‘Make your TV smarter’ is the slogan emblazoned on the box of Samsung’s latest Freeview HD PVR, which means that as well as allowing you to watch and record Freeview programmes it brings you a whole host of extra content from the internet and networked devices around the home. That gives it an advantage over most other Freeview PVRs on the market, and although the price is quite steep, Samsung’s typically generous feature list means you certainly get a lot for your money.
There are two DVB-T2 tuners on-board and a 500GB hard-disk drive, which allows you to record up to 130 hours of hi-def programmes or 208 hours of SD. This may not be enough to satisfy hardened TV fanatics for whom nothing less than 1TB will do, but most users should find it sufficient.
The BD-DT7800’s design is a break from the usual black-box norm, opting for a glitzy brushed silver finish on the fascia, a transparent strip running along the bottom and an eye-catching blue light bang in the centre. Set into the front panel is a row of touch sensitive controls – also a rarity among PVRs – that let you record, stop and change channel, as well as a display panel that shows the time and channel number when you switch over. Overall build quality is superb too.
Under a flap on the right you’ll find a USB port, adding yet another way of watching your digital content, while a CAM slot on the side makes it possible to add pay TV channels. Around the back the connections panel is identical to that of Samsung’s BD-D8500 and D8900 Blu-ray/HDD combis. You get HDMI, component, composite, optical digital audio and analogue stereo outputs, alongside an Ethernet port for your wired networking needs plus RF input and loopthrough.