Tech Review: Samsung Freeview HD Box – BD-DT7800

Picture if you will an old black and white tv with the tune-able dial thingy. Well imagine if you could plug the internet into it. With the aid of products like the Samsung BD-DT7800 Freeview HD+ it is essentially now possible. This fancy little box of tricks will turn your old, (or not so old) television into an all singing and dancing internet enabled, App loaded media machine!

The BD-DT7800 is a very shiny, button-less set top Freeview HD box. It has buttons on the front, but they are the touch-sensitive type, so not to disrupt the reflective styling, and the overall look is very classy and minimal.

samsung freeview boxI’m sure there’s a Samsung television out there that matches it perfectly.

There is a USB port for a USB key, ideal for watching movies you have ‘legally’ downloaded and aside from the normal Freeview, there is a card slot on the side for the additional pay services available. If you want to store movies or TV series, there is a decent size 500gig hard-drive.

The rear side shows all the relevant sockets to enable connection to any TV. There is also a handy optical-out socket for connecting to your home theatre system. Good for getting that true HD sound that also comes with HD telly.

There is also the LAN socket for connecting to your router. Now when I say that, I expect you to think.. “Who has their router near their TV?”. Well, Samsung have included a wi-fi module, so there is no need.

After the auto-setup, which was very easy, I then configured my network and got straight into the SmartHub menu. The EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) interface is nice and friendly, and there is some familiar app icons Facebook, Twitter, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Google Maps and Picasa to name a few.

Navigation is quick and fluid and the selection of apps is quite reasonable, there are even some educational ones in there for the young’ens.

I watch quite a few things on iPlayer, and it is not uncommon for me to get some degree of ‘stutter’ whatever device (PC, phone, tablet) I watch it on.

Not so with the BD-DT7800, even the HD stuff was buffer free. Same can be said of Lovefilm too, which streamed perfectly. They have also included lots of network sharing features such as AllShare and DLNA, which I also have on my Samsung phone, so it gives me the ability to stream direct from my mobile.

It’s not perfect. You cant start watching a programme until it has finished recording (a function some other models have), and a web browser would have been useful too. And who came up with the name? It hardly rolls off the tongue, I still can’t remember what it is called even now.

For those people that bought a new TV a couple of years back and are now feeling a bit left out from the SmartTV revolution, for around £180 this will bring things bang up to date again (for the time being at least, anyhow).

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