Can a networked media hub be sexy? Samsung’s STB-E7500 aims to break the mould
Samsung STB-E7500 – intro
Media streamers are seldom sexy, but Samsung’s STB-E7500 is an honourable exception to the rule. It’s the TV recorder that does it all, a part-streamer, part network-player super-hub that can cater for your every viewing need. Want to timeshift BBC One HD, catch up with the iPlayer or the new BBC Sport app, stream LoveFilm or Netflix and even replay your recorded and ripped files over your network? The STB-E7500 does the lot – and more besides…
Samsung STB-E7500 – recording
Unlike previous Samsung recorders, the STB-E7500 has two distinct HD tuners, and can record separate channels simultaneously. You can also watch one channel while recording another or stream from an online service while recording from terrestrial TV. A dual-core processor ensures you can shift seamlessly from live to recorded to streamed TV with no lag or buffering.
Samsung STB-E7500 – capacity
There’s a 500GB hard-disk inside this unit, good for around 200 hours of standard-definition TV recording or around 125 hours of HD. If you want more space, a 1TB model is also available, the £330 STB-E7900. Otherwise identical, it provides space for up to 400 hours of SD, or up to 250 hours of HD.
Samsung STB-E7500 – 3D support
Freeview HD is far from the best source of 3D material, but should that change, the Samsung has you covered. It’ll cope with 3D files streamed over DLNA or 3D images from USB, too. You can even convert 2D to 3D using the built-in 3D Converter feature, but as with most such options, it’s not that enjoyable.
Samsung STB-E7500 – sharing
An Android app allows you to drive the STB-E7500 with your mobile, and you can also share photos and images from your handset over Wi-Fi using Samsung’s AllShare tech (which is DLNA by another name). The Remote Access feature, due later this year, will let you watch content from your STB-E7500 on your mobile, Slingbox-style.
Samsung STB-E7500 – picture quality
TV reception and recording performance are excellent: indeed, it’s almost impossible to distinguish between time-shifted and live TV. Streaming performance is perfectly satisfactory too, especially if you access a Netflix HD stream. The user-interface is thoroughly excellent, with class-leading clarity plus hordes of additional apps to explore.
Samsung STB-E7500 – verdict
The STB-E7500 is the TV recorder Freeview users have been crying out for. Slick, talented and admirably flexible, it makes every rival seem old-fashioned at a stroke: only Sky and Virgin Media can offer anything like the same degree of viewing choice from a single box. If you’re after a new recorder but don’t want to pay a monthly TV subscription, we’d recommend it without reservation.
Samsung STB-E7500 review
Simply the best-performing Freeview HD recorder you can buy, this brilliant new Samsung is comfortably the most flexible too