Samsung BD-E8500 - Operation

By Danny Phillips



  • Recommended by TR
Samsung BD-E8500


Our Score:


Samsung has updated and enhanced the look of the main Home menu, making it look even more attractive than before. It uses a similar layout to last year’s models, with cartoon-like icons that enlarge when selected. It’s smooth, co-operative and helpfully stripped down to the core functions.

Samsung BD-E8500

The Settings menu is similarly responsive and thorough, plus the decision to make it more akin to Samsung’s TVs ensures much-needed consistency between devices.

Samsung BD-E8500

Setting the BD-E8500 up on a network – or configuring any of the related functions like Soft AP, Wi-Fi Direct or AllShare – is incredibly simple thanks to the clear and descriptive onscreen dialogue boxes. The use of explanations to the right of the Settings menu is a godsend for first-time users.

Samsung BD-E8500

As for Smart Hub, the upgrade to HD graphics brings even greater clarity to the interface. It looks clean and attractive, with bright colours and large text that’ll make users feel instantly at home. The new features are integrated with minimal intrusion and clutter, and don’t affect overall useability. It retains the ‘recommended’ apps along the top, providing a handy shortcut to often-used sites, and the ability to organise the app icons into folders is once again a useful feature if several members of the family use the BD-E8500. Family Story, Kids and Fitness are skilfully executed with a bright and breezy design that’s perfectly matched to the target user.

Crucially, overall useability is boosted by the inclusion of a dual-core processor as opposed to the single-core version used by its predecessor and other products in this year’s range. This is particularly noticeable when browsing the web, as pages load quickly and the cursor is fast and responsive.

Samsung BD-E8500

But slumming it with the real remote is actually a pleasant experience. This newly revamped zapper has a lot to cram in, but does so without compromising useability. Most of the main functions have their own buttons – web browser, 2D conversion, Smart Hub – giving you shortcuts to key features without having to navigate through the Home menu. The playback controls are prominently placed and glow in the dark, but the real key to its user friendliness is the handy placement of the menu controls and the surrounding keys – all of which allows you to navigate virtually without looking.

Samsung BD-E8500

The EPG looks great, somehow making room for a live TV screen, the programme grid and the synopsis without seeming cluttered – but the grid only shows five channels at a time, which means you could have a lot of scrolling to do.

PVR flexibility is much improved by the ability to record two channels simultaneously, although when doing so you can’t access the EPG, which could be frustrating.

Samsung BD-E8500

All of the Freeview displays are clear and attractive. The onscreen info banner allows you to browse the entire schedule on any channel and it’s packed with information about the current programme. It’s easy to plan recordings from the EPG, and they can be organised in the handy Schedule Manager.

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.


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?


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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).



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.

November 10, 2014, 1:35 pm

Apologies for the
below; rant coming up!

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

Paul in the UK

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