Customer Review

96 of 96 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let down by infuriating software design, 20 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Samsung BD-D8500 Blu-ray 3D Player with Freeview HD and PVR Upto 500GB (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
We read many reviews of this unit before buying it. They all said how good it was. We have been using the BD-D8500 for almost a week, it's attached to a brand new Samsung TV.

First the good: picture and sound quality are excellent.

Now the bad: when we first got the unit, the optical disc player did not play blurays although it did play DVDs. After a few hours of messing about it finally started playing blurays, like there may have been some dust on the lens perhaps? We have also noticed the aerial connection is a bit dodgy and just lightly moving the cable can cause interference or total "loss" of signal.

But it's the little things that really let this unit down. The user interface just isn't intuitive enough, especially compared to the older Sony unit we had previously for standard definition content. What's worse is the infuriating messages and other behaviour. For example, if you're watching a recorded program on HDD and the unit is scheduled to start another recording during that time, a message appears asking whether you want to switch to the channel to see if the schedule needs updating. Eh? You have to answer yes, no or cancel. So you press no. A minute later when the recording starts, it stops playing the recorded program you're watching and switches back to live TV! And not even back to the channel to be recorded, but to the channel you were last watching! Why would anyone design it to behave like that? So you then have to go through the needlessly convoluted menu to get back to the recorded program, which starts at the beginning again and you have to search through it to pick up where you were kicked off. Another example, you're watching a program in chasing playback, it gets to the end of the program so it displays a message saying "recording complete". When it does this it stops playing the program and goes back to live TV. Why display the message, and why stop playing? So you have to go back and start playing the recorded program again and fast forward back to the point it kicked you off again. Useless!

Deleting recorded programs is a rediculously convoluted process involving a number of un-intuitive button inputs. You certainly can't easily delete a program after just watching it which means you collect large numbers of programs cluttering up the list. In fact as soon as it gets to the end of a recorded program it then immediately starts playing the next which can be confusing.

The EPG is very slow to navigate unlike the near identical Samsung TV EPG we have.

We've also found that the unit will switch on randomly by itself at times. This has happened 3 times in less than a week. We got woken up at 02:30 in the morning the other day because when it switches on the TV also switches on! We have come home to find it on, and it's done it once while we were in the house. It's not like it's switching on to record something either, it just seems completely random!

When it's working properly and not irritating you with it's bizarre behaviour, the picture quality is excellent. BUT there are some serious firmware issues, both in design and with bugs. Samsung: get rid of all those utterly pointless messages and stop it from switching away to something other than what the user is trying to do!!!! We've also found build quality is questionable. Not good.

EDIT: I reported some of these issues to Samsung:
1. Irritating messages and the stopping of playback when recording starts/stops:
Samsung said they'd "pass it on" and that I should pursue any warranty issues with Amazon (though obviously this is a design issue) Not amused.
2. Turning on by itself causing TV to switch on:
Samsung said to contact Amazon as that is the arrangement between Samsung and Amazon. However, I've since worked out myself that you can stop it switching on by itself by changing this setting: Settings->Support->Software Upgrade->Download in Standby Mode=Off (from the default of 2 hours)
So we don't get woken up in the middle of the night anymore! Hopefully this will help others. Obviously it's a bug that when it switches on to do a software update it's also outputting to the TV causing that to switch on but I doubt you'll convince Samsung of that. If you search for "samsung switches on middle of night" you'll find it's a fairly long-standing issue with Samsung kit, yet they told me to talk to Amazon about it.

So we've managed to work-around one of the bugs but the irritating design issues remain.
If usability is the most important thing for you, you may be better going with Sony.

Update after owning for 6 months.
I've now got an even lower opinion of this unit and Samsung "Support" and absolutely do not recommend buying it.
Not only are all the problems already reported present, there is now a new problem which is even worse. If you rewind or fast-forward while playing back a recording, the consequent playback is often jerky at about half frame rate which makes you feel sick trying to watch it.
All of the problems have been reported to Samsung and they seem to have done absolutely nothing to reproduce the issues themselves.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Jul 2011 16:50:00 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 Jul 2011 16:50:50 BDT
A customer says:
Excellent review. I own this product. It has a few software issues. I try to figure out why it sometimes turns on by itself when on standby. Be aware it cannot play every blu ray disc even if the software has been updated. For example, it doesn't play the U2 Live at the Rose Bowl blu ray but my Playstation 3 does. I think it is a compatiblity problem. The user's manual says blu ray is an evolving format so there will be compatibility issues. Other than that, I am very pleased with this machine. The hd picture is very good. I know it only records one channel but that is fine by me because I don't record a lot of tv programmes. I will still recommend it because it upscales my standard DVDs. They have never looked so good before. I can see the difference between SD channels and the HD ones. The HD channels are much sharper than the SD ones.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Jul 2011 22:47:59 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 Jul 2011 23:02:54 BDT
Andrew says:
Hi thanks for your comment, I've edited my review because I've found (no thanks to Samsung) there is a setting that can be used to workaround the bug that switches it - and the TV - on.

Posted on 27 Aug 2011 10:58:18 BDT
Amazonian says:
I also am a lucky owner. I like the pictures and very good media player capability as far as video is concerned. I also have the interruptions of playback of recorded TV. I have carefully described this to Samsung along with other issues - sometimes doesn't record and problems with "too many photo files". First response was to upgrade the firmware. Did this with no benefit. Then time wasting. Latest from tech support is that they don't know these problems and the firmware is current, so must be hardware! I should turn it over to a repairer. Clearly, they ought to know about the problems so I have no confidence in their procedures and/or staff.

I would like to collect independently a summary of the issues and maybe try to put it on one of the forums (AVS?) Also try to find out out how pervasive the problems are. Maybe save a lot of wasting of time and money. I'd be grateful if you could tell me the latest on the bugs at bd-d8500.owner@virginmedia.com.

Posted on 27 Aug 2011 12:41:07 BDT
It's a pity so many electronics companies like Samsung and Sony always seem to ignore major design problems with their equipment when so many people report the same issues. If they were to listen and take note they might sell more. As it is, from this and other reports on Amazon about this particular product, even with a £50 cash back at the moment, I have lost interest in it. Thanks for your comments.

I had a couple of Sony cameras, the same models, both cases cracked in exactly the same place, and instead of admitting there was a design fault Sony told me I must have dropped the cameras, to cause exactly the same damage. After this I stopped buying anything made by Sony. I can now only hope Toshiba might come up with a better product.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Aug 2011 17:24:07 BDT
Amazonian says:
You can see why they might think they can simply not afford to deal with unfixable hardware problems. If they admit the fault then everyone would be in a strong position to demand replacements.

It is very sad when the problem is software. Almost certainly that is the case here. Software is almost by definition "that which is already broken" and failing to commit to fix it is dumb. Especially for highly pervasive problems. Especially now that the word can get around quite easily.

Posted on 17 Dec 2011 16:34:14 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 17 Dec 2011 17:21:46 GMT]

Posted on 31 Dec 2011 14:50:32 GMT
Jonjswain says:
Thanks for youyr review and I've already actioned your solution to the update switch-on bug. I assume model bdd8500 is same as bdd8500M which I've just bought as I couldn't find a single piece of kit that did everything a casual user needed at a reasonbable price. Taken note of other bugs and will at least be aware when I get to them. My real issue is the obstrusive onscreen display (top left) that gives the model product info, screen status and resolution of tv and record/playback, occupies nearly a quarter of the screen in large font stark white on black blocking and obliterates any screen content. Unlike other visual displays, these don't disappear after a few seconds but just stick irritatingly over the top left quarter. Can this be got rid of (fair means or foul) as I'd rather view the screen than the information. Many thanks, Jon Swain
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