We take a look at Samsung’s BD-DT7800 Freeview+ HD digital recorder, widely available online and on the high street.
In the modern household everything starts with looks, the days of dull utilitarian gadgets are long gone.
Luckily the BD-DT7800 is a smart looking box with a nice, modern and hi-tech finish and will look good beneath even the most expensive of TVs.
The nice looks continue on screen, with nice big, clear menus which makes this box an ideal choice for anyone who struggles with smaller on-screen text.
Those helping an older relative make the switch to digital will also appreciate the large, well spaced buttons on the remote control.
The BD-DT7800 is able to receive High Definition channels when connected to a HD TV and the ability to renumber/reorder channels means you can swap, for example, the standard version of BBC One for the HD version and access it on channel 1.
That’s something Sky and Virgin Media customers can’t do.
If you have a 3D TV the box is able to convert existing 2D movies, TV shows or even games to 3D. Lacking a 3D TV we were unable to test this feature.
Another advantage the BD-DT7800 has over the Pay-TV boxes is its ‘Smart Hub’ feature which offers a marketplace of apps which can be installed if you connect it to your broadband service.
Virgin Media promised “hundreds” of such apps when it launched its TiVo but has so far failed to deliver more than a handful of fairly uninspiring efforts.
In contrast, Samsung offers a wide range of apps from major names.
These include the very impressive BBC News app, Acetrax Movies where you can buy and rent films to watch on your box, the MUZU.TV music video service and the near-default YouTube app.
There’s also a BBC iPlayer app, so you can watch any BBC shows you missed.
Other notable apps available include LOVEFiLM, PictureBox and euronews, plus there’s a selection of games and apps for social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
You can also access music and videos stored on a USB stick, though not all files will play depending in what copy protection measures they are locked with.
There a couple of negatives: There seemed to be no way to watch a recording while it was still in progress and the box only records one channel at a time.
Most Freeview+ boxes allow the recording of two shows at a time – though you can’t then watch live TV – but when I tried to record two shows on the BD-DT7800 I was prompted to stop the first recording.
Although the BD-DT7800 has two tuners like all Freeview+ and Freeview+ HD recorders, one of these is reserved for watching live TV.
For me this was a big downside, though clearly if you never find yourself recording two shows at a time it’s unlikely to be an issue for you. Samsung say the device can record up to 120 hours of HD shows or 240 hours of SD.
Overall the BD-DT7800 is very impressive, it looks nice, is generally very easy to use and will transform your TV to the new ‘smart TV’ concept of on-demand content and apps.
It’s a shame the box can’t record two shows at a time and buyers need to carefully consider if this will impact on them before purchase.
Otherwise this is an impressive device and worth putting on your shortlist of possible purchases.
Our verdict: 4/5