Awards

  • Recommended by TR

Summary

Our Score

9/10

Pros

  • Hugely generous feature list
  • Appealing new ‘lifestyle’ services
  • Easy, intuitive operation

Cons

  • Can’t access the EPG while two recordings in progress
  • Slightly noisy standard def Freeview pictures
  • Smart Hub needs more catch-up TV content

Review Price £400.00

Key Features: 500GB hard-disk; Twin Freeview HD tuners; 3D Blu-ray support; Smart Hub; Built-in Wi-Fi with Soft AP; AllShare Play, Social TV

Manufacturer: Samsung

Calling the Samsung BD-E8500 a Blu-ray player is like calling Jessica Ennis a ‘runner’. Sure it can spin hi-def discs – 3D ones at that – but its range of other talents is so vast that Blu-ray playback feels like a sideline. In fact, Samsung is keen to stress that this is not a Blu-ray player with a hard-disk, but a Smart PVR with Blu-ray.
Samsung BD-E8500
More specifically, it’s a twin-tuner Freeview HD PVR with a 500GB hard-disk drive, packed with Samsung’s customary smart technology and a wealth of networking tricks, internet content and other snazzy features. Let’s dive in and see what it has to offer.

The BD-E8500’s design is on the functional side, with little of Samsung’s usual pizzazz – but that’s not crucial on a product like this, which is designed to slot quietly and discreetly into your AV rack. There are nice touches though, such as the central display panel that incorporates the touch-sensitive controls, the disc slot and a curved silver section running along the bottom of its slim, robust casing.

Samsung BD-E8500

It sports a fairly run-of-the-mill socket selection, but it’s good to see USB ports on the front and back, both of which allow you to play digital media from storage devices. The line-up is completed by HDMI v1.4, analogue stereo, optical digital audio and composite video outputs, plus an Ethernet port and RF in/out. A Common Interface Slot can be found on the side for adding pay TV channels.

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