The Samsung STB-E7500 is a terrific performer. Not only does its fast operational speed makes for a slick user experience, its live broadcast picture quality is also excellent. We lapped up a day’s worth of Paralympics coverage on Channel 4 HD and were impressed by how the Samsung STB maintained detail clarity with many objects moving about the screen. Noise is only visible if you look closely.
Strong colours look suitably radiant, yet it’s a dab hand at making skin and other tricky tones look natural. During shots of the Olympic Park, edges are emphatically sharp and patches of grass are reproduced in deep luscious shades of green. Lovely stuff.
As you’d expect the hi-def image is bursting with detail, from faces in the crowd down to the texture of the running track. But it’s not just Channel 4 HD that dazzles – BBC and ITV’s HD channels look gloriously crisp too. There’s an obvious drop in quality on SD channels – some more than others, naming no names ITV – but the images are still solid and enjoyable.
Recorded pictures look pristine in HD and SD, meaning that there’s no compromise in quality if you can’t watch something live. All in all we can’t praise the Samsung STB-E7500’s picture quality highly enough.
Switching to online content, BBC iPlayer streams smoothly and looks superb. Other apps like YouTube and Dailymotion are hit and miss but you don’t watch them for their pristine picture quality. The 3D conversion mode doesn’t always convince but with the right programmes it can add to your enjoyment, lending a definite sense of depth to the image.
Sonically TV audio comes through loud and clear with undistorted speech and a nice balance across the frequency range.
The Samsung STB-E7500 is by far one of the best Freeview PVRs on the market. Features like Wi-Fi, Smart Hub, AllShare Play, 3D conversion, dual-screen viewing and media playback make it more sophisticated than most PVRs, while the gorgeous onscreen design and dual-core processing make for a slick and speedy user experience – apart from the cumbersome web browser. Picture quality can’t be faulted either.
But how does it compare with Humax’s DTR-T1000? Well, we much prefer the way Humax’s box mixes online and broadcast TV within its EPG and offers more catch up TV services, but in every other respect the Samsung STB-E7500 is a superior PVR – and at around £200 from a few online outlets, it’s excellent value to boot.