There’s something undeniably appealing about a single product that does the job of several devices, as it cuts down clutter under your TV and could save you a bob or two in the process. Few companies can do this better than Samsung, whose HDD-equipped Blu-ray players not only do the job of a PVR, disc spinner and digital TV receiver but also throw tons of other features into the bargain, turning them into complete home entertainment hubs.
The BD-D8900M is the step-up version of the BD-D8500M we reviewed earlier this year. This unit doubles the hard-disk capacity of the BD-D8500M to 1TB, giving you about 240 hours of hi-def recordings from the built-in Freeview HD (DVB-T2) tuners, which even the staunchest couch potato would struggle to fill. And with built-in Wi-Fi, a host of network features, web content and 3D Blu-ray playback are on board too, could this be the best £360 you’ll ever spend? Let’s find out…
The BD-D8900 is a stylish unit, boasting Samsung’s familiar glossy black finish with eye-catching flashes of silver, but at 60mm high it’s a lot chunkier than Samsung’s non-HDD Blu-ray players. It’s covered in cool embellishments like a front display panel with illuminated touch-sensitive controls built into it, a front-loading disc slot and a window on top that shows the disc whirring round.
Drop down the front flap and you’ll uncover a couple of other goodies – a CI slot for pay TV smartcards and a USB port that lets you plug in memory devices (USB sticks, external HDDs). And on the back there’s an impressive array of sockets, most notably two HDMI outputs that allows owners of receivers without HDMI v1.4 inputs to enjoy 3D pictures and HD audio simultaneously – one output sends the 3D picture to your TV, the other sends audio to your receiver. That’s something only Panasonic’s flagship players have offered until now.
These dual HDMIs are backed up by component, composite, optical digital audio and analogue stereo outputs, as well as an Ethernet port and RF antenna input/loopthrough sockets. The only thing missing is multichannel analogue output for really old receivers, but that’s not crucial.