Samsung BD-D8500 - Operation

By Danny Phillips



  • Recommended by TR
Samsung BD-D8500


Our Score:


The onscreen displays have also been given a lick of paint since last year’s models, and the redesign is a revelation. There are few menu systems, aside from Sony’s perhaps, that look this good yet operate with the same level of slickness. Samsung has brought in a new main menu that retains everything that was great about last year’s menu system – bright, welcoming colours, animated icons, clear legible text – but makes it feel a little less cluttered. Losing the ‘recommended apps’ along the top has helped to achieve this.

The use of animated icons captures a sense of what the function offers, while each one is descriptively labelled – My Devices, Watch TV etc. This simplicity carries over into the setup menu, whose comprehensive range of adjustments is displayed with chunky text, an appealing blue colour scheme and a lovely ‘glowing’ aura around the cursor.

What’s more, network setup has been made easier than ever before, thanks to a simplified setup wizard that uses crisp, full colour graphics and clearly-presented options down the left-hand side. It’s also great to see that 3D playback requires no complex setup.

The DLNA media streaming displays are laid out in a similarly jazzy fashion, with files arranged into clearly labelled folders.

As for Freeview operation, the onscreen displays are terrific – friendly, modern and easy to understand, with attractive colours and cute icons. The Freeview EPG is a great example of this, squeezing in the live TV screen, programme synopsis, six-channel programme grid and list of options at the bottom without feeling cluttered.

It’s also easy to set series link due to Samsung’s clear, plain English dialogue boxes, plus it’s good to see that you can use the onscreen banner to look ahead in the schedule without having to wade through the full EPG.

It’s not all good news though. Most of the digital TV menus and the main menu are strangely sluggish to operate, with an off-putting delay when any button is pushed. The Recorded TV menu is also a bit unclear, and certain functions seem long-winded, particularly editing – you have to enter the ‘edit mode’, select the programme and then select ‘Edit’ from the Tools menu. It’s the sort of stuff you’ll get used to after prolonged use, but it’s not entirely intuitive.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the look and layout of the remote, but that’s definitely a good thing. Although busy, the chunky buttons and thumb-friendly arrangement don’t require any brain power to master. Buttons have been added for direct access to the new functions, such as Smart Hub and 2D-to-3D conversion.


March 11, 2011, 6:40 pm

i'd much rather buy smarthub on this device and save money by being able to buy the samsung tv you just reviewed without a tuner, or any other gubbins. Just the screen and speakers will do fine. Surely there is a gap in the market waiting to be filled or is the marginal cost of all this technical wizadry zero so tv manufacturers chuck it in for free?

Will Robinson

May 17, 2011, 3:20 pm

"..built-in Wi-Fi adapter, which ... allows you to stream media from PCs and NAS drives on your home network".

Initially I thought this didn't work at all. It's certainly fiddly to set up.
I was under the impression my computer (a Windows Home Server) was DNLA compliant 'out of the box' but seems I was wrong about that (or at least it is not 'Samsung DNLA' compatible)...
You have to install the Samsung AllShare software (or Samsung-compatible third party DNLA media server software such as Serviio) on the PC / NAS hosting the files.
Load the software, set it up to point it to the correct library (folder) and as if my magic, the Samsung suddenly sees the remote files. Hopefully, it'll play them too...


July 13, 2011, 2:55 am

Just Bought this model and like all the quality of the tuner and DVD/Bluray upscaling to my Pioneer 1080i Tv.

What is not mentioned in any review i have read is that when your recording you can't use the smart hub features, watch a Movie attached to the the usb port or through your shares. People should know this before buying it. Im keeping it because i can switch to my WD LIVE on other AV and watch movies on their.


July 14, 2011, 7:41 pm

Just an update. Spoke to Samsung today about the the recording issue. Samsung said they thought this had been fixed with the last firmware update. They told me they will fix it and let me know when the file is ready to download. So glad i called them, now the PVR is almost perfect.

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