on 26 April 2012
1st one sent back as it didn't record scheduled programmes from the guide, Intermittent surround sound on HD channels and also BBC iplayer and Lovefilm are not available yet even though the logos for both are all over the packaging. Will update this once I have received the replacement unit. Amazon were fantastic in re-ordering the items & rearranging collection of the faulty unit. I only hope Samsung can redeem themselves with the second unit. Fingers crossed.
Update. Right 2nd unit arrived, this one is now working! Much better. Still no BBC iplayer or lovefilm apps, hopefully this will happen in a update.
Update 2. BBC iplayer and lovefilm apps now added. Still pleased.
on 15 June 2012
I returned my unit as faulty. There was a known problem with setting up a scheduled recording -it simply didn't work- and Samsung were not able to give me a time scale for when the fix would be available. It's possibly available now, but I thought it was a fundamental feature of the box and without it the unit was of little use to me. I was able to record a programme fine if I was watching it but that kind of defeated the object of having the box.
Other than that, I thought it was fantastic and would have loved to have kept it. I figured that I might buy it again later and who knows the price might have come down by then. I guess that's a downside of me wanting to have the latest technical thingy.
The TV tuner was excellent and had a sharper stronger signal than programmes watched directly through the tuner in the TV, so that's a plus side if you're in a weak signal area or have a TV with a mediocre tuner.
The other thing I wanted to be able to do is watch streamed content (videos/photos) from my windows homeserver on the same network. Unfortunately, to do that you have to install Samsung's own AllShare software on the actual Homeserver. Something I didn't want to do because of the inherent risk. So of rthe time being I've stuck with my old Xtreamer Sidewinder to do the streaming and using BT Vision for the PVR.
I'd welcome the thoughts from anyone who has an update to the problems I experienced with the STB-7900. I haven't ruled out buying it again when it works properly.
on 18 June 2012
I'm no gadget geek, merely an averagely competent computer user, so I was a little apprehensive about buying what is in my book quite a sophisticated piece of equipment with a wide range of capabilities, particularly the functions available through link to the internet and to my computer. I am delighted and massively impressed that in a few days I have been able to access all the functions I want to use with relatively little difficulty.
My tv is a 26'' Samsung LCD which is only HD ready so I knew I would not get the full HD effect, nevertheless the picture is a massive improvement in clarity, sharpness and depth and I am very pleased with that. Recording 2 programmes at once is an important feature as we are catering for a range of ages in the household and that works fine. I can confirm that it is possible to start watching a programme that has not completed recording, something we like to do often, particularly so we can fast forward throught the commercials.
The only criticism is that the layout of the guide and the processes for recording and deleting are very hard work indeed and it must be possible to improve this. I am comparing with a 7 year old Panasonic dvd recorder which we had been using which was really simple to navigate around. However, a small price to pay for such an otherwise excellent product.
My main problem in setting up was getting the connection to my broadband hub wifi to work. But I found out eventually, after some helpful advice from Samsung customer support, that I needed to resite the hub to the room that the unit is in, probably because our house is an old cottage with very thick walls and the unit sits in an oak cabinet. I think this was a problem specific to our house and not a problem with the unit. Once this was resolved we were up and running with access to YouTube then as of today the app for bbc iplayer has become available, which was a key selling point for us and I'm pleased to say that it works really well and is simple to use.Also using the Allshare software (this is available via a download on the Samsung website - google Allshare)to access photos saved on my copmputer.
Overall I am very pleased with the unit and would strongly recommend it.
on 19 July 2012
*UPDATE* Jan 2013. Since recent software update RF loop-through no longer works in standby mode. Also still lacks ability to rewind without enabling "Time-shift" mode first. I had thought this would have been enabled by a firmware update by now! i have also recently noticed that occasionally programs fail to record. Can't recommend this product at this time until these problems are resolved and have reduced star rating accordingly.
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I had been looking at this for a while and was a bit put off by some of the negative reviews but eventually took the plunge when found a cheap one on Amazon Warehose. Usual super fast delivery from Amazon.
The box itself was a breeze to set up. I must admit I'm a bit geeky and love fiddling with settings etc, Nevertheless, it couldn't have been easier to set up the basic functions. It connected wirelessly immediately and took about 5 minutes to download updates via wireless connection. After some reviews about the absence of certain Apps, I can confirm that BBC iplayer, lovefilm, Netflix , YouTube and Acetrax (not an exhaustive list) are all present and work fine (lovefilm is the only one I can't confirm as I don't have an account with them). As a Freeview recorder it works very well, with slick features and pop up screen info telling you when a recording is about to start or finish and asking whether you want to check that programme info times haven't altered (I have never checked and so far has not missed anything). It has the ability to easily edit recorded programmes to cut advert breaks out of films etc ( a really easy to use and neat app IMO but I suspect as it loses it's novelty I will probably just FF these bits).
The one critiscism I would have is that whilst it lets you record 2 channels at once and pause/ rewind live TV etc, you can't rewind a channel you have been watching unless "timeshift mode" has been enabled. It's easy enough to enable timeshift- just press play or pause and it not only allows you to rewind the channel you are currently watching but it also enables you to rewind even if you change channels several times as iti stores them in its "history". I have in the past accidentally switched channels on other STB's, forgetting I was in time delay and lost the thing I was initially watching. With this Samsung STB, it will still be there. The only suggestion I would make as a presumably easy firmware update, is to have the option to set the "Time shift" mode to come on automatically, rather than have to enable it first ( most other freesat/freeview recorders have this set as default.
If you're looking for an easy to set up and use freeview recorder, then this would meet your requirements but I think you would be missing the point of this box. It took me a full day to investigate all of its functions and I still haven't covered them all.
Some of the functions are as follows:
It will stream video very well (as good as my apple TV) from my iMac using Serviio as a streaming app. I can't comment on the all share as I no longer use Windows. You can set a favourites channel list in any order you choose and change the channel numbers if you choose.
Some reviews have criticised the method of getting to the recorded TV but I think it's pretty good. You press the "home" button which brings up 5 basic menus, choose the "Allshare" menu and you are immediately presented with a neat screen layout of all the new and recent files that have been accessed - this could be recently streamed videos, recently recorded TV shows, audio tracks or even photos. You can also set up a playlist containing your favourite files. You can also dig a little deeper to access older files by scrolling down the mini menu on the left to get to either videos, photos, music or recorded Tv and access any of this media content on anything linked to the box that it can recognise (it recognises all my NAS drive files whether they be photos music or video in varying formats - my video files for example are a mix of mp4 and MTV files). Even better you can add a HDD to the rear USB port and not only will it recognise files on this but if you ask it to format the drive, it will also use it to record TV or to use it as it woul the internal HDD for its live TV Timeshift function. This makes the storage capacity effectively limitless.
The audio output, I found after a bit of fiddling and researching, will indeed be DTS 5.1 channel surround but this really depends on the source. Although BBC HD claims to be (and is shown up as ) 5.1, in reality most TV showsagave 2.0 channel. There is occasional HD audio material in 5.1 but this is the rare exception. The Samsung does, however play5.1 as I confirmed by streaming video content I knew was 5.1.
The other menus allow you to change video output (ie to 1080i 720p or 1080p etc), set the box up as a wireless access point, set up divx (which I don't use) add a keyboard or mouse etc, etc.and see what recordings you have scheduled (again this is not exhaustive).
I couldn't get the remote to control my new Panasonic TV which was a little disappointing but switching the Samsung STB on automatically switches my TV on and to the correct input for the Samsung (presumably via Anynet link).
Other features which work well - 3D, Picture in picture (can change size/position or even have split screen -but not with web browse, which is advertised on their web page).
I know this review is a little long winded but after reading lots of negative comments about this box, I wanted to provide some useful details about what this STB does and doesn't do. To summarise, if you like gadgets and like connectivity and all your Live and on demand TV and video streaming in one place then I would highly recommend this Samsung. If you want something a little simpler (and presumably a lot cheaper) I would look elsewhere - unless you can get this at a bargain price.
on 15 March 2013
...and that's just for starters. I've had this PVR for 4 months and at first it recorded OK but there were niggly problems with the device. Not bad enough to return it but enough to make me wish I'd bought a different brand. I couldn't get it to record a programme that was already transmitting, it would tell me it was recording but the programme didn't appear on the recordings list. On my Humax (in another room) I just have to hit the Record button and I have a recording - simple.
Not a major issue but the system doesn't group recordings from a series into a folder - I like to record a series then watch 2 - 3 episodes at a time. However this is just a minor inconvenience.
Then it started to freeze regularly when streaming films, I checked my internet connection with my laptop and no broadband problems there so the problem was clearly with the PVR device (I have superfast broadband).
Last week, I tried to schedule a recording but received the message "The capacity of the device is insufficient. Ensure more capacity and try again." I was surprised at this as I knew the hard drive couldn't be full. So I sacrificed a few recordings to test this out but I still got the same message even though only about 20 hours of HD recordings was left on the device.
I checked the internet and found this is a common problem with this PVR so I followed the instructions to reboot, reset to factory settings, update software (I had the latest version at the time) but nothing worked. By now of course all my recordings were wiped and still I received the message that the device was full. The Storage Device Manager tells me I have only 57 MB left of 904GB. Under Settings I did a Check Device and Device Performance Test but when it competes the test there is no message to tell you if all is OK or if a problem has been detected.
I decided to return the device as it's no good to me - it doesn't do what it's supposed to do! This morning I did a final check for software updates and version 001013 was now available. I downloaded this version in the hope that it might fix the problem but it didn't - still only 57MB left of 904GB. I also checked out the Smarthub which did yet another mandatory update and to my astonishment a new message appeared on screen telling me it was deleting my downloaded apps Deleting Blinkbox 1/5.....! Luckily they were free apps and I just reinstalled them but why oh why delete them in the first place???
This PVR comes with just too many annoying problems (e.g. slow to respond remote) but the fact that it thinks the hard drive is full even though there are no recordings and I have only downloaded Blinkbox onto the device is the straw that broke the camel's back so I'm sending it back.
on 9 December 2012
When my beloved 3View (RIP) PVR started playing up due to a lack of software updates (the company went into receivership) I scanned the market to find a worthy replacement and looked to get a few technology improvements in the process. After a thorough market review and reading of product reviews the Samsung STB-E7500 caught my eye for capability and matching my wallet.
Having had the box a couple of weeks now, and with light use but plenty of exploration of features, I conclude that this is "ok" and it is adequate for my needs - but it doesn't blow me away. As many of the product reviews stress, the user interface (UI) leaves a little (some functions "a lot") to be desired... Apple it is not. Having said that, it's usable even if you have to press a lot of buttons to get where you want to go... for basic PVR functionality you have to press a button 7 or 8 times (at least) to get to a recording - you even have to choose (every time!) between the hard disk and a USB (which is not plugged in)... mild annoyance ensues.
On the upside, the picture is very good (which you'd expect)... unfortunately the HD channels keep blanking out for a second or two in seemingly random style (this did not happen with my 3view box hence peculiar to the Samsung box). I have been able to stream home movies from my server to the box via DLNA but you cannot watch recorded programmes on mobile devices due to digital rights issues (or so they say)... this is really poor - I could do it on my 3view box and it frustrates.
I have not suffered from the reported noise problems of the disk drive others had - I suspect they were part of a bad batch.
Other things that annoy me:
Aside from the multiple key presses necessary, if you put the box in standby it does not record programmes you schedule - if it was really a smart box then it would wake itself up (again, 3View dealt with it as you'd expect)- hence I think the whole smartTV thing is over played... it simply means "connected TV" in reality.
Don't expect 2D-3D to work on a standard TV either... the box complains it is not connected to a suitable TV... unless you know this you may think you'll be good-to-go... don't buy this box if you want 3D and don't have the requisite TV.
A lot of the more interesting Samsung apps do not feature either... iPlayer is available but ITV player, 4OD etc. are not there... spotify isn't there either yet... but there is a whole bunch of less desirable apps if you've time to kill (unlike me).
I've had to reboot the box a couple of times already as it has frozen.
Bottom line is "it's ok" for the £200 I paid and I'll keep it... if the YouView box would have been the same price I'd have opted for that as its got a solid development plan behind it - features will be appearing in priority/phased delivery.
One thing is for sure, there are worse boxes out there... this does a job but won't blow you away.
Hope this helps.
p.s. Amazon continue to do a good job... I could have got the box a few quid cheaper but having used Amazon for many years the small premium is worth the confidence/trust to me.
on 27 June 2012
The Samsung STB-E7500 was surprisingly easy to setup, I connected it to my LCD TV via HDMI then just followed the instructions and was up and running and recording programs very quickly.
I was immediately impressed by both the picture and sound quality, 1080p HD content looked amazingly crisp and the surround sound was of a superb quality. The Picture in Picture feature was also very well implemented and gave the same high quality picture.
This device also allows web surfing via its built-in browser and this worked very well, though it didn't seem quite as responsive as a PC-based browser and I felt this was a feature that wouldn't be used extensively, it seemed a bit gimmicky.
HD YouTube videos looked superb on this device, as did Flash-based videos and the BBC iPlayer, in fact online streaming has never looked better and is of a very high quality.
I downloaded Samsung's content sharing service AllShare and installed it on my PC. This allows the Samsung STB-E7500 to access videos and photos stored on a PC and in my testing I found it could successfully access and stream videos from my PC very smoothly and without any glitches. My PC is located in a separate room to the Samsung STB-E7500 so I wondered if this would affect wireless access and cause stuttering in video playback, but all videos played perfectly fine. The ability to watch videos from a remote PC is a very useful feature and has been well implemented by Samsung.
The Samsung STB-E7500 is an impressive box of tricks. Not only does the dual record feature make it a great PVR with excellent picture and sound quality in both HD and SD, but it's ability to stream media via AllShare from a remote PC gives it huge flexibility, making it a very powerful and easy to use multimedia device.
on 13 October 2012
This box with the latest upgrade is great.
The DNLA works with all my home devices - Tablets, Phones, PC, NAS box, USB Flash Drive,TV, etc.
The Allshare and Home interfaces ( With BBC iPlayer, etc, etc) are very good and the Samsung free apps allow for the kids to play games too.
It basically turns any TV into a Samsung SMART TV with the same interface.
The two best PVRs out there just now are this and the HUMAX HD FOX2.
The Youview PVR is also very good if you do not need DNLA capabilty to share you media with other devices.
All things considered I'm VERY glad I bought this box.
on 20 August 2012
Wanted a device with plenty of storage that actually worked on time everytime, as working on a mid range budget was struggling to decipher through all the reviews.
This box does have BBCi Player despite some reviews stating it doesn't however after several updates (It did 3 in first hour of being switched on!)it will no longer play the 5on demand or ITV via the smart web browser function, it requires a Flash update and will not allow a manual update. The web service works well howevere a mouse and keyboard have to be connected to get the most out of this....
This System could almost replace your Laptop and Satelite Sysyem if your not a hi internet demander or require all the sky or virgin channels...you have hours of freeview channels plus the vast hours of programmes you can record with the duel tuner thye box is limited only by my interest....Games and other Apps from the Samsung Store via the Smart link, i have mine connected via Ethernet for faster smoother streaming from You tube but wireless easy to set up and works well!
If the Flash for ITV worked easier and the access to recorded programms a little simpler then this would be a 5+ rating.
Great value, Great Product, Trusted product Manufacturer and compatible with my new samsung mobile...sharing files between devices straightforward after registering ALL Share Play.
on 29 July 2012
I purchased the Humax Freeview HD box first and was disappointed to read that it would not be able to record the new BBC HD Olympic channels. I also found it not very responsive and the Humax Portal is very poor - currently 4 apps! I returned this and got myself this Samsung model with 1 TB of recording space. Wow, what a difference - fast, slick presentation and now BBC iPlayer, LoveFilm and NetFlix are all available and work brilliantly as does the YouTube app.
The unit looks great, minimal design and operates smoothly - setup is easy, has built in wifi and the HD images and recordings are brilliant. I think this must be the best Freeview HD PVR currently available. WhathHifi rate this very highly as well.