With such few recording functions, the giant-sized HDD of the BD-C8500M does lend it an air of 'World Cup cash-in' (theoretically all 64 games could have been recorded in HD), though elsewhere this is a generous, versatile and well thought-out machine.
Fitted with an easy to use interface, this is a versatile deck; as well as integrating well with external media, it seamlessly connects wirelessly to both Internet@TV content and to PCs and Macs on the same network.
With plenty to experiment with and some useful features (such as its twin CAM slots), Samsung hasn't ignored the box's core duties; picture quality impresses from all sources.
The BD-C8500 isn't a Freeview+ HD recorder, which is a huge chance missed and severely restricts the usefulness of the HDD. An overly complex, cluttered remote is the price to pay for its multi-platform talents.
Despite its ability to record from Freeview HD, this box's huge HDD will likely be used just as much as a hub for your digital media, though its excellent Wi-Fi connection to both PC and Mac computers – along with its song indexing of CDs it rips to that HDD – means its usefulness is questionable unless you want to rip an entire CD collection.
Essentially a Blu-ray player with a separate Freeview HD tuner alongside, the BD-C8500M seems a way to get the latest tech into a living room in one box rather than the all-in-one HD player-cum-recorder it should be.
If you're after the last word Freeview HD recording, you'd better look elsewhere – or at least consider the smaller hard disk (and price) or the BD-C8200M.
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