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Christmas Gift Guide
Home Entertainment

Samsung DVD-SH855M: Freeview DVD hard-drive recorder

The Samsung DVD-SH855M has it all. DVD playback, Freeview receiver DVD recording. It will even play files off of the t'Internet. Now that's what we call service

The UK doesn't have much HD television at the moment, which is mightily annoying, but the upside is that we don't need high-capacity storage for recording TV shows. DVD is more than capable for the time being. Of course, in a few years, when everyone gets their act together and we've overthrown Ofcom and got rid of its ridiculous plans to sell off the analogue TV spectrum to the highest bidder, we might need to re-think that strategy.

While we're waiting for the revolution to get going, the £220 Samsung DVD-SH855M offers us a way to record TV shows either on to its built in hard drive, or burn them to DVD -- a double whammy of recordable goodness. The Samsung, available now, also comes with its own built-in Freeview tuner, which means the number of boxes and tedious cabling is cut to a bare minimum. If you have a separate DVD player and Freeview receiver, prepare to see a reduction in boxes under your TV.

The DVD portion of the Samsung has all the now ubiquitous extras, such as DivX and XviD support, for watching stuff you've got from Stage6 or (ahem) other sources. There are also HDMI and component outputs, so you can get the best possible quality out of your DVD collection. This is especially handy for people who have an HD TV but no wish to buy into the HD disc formats.

The Freeview aspect is as you would expect too, although there's no second tuner for watching one programme and recording another. This was slightly disappointing, as we're big fans of that functionality. But everything else seems in order, with all the usual timer recording and programme guide options. The 250GB hard disc is also a welcome feature -- it's easily big enough to record huge gouts of TV, if you manage to find anything on worth recording. -Ian Morris