Like its predecessor, the BD-E8500, the BD-F8500 combines a 3D Blu-ray player and Freeview PVR in a single box, bringing you hi-def TV channels and movies in one fell swoop – with Samsung’s smart TV features and DLNA media streaming also on hand to help spice up the spec sheet. On paper it’s an alluring, feature-packed proposition, but that’s nothing without smooth performance and operation to back it up. Let’s find out how it fares.
The BD-F8500 looks like a larger version of Samsung’s BD-F6500 Blu-ray player with its all-black bodywork and curved front corner, which make it a visually appealing piece of kit. It’s slim, sleek and sturdily built, while the lack of buttons and discreet LED panel on the front are an exercise in minimalism – switched off, it’s just a black box.
On top, a round panel of touch controls sits within the curve of the corner, while a common interface slot can be found on the side and a USB port is concealed under a flap on the front. This allows you to play music, videos and photos from USB storage devices.
The sockets continue on the rear with HDMI v1.4 and optical digital outputs, Ethernet, another USB port and RF input and loopthrough. There are no Scarts for backing up hard-disk recordings on external disc recorders, which might disappoint those who like to archive TV shows on Blu-ray or DVD.