The BD-DT7800 uses the same operating system as Samsung’s Blu-ray players, which means colourful, sharply-resolved animated graphics across the board and a sense of logicality that not all Freeview PVRs are blessed with. The main menu breaks functions down into the core areas – Recorded TV, Watch TV, Internet, My Devices and so forth – and despite the elaborate presentation it operates smoothly.
Smart Hub is equally easy to use, Samsung having looked to Android and Apple's iPhone as design inspirations. The apps are arranged in a grid, each with its own logo thumbnail, and cleverly you can move them into folders, one for each member of the family perhaps. Your Video, Search and Samsung Apps are prominently located at the top, and installing new apps is a piece of cake. It’s responsive and easy to use, although like most web-on-TV features entering text can be a time-consuming process and there’s no provision for adding a USB keyboard.
Elsewhere Samsung’s EPG is one of the best in the business, arranging a wide array of information – not to mention a live TV screen in the corner – without making it feel cramped. The six-channel grid actually shows you most of each programme name, while you can see the synopsis without having to press the Info button. The rest of the digital TV displays and onscreen dialogue boxes are equally clear, particularly the info banner which lets you browse the entire schedule.
Once you’re connected to the web, the DLNA feature can be accessed through the My Contents or My Devices options in the main menu. Connected devices are listed on the left and content lists on the right, with helpful folder icons to give it some continuity with a PC. This feature also worked smoothly during our test, although there were one or two long pauses while loading content.
A similar-looking menu is used to display your recordings, which makes them easy to find. The editing features are long-winded to access though (you have to tick the programmes you want to edit, hit Tools, Edit and then get to work) but once found the editing tool is self-explanatory.
The remote is terrific, masking the deceptively complex nature of the product with logical placement of the big rubber buttons. Features like Smart Hub and 2D-to-3D conversion are granted their own keys and a Tools button brings up a small menu box containing picture presets and playback information.