Watching broadcast TV is a pain for many reasons. You have to be there at the right time. Your bladder needs to be suitably empty and you might want refreshments prepared. Crucially, you have to be able to pay at least a smattering of attention. It's basically hard to actually give something quality time, and even if you do, you'll more than likely to be rewarded by advert breaks every four minutes.
We say, ditch broadcast TV and record everything on to a PVR. The problem is that it's hard to know which one to pick, as there are as many recorders on the market as bad tattoos on Amy Winehouse. However, the Samsung DVD-SH855M offers a couple of interesting features that might be tempting.
For around £220, it's both a Freeview receiver, recorder and DVD writer. That means you can easily record your favourite shows, watch them at a time that suits and burn them to DVD if you fancy hanging on to them.
The SH855M is a compact, unobtrusive machine. Finished in black with a green display to the far right, it's not going to win any awards for original design. Still, it's petite enough not to bother the TV stand too much.
To the rear of the machine, the SH855M has connectivity options in spades, with HDMI, Scart, component and even S-video outputs. If you can't find something to connect this machine to your TV, you've got bigger problems than sockets.
With two digital audio outputs -- both optical and coaxial, you won't face a major hassle when hooking the machine up to your home cinema system. This means that not only will you get the best out of DVD soundtracks, you'll also see an improvement in sound from Freeview -- although you'll struggle to find much in the way of digital surround sound on regular TV.
The SH855M wears Samsung's design ethic well -- except in its remote. We're growing weary of these long rectangular affairs, as it's not especially comfortable and seems to clash with the company's style. Its function wins out over form since it works fine, and the controls are well labelled and logical, for the most part.
You'll find the SH855M to be a very supportive DVD player. It's compatible with DivX and by extension, can play many of the MPEG-4-based video files you'll find scattered around online. It can also play -- and record to -- a rather generous set of DVDs. The full list can be found in our specifications section, but rest assured -- you'll be able to play most discs.
There's also a built-in Freeview tuner, but the SH855M can also record from Scart input and from its analogue tuner. These last two features are likely to be popular with people who want to record from their Sky or Virgin boxes without built-in PVRs.