Samsung DVD-SH875M DVD/HDD Recorder - Samsung DVD-SH875M

By Danny Phillips



Our Score:


On board are four recording presets that let you change the picture quality in order to fit more programmes on the hard-disk or DVD when recording from external sources. You can fit 53 hours of programmes onto the hard-disk in XP mode, increasing to 106, 211 and 421 hours in SP, LP and EP modes respectively, with bitrates ranging from about 8.5Mbps in XP down to 1.2Mbps in EP. These recording modes are more useful when recording onto DVD where space is limited, and you can fit one hour onto a single layer DVD in XP mode and up to 8 hours in EP.

There's also a Flexible Recording setting, which finds the most suitable recording mode according to the time remaining on a disc. But unusually, when recording from the Freeview tuner the deck limits you to FR mode, which means you're stuck with whatever recording mode it deems suitable for the selected channel. The idea is to stop you eating up unnecessary disc space by selecting a better mode than you actually need for the source material. A good idea in principle, but some users may not like being restricted in that way.

Recordings are stored in the Title List menu, a smartly presented screen that plays the highlighted recording in a small box and lists the recording codec, date, time and recording mode. It's a shame it doesn't automatically label each recording with the correct programme name, but you can rename them using a virtual keyboard.

There's also a list of editing options, which among other things allows you to split or delete part of a recording, while the impressive Playlist feature lets you fuse together scenes from any recording using a surprisingly user-friendly editing tool. It's easy to move scenes around or replace them, and the resulting list plays back with only a momentary pause between scenes and no picture break up around the edit points, no matter how short the scenes are.

There are plenty of other features on board, including pause live TV (Time Shift), simultaneous recording/playback, Anynet+ HDMI CEC, video upscaling to 720p, 1080i and 1080p, Dolby Digital and DTS bitstream output, progressive scan component video output and 3D Noise Reduction for recording.

Ross 2

November 3, 2008, 7:29 pm

"You can plug an MP3 player, USB memory stick or digital camera into the latter port and transfer JPEG, MP3 and DivX files onto the hard-disk or DVD (or vice versa) or play them directly from the device." - does this mean you can copy video recorded on the PVR onto an MP3 player?

Ross 2

December 30, 2008, 6:16 pm

I've since bought one of these, and the answer to my question above appears to be "no". This product is completely unusable, if you don't upgrade the firmware. The UI is pretty ugly and kind of dumb. The boot is really slow, and the unit seems to spend most of it trying to read a disk from the empty drive. The chapter skip button doesn't take you on five minutes in the current recording (for example), but skips you to the next recorded programme, whatever that is. The unit defaults to subtitles being on, and there seems to be no way to have them off by default. If the DVD drive is empty, you need to manually tell the unit to look to the HDD: it won't just assume that's where you want to look for recordings. On the whole, this unit feels a little unfinished.


January 23, 2009, 11:13 pm

I have this unit and it has been exceptional and to finish the Ross comment, clearly he has issues with technology as my unit copy files to MP3 player, EHDD and Camera vice versa fine without any firmware upgrade.

Ross maybe your MP3 Player is shoddy, on the whole your comments seem a little unfinished.

Y Waun

March 19, 2009, 1:11 am

We've had several experiences of the date changing, apparently at random, so planned recordings have not happened. today the guide tells me it is the 7th April, when it is the 18th March!! Also the day of weekly recordings has mysteriously changed!! Does anyone have any ideas why this is happeneing and how we can avoid it? Thanks

Bonzo Banana

September 26, 2009, 4:02 am

There are some factual errors in this review. Samsung dvd recorders record the mpeg video data directly from the freeview transport stream which is why you can't set the recording mode. If you record a tv station like BBC1 which is 720x576 and a reasonable bitrate you may only get about 2hrs on a disc. If you record a low bitrate tv station which is 544x576 you might get upto 5 hours on a disc. However you are recording a broadcast quality video which is lossless. A big advantage over most other dvd recorders. This is clearly evident by the fact you can record freeview subtitles. If you put the subtitles on and record the program you can then turn them on or off when playing back. Only possible if its recording the transmission directly. So for archiving/storing your favourite freeview programs onto dvd disc samsungs are clearly superior to other models. However they are still a pain to operate with their poor gui and slow operation.

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