Samsung BD-D8900 Blu-ray player and DVR combo
Other than that, the app works well and even streamed BBC HD content without any problems over our ADSL link. You can add extra apps into the Smart Hub screen from the onboard app store, although at present the extras are most pretty simple puzzle games.
Versatile concept, but definitely needs refinement
On the DVR front, the BD-D8900 has a 1TB hard drive which is large enough to store around 240 hours of HD recordings. If you don’t think you need as much hard disk space, you can opt for the slightly cheaper BD-D8500, which has a 500GB hard drive instead.
Unsurprisingly, this model supports most of the features that you'd expect to find on a standard DVR. You can pause and rewind live TV and, as it has twin tuners, it lets you record one channel while watching another. There's also chase play support, so you can start watching from the beginning of a programming while the end is still recording. Bizarrely, though, it doesn’t let you record two channels at the same time, something which most other DVRs cater for.
Another major issue, and something which will be a deal breaker for many, is that when the device is recording a show you can’t use the internet or media streaming features. It does give you a warning, rather than just stopping the recording, but it's still a hugely annoying limitation.
Overall, the BD-D8900 is a mixed bag. On the one hand it has a beautifully designed user interface that makes its DVR and impressive internet features easy to use. It also offers good 3D Blu-ray play back and supports a wide range of media formats from USB storage devices. However, its network media streaming features need work – it's annoying that you can’t use the internet features while recording TV, and its inability to record two channels at the same time is a bit baffling in this day and age. So what looks like the perfect convergence device on paper, unfortunately comes up a bit short in practice. ®
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