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Samsung BD-C8500 - Freeview Functionality and Operation

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

As for the PVR side of things, the BD-C8500 is easy to use, putting a wide range of functions at your disposal. There’s a good-looking eight-day EPG, but because it tries to squeeze a lot of information into a tight space you can only see six channels at a time. Live TV plays in a box at the top, next to a brief description of the selected programme. Despite being a little cluttered, the modern-looking fonts and nice use of colour make it easy on the eye and easy to decipher.

In fact, the deck’s onscreen presentation is excellent across the board. The main menu, for example, uses sharp, full colour graphics and large icons, giving it a very welcoming feel. From here you can access any of the deck’s functions – like Internet@TV, music, photos and Blu-ray playback – or change the device using the red key and explore connected USB devices or PCs. The Recorded TV menu sports gorgeous graphics, giving it a very stylish appearance. It lists recordings with the full name, a thumbnail, duration and date, plus the list can be sorted in the style of your choosing.

From here you can edit individual recordings – the available options are rename, split and partial delete. It’s a shame, however, that there’s no series link option, which should be a vital part of any Freeview recorder feature list. It means programmes have to be scheduled individually, which is easy enough to do from the EPG but feels like a step backwards.

The single Freeview tuner is another limitation, as it means you can’t change channel if a recording is taking place, and even more galling is that when a programme is being recorded you can’t access any of the deck’s other functions – even the EPG, which is madness. You can, however, carry out tricks like pausing live TV and watching a programme from the start while it’s still being recorded – although to do the latter you have to hit the ‘i’ button and skip back, which is an unusual but effective way of doing it.

The onscreen programme banners are attractively presented, and don’t limit you to now and next information. You can search the entire channel list and check out what’s on days in advance without having to enter the full EPG. The display is also packed with colourful icons, telling you everything you could possibly need to know about the current programme – resolution, aspect ratio, audio description, genre and audio format to name but a few.

Also impressive is the remote, which uses large, rubbery buttons, all distinctly separated out and clearly labelled. Despite the wide array of functions it has to cover, it doesn’t feel cluttered or fiddly at all. Great work.

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.

M7S

December 17, 2010, 10:19 pm

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

Enigma

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.

Enigma

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:





http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

Patient Learner

December 20, 2010, 5:07 pm

@Enigma...





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.

Enigma

December 20, 2010, 11:34 pm

@Patient...





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:





http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

Cliff

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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