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

By Danny Phillips
Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

The setup menu is immaculately laid out and easy on the eye, but the deck's overall ease of use is hampered by the awkward remote, which features too many small, fiddly buttons - many of which are packed into an overly cluttered section at the bottom. If these were lesser used keys it wouldn't be a problem, but among them are the EPG, Record, Recording mode, Text and Info buttons, all of which should have been more prominently positioned.

After making a series of recordings from the Freeview tuner across a range of channels, it's clear that the Samsung boasts impressive video encoding circuitry, but the lack of control over the recording mode can cause problems. Programmes on ITV1, for example, are recorded in the 2Mbps LP mode to match the channel's bitrate, which is typically around 2.2Mbps, but this introduces some pixel break up and motion artefacts into the image that could possibly have been avoided with XP mode at your disposal.

But recordings made from BBC One are made in SP, which captures the channel's higher bitrates (around 4.5Mbps) and gives a better indication of what the Samsung is capable of. But the deck is at its best when you feed an RGB signal from a Sky HD box into the SCART input and select XP mode - images look supremely crisp and radiant, block noise is competently suppressed and edges are rendered with no ringing or bleed.

The Samsung bolsters its picture credentials by way of superb pre-recorded DVD playback, with the clean 1080p upscaling making the most of Apocalypto's vibrant colours and bountiful detail. DivX, MP3 and JPEG playback are also impressive, and it's easy to transfer and play them from the hard-disk thanks to the clever and responsive menu system.

Verdict

If you're looking for a Freeview DVD/HDD recorder that records and plays a wide range of formats, offers loads of recording and editing features and a healthy hard-disk size, then the DVD-SH875M is a sound choice. It's let down by some clunky Freeview functionality and an awkward remote, but with such a tempting price tag you might be willing to put up with these shortcomings.

Scores In Detail

Performance
7/10
Value
9/10
Features
8/10
Design
9/10

Our Score

8/10
Previous page

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.

hankb6d

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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