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Samsung BD-C8500 review



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Samsung BD-C8500
  • Samsung BD-C8500
  • Samsung BD-C8500
  • Samsung BD-C8500
  • Samsung BD-C8500
  • Samsung BD-C8500
  • BD-C8500 Blu-ray Recorder


Our Score:


The BD-C8500 is a Blu-ray player with a twist. As well as spinning hi-def movies, it can also record programmes from its Freeview HD tuner onto the 500GB hard-disk, bringing you two hi-def sources in a single slimline box. It’s not the first such product to be launched – LG’s HR400 beat Samsung to the punch last year (sadly we never got a sample) – but it’s still an interesting combi that lets you upgrade to hi-def with maximum convenience and minimum clutter.

On the outside, Samsung lives up to its reputation as the Gok Wan of home cinema with a typically exuberant design. Gloss black from top to bottom and measuring 430(w) x 61.5(h) x 300(d)mm, the deck is sleek and sexy, while the undulating white lights that shine through two windows on top are pure eye candy. The fascia features a row of illuminated touch-sensitive buttons covering the most-used functions, and a central display switches between the time and current channel number. It’s very attractive, and because you’re getting two machines for the size of one you’ll end up saving space in your AV cabinet too.

Also on the front panel is a small flap that conceals a USB port for digital media playback and a common interface slot, which comes as a pleasant surprise. That means you can add pay TV channels like Sky Sports to the line-up.

On the back you’ll find a fairly basic array of sockets, but with everything you need integrated into the box, this simple line-up of sockets is hardly surprising. There’s an HDMI v1.3 output of course, and an Ethernet port to take advantage of the Profile 2.0 deck’s BD Live functionality. You’ll also find optical digital audio, component and composite outputs, as well as RF input and loopthrough sockets.

The huge hard-disk provides 136 hours’ worth of hi-def recording time. There are no recording modes to trade off picture quality for extra recording time, but with 500GB of space that shouldn’t be an issue. The disc drive is for playback only and not recording, so you can’t internally archive programmes from the hard-disk, and with no Scart outputs there’s no easy way of making back-up copies on external recorders either. This has been conceived as a simple, self-contained PVR that plays Blu-ray discs, and that sort of simplicity is undeniably appealing.

But Blu-ray playback and HDD recording are just the tip of the iceberg. As is usually the case with Samsung products, there’s a wealth of networking features on board, which can be accessed very easily using the built-in Wi-Fi adapter. You can stream music, video and photos from networked PCs using the AllShare feature, or access a wide range of web applications through Samsung’s Internet@TV feature. We’ve talked about these excellent features many times already, but it’s worth noting that they’re easy to set up and implemented here with the same slickness and user-friendliness as the rest of Samsung’s current Blu-ray products.

The BD-C8500 also supports an extensive range of digital media types, including the increasingly popular MKV and DivX Plus HD formats plus MP3, AAC, WMA, AVCHD, WMV, 3GPP and JPEG. As for Blu-ray, it decodes Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, as well as sending them as bitstreams from the HDMI output.

There are plenty of other features to discover, including CD ripping onto the hard disk, the AMG Metadata music database, 21:9 to 16:9 aspect ratio conversion and 1080p DVD upscaling, but one notable absentee from the feature list is 3D compatibility – that would have been the icing on the cake.

Mike B

December 17, 2010, 1:51 pm

Nice idea but for the limitations the cost is too high.

You could buy a Digital Stream DHR8203U (£210) and a cheap Blu-ray player for the same cost and have a more flexible package (since you would now have twin Freeview HD tuners).

Hamish Campbell

December 17, 2010, 2:38 pm

I'm very tempted by this, mostly as it's about the only dvb-c recorder on the market. Here' in sunny denmark we have a lot of cable tv, and it seems the big brands just aren't interested in producing products for dvb-c. (kinda strange, I would have throught it can just be identical to dvb-t but with a different tuner hardware and driver).

My secret hope is that sony will get in the game too with a dual tuner device, as I like the look of their internet offerings and perhaps...one day...their new quirocity will get to denmark too. *sigh*

Andy B

December 17, 2010, 3:24 pm

I was interested until I read it was single Freeview tuner only. Dammit!

Patient Learner

December 17, 2010, 4:33 pm

Mike B - you're quite right that for £300+ you could buy two boxes, and end up with a dual tuner recorder. But it's fair to say that where you'd gain on some aspects, you'd lose on others. With the combination you suggest (Digital Stream) you'd get a better recorder, but.... firstly the picture quality isn't as good as the Samsung, and secondly the Samsung has much better media playback features (wide Codec support), wireless connectivity (DLNA/Internet) and the prospect of various Internet@TV apps.


December 17, 2010, 10:19 pm

Was making it look like a VHS cassette to help us oldies feel more at home with it? :)


December 18, 2010, 4:51 am

While I understand the author trying to interest the reader I think instead you may be unwittingly selling for Samsung. Personally, I think your article would be just as interesting without the 'sales pitch': "bringing you two hi-def sources in a single slimline box."; "The huge hard-disk provides 136 hours’ worth of hi-def recording time.....with 500GB of space that shouldn’t be an issue." and so on. When none of this is particularly outstanding.

It is nothing more than a HiDef HDD-BD/DVD recorder/player. A successor to the Freeview+ DVB HDD-DVD recorders/players which could be purchased for as little as £199 (by savvy viewers) when they first came out. So I would suggest people should not buy this HiDef unit for more than £199.00

Thus given that "My Book Elite 2 TB External hard drive - 480 Mbps from Western Digital" retails from £53.00. Thus being a HiDef unit why not a 1TB HDD, at least?

Nevertheless I applaud the picture quality capabilities.

For the record, since I know Manufacturers do take notice of such comments - well the sensible ones anyway: In addition to having a 1TB HDD (minimum) it should come with either TWO Freeview+ HD tuners or one FV-HD and one Freesat-HD tuner for a price of £250.00 tops.


December 19, 2010, 7:04 am

@Danny you say:

There are no recording modes to trade off picture quality for extra recording time, but with 500GB of space that shouldn’t be an issue.

THERE IS, it's called DVD=Standard Definition and then given "Standard definition pictures also come up smelling of roses – the upscaling process introduces no artefacts, colours retain their strength and detail is crisp."

Still NO excuse for not providing a 1TB HDD at least. Worst no "internal means to archive" or port.

Well if BD-RE is tooooo expensive to implement why not ----> see my comments here:


Patient Learner

December 20, 2010, 5:07 pm


Regarding your comments that this machine should have at least a 1Tb drive.... surely that criticsm can be thrown at most of the Freeview HD recorders on the market at present?? The Humax HDR Fox-T2 has 500Gb, the Philips has 500Gb, the Sagemcom has either 320Gb or 500Gb, the Digital Stream has 320Gb or 500Gb (and, yes, now you can also get a 1Tb version).

Point is, yes, the larger the better, but all these others are just the same. 500Gb is better than the 250Gb of the Panasonic DMR-BD780 isn't it? And far larger than the 160Gb still offered in some standard Freeview recorders.

Yes, 1Tb would be better.... but 500Gb is still good in the current market place. And as to your comment that it should be priced at £199.... well, same could be said for the Humax HDR Fox T2.... but at present HD recorders are 'new' and hence priced higher. That's how it goes.


December 20, 2010, 11:34 pm


You are right in what you say (20th December 2010) but I think you should see my points in general terms.

Of course similar products shouldn't be costing us any more - note my comments about Tosh's 46" TV:



February 18, 2011, 6:15 pm

I'm not sure 136 hours will be long enough for all the content I end up hoarding.

Geoff Richards

February 28, 2011, 12:52 am

@alven72: sorry to hear you aren't happy with yours but those short-comings are fairly clearly mentioned in the review

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