms and expansive home cinema spaces alike.

Our 2023 Advice – Stick to Premium 4K OLED and QLED TV Options Instead

You‘ll secure a better overall viewing experience at much more digestible price points that become easier to justify replacing in 3-5 years when 8K looks fully primed for prime time across all dimensions analyzed above.

Sound advice? Let us know your thoughts! We want you to shop smartly.

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