Samsung BD-E8500 - Features

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Samsung BD-E8500

Summary

Our Score:

9

The BD-E8500 boasts a 500GB hard-disk drive, but if that still sounds too puny then the step-up BD-E8900 offers 1TB. The 500GB version lets you record up to 124 hours of high-definition programmes from the dual Freeview HD tuners, or 199 hours of standard-definition shows.

It also boasts a flabbergasting feature list, making it great value even before you’ve clapped eyes on a movie. No stone has been left unturned, supporting content from every source under the sun including USB devices, discs, the internet, home networks and Freeview.

Meanwhile, new features such as Soft AP, AllShare Play and Social TV are clever, convenient additions to this year’s PVR range.

Samsung BD-E8500

AllShare Play is an evolution of the network streaming function from previous Samsung models. It’s no longer just about streaming content over a network from DLNA-certified devices – this new incarnation consolidates all of your content into one place, including recorded TV programmes, files stored on USB devices or the hard-disk and social networking services like Facebook. It’s split into Videos, Photos, Music, Recorded TV and My List, which shows recently played files, new items and playlists.

Soft AP is another interesting new twist. Naturally the BD-E8500 is equipped with built-in Wi-Fi, but the BD-E8500 can be used as an access point in itself, allowing other Wi-Fi devices to go online through the Samsung’s web connection. This could be useful if you want to use Wi-Fi devices with only a wired router in the house, or to extend coverage to areas of the house out of your Wi-Fi router’s range (using a HomePlug, for example).

Samsung BD-E8500

The deck also features its own internet browser, but you’ll need a wireless mouse and keyboard to make the most of it – thankfully it supports most third-party devices. Using a mouse lets you navigate the entire Smart Hub interface, click on app icons and fiddle with menus just as you would on a PC. And using a wireless keyboard also pays dividends when signing up for accounts on the various apps, because entering text is long-winded with the remote control.

The BD-E8500 is a pretty powerful dual-tuner PVR with impressive functionality – even more so than its predecessor, the BD-D8500. Last year’s model couldn’t record two Freeview channels simultaneously, but thankfully the BD-E8500 puts that right. Now, not only can you record two channels at the same time, you can even watch a third while doing so, provided it’s on the same multiplex as the channels being recorded.

Freeview features also include editing, Timeshift and a flexible picture-in-picture mode, which also works with the web browser.

Samsung BD-E8500Samsung BD-E8500

And after all that, we haven’t even mentioned the other main features, including 3D Blu-ray support, 2D-to-3D conversion (which also works with Freeview programmes), CD ripping, the ability to copy media files to and from the HDD (over a network or from USB) and its wide-ranging format support, which includes AVI, MKV, WMV, DivX, MP3, FLAC, OGG and WMA. The deck also supports features from Samsung’s TVs, including Dual View, Clone View, remote access from mobile devices and Social TV.

Andrew 19

February 20, 2012, 6:44 pm

A Common Interface Slot on the side? That's a bit tricky to use if you have it in a stacking unit with only access at the front and back. It's a bit thoughtless. It the same principle as some other strangely designed units which cannot be stacked because they have oddly curved tops etc. I expect that like most people with a reasonable amount of video and audio equipment, there is just no room to lay each item out tastefully and individually on a surface somewhere to be shown off to admiring friends and family. No, they end up stacked vertically on top of each other next to the TV.

Petert

April 2, 2012, 3:24 pm

Does this product really exist? Last night i couldnt see it on Samsung website

Marius-Iulian Mesersmith

January 17, 2013, 8:40 pm

I have this Blueray Disc and unfortunately, I don't like some things on it.
First is that this BD has PIP, but it can't swap between the chanells. The pricipal one and the one in teh window.
Second problem: On the remote control it doesn't exist a button to swich the actual chanell with the previous one. To bad, this functionalities is a MUST HAVE. Shame for this, Samsung.

Now, I have a big problem with it: I have BD-E8500 N, and this N means nordic country, or I am from Romania.
Unfortunatelly, I don't know if I could change the firmware and rezolve my problem.

Peter W

July 18, 2013, 9:04 pm

can you copy files from internal dirve to externall one so that I can e.g. watch them on my laptop?

jay

September 5, 2013, 9:11 am

utterly disappointed with this device. recording channels crash, when on timeshift sometimes the program jumps to the "live" situation meaning you can miss a half of a movie if you were watching on timeshift.. not nice. the browser is useless: typing any searches in takes ages, is awkward and way too easy to accidentally erase a typing you've managed to get on with frustrating amounts of effort.. Plus the browser does not accept Flash, and renders it pretty useless, as most people would want to use the browser for watching online videos.. No info to be found on the operating system in order to see if any flash supporting software could theoretically be installed, and any other browser seems not to be possible to install. simply overpriced, confusing, difficult to use piece of equipment. I would not recommend this to anyone.

jay

September 5, 2013, 9:14 am

additionally, this device doesn't even play music cds.. I tried with many, usually plays a couple of minutes then stops. simply unacceptable.

Neil

October 20, 2013, 7:32 pm

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The Iplayer and 4OD etc are all good
and easy to use, although the volume starts very high on Iplayer.

Picture quality is very good,
especially on the Blu-ray player.

That's about it on the plus side.

On the down side the main issue with
the Samsung is the awful user interface. I don't know if Samsung are
trying to be clever (and failing) or if it's just simply ill
conceived. Particular irritations include:

While watching a programme, or worse
while engrossed in a film, a pop-up appears (covering about a quarter
of the screen) to inform you when a scheduled recording is about to
start, and to ask if you want to switch to that channel to check if
the schedule has changed. Apart from the annoyance of having to reach
for the remote to clear the screen, it's not clear what one is
supposed to do with this 'information' as the wording is ambiguous.
There is no way to turn this 'feature' off.

Most dialogue boxes are ambiguous and
take several readings to determine what they are trying to tell you.

Schedule recordings normally start a
minute or so before the programme starts and end before it's
finished. Adding time is possible but not a simple task and
irritating to have to do every time you set a recording.

To record a programme you are currently
watching is stupidly convoluted. I'm still not sure how it works,
there seems to be no way of recording just the programme (once it's
started), it seems to work as a kind of 'time shift' function –
either way it's irritating and unsatisfactory.

Programmes recorded 'live' (or time
shift, I'm not sure, see previous comments) are stored somewhere
completely different to 'schedule recordings'. We thought recording
weren't working before we stumbled upon them by chance. This location
seems to be the main hard drive 'viewer' and lists everything stored.
It's ugly, cumbersome and clumsy and we have not yet been able to
work out a way of deleting this content – you can delete from the
'schedule recording' list but the 'file' remains on the hard drive
listed in this other location. Hopefully we can work it out before
the hard drive is full!

To find a schedule recording is also
stupidly convoluted. It took us most of the first evening to find
these recordings; they are tucked away as though watching recorded
programmes is a rarely used 'feature' – you actually have to pass a
list of programmes set to record in the future before you get to the
list of those you actually might want to watch in the present! It
takes a minimum of 10 button presses, mostly counter intuitive, to
start viewing a recording.

Programme information displayed in the
schedule recordings list is for the programme just finished and not
the programme you've recorded.

Series link recording is completely
useless. Sometimes you get the first episode and then no more.
Sometimes you get every programme with the same name, including the
same episode on the plus one hour channels and repeats. Sorting
through the surplus (or finding the one you want to watch) in the
schedule manager is a pain, especially because of the wrong
information issue mentioned above.

The 'Smart' features are more of an
annoyance than feature. For example; while setting a recording
(another already button heavy process) a pop up appears suggesting
other programmes that may be of interest to you. We've been using the
machine for a a while now and every 'suggestion' has been completely
irrelevant – often listing numerous episodes of the same programme.
Despite advice from Samsung support to the contrary, we can't find a
way to turn this 'feature' off.

We have had occasional lip sync issues
with recorded programmes and streaming.

We're not technical novices and have
never had trouble with the operation of new purchases. The Samsung UI
is messy and often just silly...

Final example: there are frequent
dialogue boxes to which you have to select “OK” when there is no
other option and it's too late to do anything else anyway. Most
operations are too button heavy as it is, a selection box for an
information stage is pointless. It's not a huge problem, but on top
of everything else it reminds you of how poorly thought out the UI
is.

thislo

November 27, 2013, 5:40 am

No, everything is DRM protected. You can't even see the files on your PC. NB you can also only see these files on this unit - change to a new unit and you lose anything you have recorded. You can however record elsewhere and play on the samsung unit - I bought a cheap 'no brand' TV/Monitor/PVR for my PC, record on that and play back on the Samsung.

Finntegral

December 16, 2013, 12:32 am

When one realizes how the TrustedReviews reviewer ignores all the problems and major annoyances users painstakingly point out here (and elsewhere), praising the device with only token criticism of one or two issues, it becomes clear that TrustedReviews are not always to be trusted.

bob.tidd

March 22, 2014, 3:20 am

I bought one of these machines a few months ago and have nothing but issues with it, but in fairness most are likely due to my basic knowledge and a lack of all the understanding of all the gobbledegook jargon used in all instructions etc. the online and phone assistance is useless as it is young pups who can't speak the same basic language that many of us basic users understand.

I have is that I am happy to be able to record programs in advance etc onto the hard drive and watch the recorded tv program when I want and in little bits. I am aware I can also record onto a usb stick, but what is the point of this feature when I can't take the stick with me to watch that program on another tv when traveling, if I have to play only on this stupid unit then why would anyone record on the usb stick, when it can just be recorded on the hard drive?

This unit has a lot of fancy features that are of no use to me (ie blue ray, 3d and smart stuff, but I want the basics, of the ability to record a tv program and take that recorded item on a dvd or usb away, not the whole unit, which involves disconnecting a ton of wires and moving everything etc, just the disk or usb.

But this unit is unable to provide this simply basic task, even though all the previous units created over many years have managed it.

Why is technology going backwards?

This was an absolute waste of money and would not recommend it to anyone, unless they can get their act together and give us the basics.

I had heard that I may be able to get a program that would convert the file type of the program recorded on the usb (not sure what it is) into something that can be played on any normal player or tv? but can't find that.

perhaps someone else has had the same issues and discovered a simple solution (other than buying a unit that provides what customers actually want).

Thanks

Adam03

April 7, 2014, 3:13 am

Agree totally with all the negative reviews here and wont bother repeating them again - just wish I had found this page before I bought it. Did the reviewer actually use it for a few days or just read the manual and the accompanying publicity from Samsung ? Trusted reviews ? I don't think so - apart from the user's comments - certainly not the paid shill. Adding to the negative comments - I wanted to use it mainly as a PVR but if you record a show from the EPG there is no option to pad the finish time by default and the way most stations program their offerings means you will constantly miss the end of shows. If you set up to record from the EPG you then have to follow a convoluted path to get to the record preset to amend it to record longer. Then you will lose the name of the show being recorded and the recordings will be meaningless as to what you've done in a few days without viewing them first.

This could have been a truly great all-in-one but was instead let down by Samsung not thinking about what people will actually want to do with it and instead doing what they think you should do. Sorta reminds me of Microsoft.

plsmith.co.uk

November 10, 2014, 1:35 pm

Apologies for the
below; rant coming up!

Extremely
disappointed to advise that we three BD-E8500M DVD hard drives (all set up with
Samsung TV's). Over the last 18 months every one of the BD-E8500M units has
developed the same fault, each losing the stored channels and will not re tune,
yet when we plug in one of the others in the brief period they have worked they
instantly find the channels.

Sure enough the
warranty has expired and one has failed yet again; it will not be long before
all three fail, while I realise to an extent it' hard luck on us as the
consumer, the fact that all three have lasted such a short period of time and
that Samsung really don't seem to care, is, extremely poor.

Including the TV's
these six units were, in reality, a massive investment, Samsung have simply
come back with the standard they offer a 1 year warranty; in effect hard luck
for buying our extremely poor and unreliable sub standard BD-E8500M DVD hard
drives and bye bye. So in reality, it's one down, two to go.

Yours now very fed
up

Paul in the UK

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