Samsung’s STB-E7500 is a Freeview HD PVR with a built-in 500GB hard-disk drive. Unlike Samsung’s BD-E8500, there’s no Blu-ray player (hence the ‘STB’ prefix), but that doesn’t mean it’s only designed with TV viewing and timeshifting in mind – there’s a generous range of ‘smart TV’ features on board too, offering everything from video streaming and social networking to games and puzzles. The problem is, the game-changing Humax YouView DTR-T1000 recently launched, a YouView PVR that combines live TV and streamed online TV content in an single, intuitive interface. So how does Samsung measure up?
The unit itself is a minimalist’s dream – a slim, gloss black box with clean lines and a flush vertical fascia. There’s nothing on the front except for a USB port (under a flap) and a small LED panel on the right hand side showing the current time or recording duration. It’s a shame this doesn’t show the current channel, but it’s not a deal breaker. On top of the box is a silver panel containing four buttons – Stop, Record and up/down keys for channel changing.
On the rear panel, sockets include HDMI, composite video, analogue stereo and optical digital audio outputs, Ethernet and USB ports and RF in/loopthrough. Some might be disappointed not to find a Scart output for making copies of TV shows on DVD or Blu-ray recorders – the composite/analogue stereo outs will have to do for that purpose. There’s also a common interface slot on the side for adding pay TV channels.