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Performance and Verdict

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

9

We can’t find a great deal of fault with the BD-D8900M’s performance. We tuned in to BBC HD’s Wimbledon coverage and it coped admirably with the fast-moving objects, even keeping track of the ball during Serena Williams’ super-fast serves.

Samsung BD-D8900M

Naturally for a hi-def channel there’s detail in abundance, delivered to our 1080p test TV without any significant artefacts like block or mosquito noise. The texture of the grass and scuffed baseline, the pattern of the net, faces in the crowd are all conveyed with pin-sharp clarity. Colours are deep and natural, with various shades and shadows on clothing and backgrounds looking smooth with no banding.

When recorded onto the hard disk, this splendid picture quality remains intact. The lack of recording modes, which on other machines allows you to dip the recording quality to fit more onto the disc, means that all recordings are in the best quality the deck has to offer, but with such a capacious HDD on board you shouldn’t have to worry about the space this takes up.

Standard definition channels also look strong when viewed live or recorded, with some evidence of block noise and feathering on fast movement but nothing to put your nose out of joint.

Blu-ray images look stunning. The crisp, clean digital transfer of pixels from disc to screen results in pristine images that only shows signs of noise if it’s on the disc. It takes fine details and textures in its stride, rendering them with dazzling acuity. And despite being viewed through active shutter glasses, 3D pictures look sharp and vibrant, but with the benefit of extra depth and distance, the effect of which is utterly absorbing.

We’re not so impressed by the quality of the deck’s 2D-to-3D conversion. We tried a few 2D discs and it failed to provide extra depth to the majority of scenes, with only a few obvious ‘floating object’ moments looking remotely like the real thing. But to be fair we’re yet to see convincing conversion tech from any manufacturer.

Verdict

All-in-all, the BD-D8900M is a wonderful advertisement for convergence, melding together various AV components into a slick, single-box unit. It’s positively bursting with cutting-edge features too, ranging from Wi-Fi media streaming to comprehensive Freeview functionality – not to mention a massive 1TB hard-disk. There are a few minor operational drawbacks, such as the cumbersome text-entry system and the inability to record two channels simultaneously but on the whole it’s a highly impressive home entertainment hub that leaves few stones unturned.

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 9
  • Value 9

Orinj

June 25, 2011, 12:20 am

This was about to go straight to the top of my list of AV purchases until I read that although it has two Freeview HD tuners, it can only record one programme at a time. That's such a missed opportunity.

Orinj

June 25, 2011, 12:35 am

I should have also asked, what's the difference between this and the BD-D8500 you reviewed a few months ago? I can only see the HDD storage size as being doubled here. That review seems to indicate that the menus are slower (sluggish) than the 8900 but I can't see how that's possible when they appear to be exactly the same apart from a different hard disk. Why even bother to review this one in that case?

Enigma

June 25, 2011, 12:27 pm

Very good effort by Samsung in comparison to its rivals.

However, why not recordable BD? Simple, that will be on the Autumn model!! May be with a Freesat tuner instead of a second Freeview HD tuner? After all tvs are now coming with a standard Freeview/sat tuners.

Like I said drip feed to keep the Customers buying. However not good for the environment all round. Also not good for the commodity prices.

palms

July 13, 2011, 3:02 am

I posted in a comment about the BD-D8500 and thought to post here in case it gets mist. You can't use the Hub features, allshare features or USB attached devices while your recording. It asks you if you want to stop recording if you use those features. Other than that i love the 85500 and yes the 8900 is the same unit but different size hard drive.

Kevin007

August 14, 2011, 4:45 am

Besides the doubling of memory to 1TB the other differences I've noticed are BD Profile 5.0 instead of 2.0 on the BD-D8500M, and 2 HDMI outs instead of one. So main difference remains the 1TB memory.

Jay299

November 8, 2012, 2:40 am

I'm a bit disappointed with this unit which I bought to replace a Panasonic unit. As mentioned by palms, when recording, the hub i.e. internet and any wifi attached disc content is not available. Also when recording, the guide menu is laboriously slow to respond. Unlike my old Panasonic, I can't watch from the beginning a program which I'm currently recording - this is a real limitation which I didn't expect.

It also tends to reset itself a few seconds after being switched on. This unit seems feature rich but poorly executed.

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