Samsung H3272: A Step in the Right Direction

Samsung

If you use your cable company's provided DVR, you are probably used to their user interface, guide functions and settings. I personally think that most cable and satellite provided DVRs are one step above worthless but once in a while a company will try and take the UI they're required to use and do what they can.

Such is the case with Samsung and the H3272 MOCA capable DVR. While Samsung has provided some decent hardware, it's still plagued by the UI pushed by cable providers. In my case, that's Time Warner.

Specifications

The H3272 is loaded with hardware that makes it quite a capable DVR. Sporting a 500GB hard drive, the device provides much more room for recordings than older DVRs, most of which only come with 160GB of storage, hardly enough for 20 hours of HD recording. While 500GB isn't a ton of space, most people will be happy with the expanded storage if they're coming from a Scientific Atlanta DVR.

Other specs include:

  • DLNA 1.5
  • DOCSIS 2.0 Cable Modem
  • Optical audio
  • HDMI
  • Ethernet
  • External SATA (if activated)

Pros

Again, this is a cable provided DVR so thinking that you're going to have an experience like you'd get with an HTPC or TiVo device is the wrong way to look at it. What the H3272 does bring to the table, however, when compared to other provider DVRs is speed. The UI is much quicker than with Scientific Atlanta boxes. Whether bringing up your guide, your list of recorded shows or making changes to the DVR's settings, you can get it done a lot quicker than with other DVRs I've used.

The added storage is another thing the H3272 has going for it. For most families, 500GB will get the job done and allow you to record all of the content you want.

As well, the H3272 is a MoCA device. That means that if the service is offered by your cable company, you can pair this DVR with client devices and it will provide you with a whole-home DVR solution. Your recorded programming will no longer be trapped in one room.

Cons

User interface. Period. No matter what hardware comes out from which company, nothing can change the fact that the UI provided by cable companies is terrible. While faster is better, it doesn't change the fact that you can't sort your guide, searching for shows is cumbersome and finding all of your settings takes some time and dedication. Set-top boxes don't need to be complicated. Unfortunately, most are and people simply don't take advantage of 75% of what the device can do because of it.

Conclusion

Yes, it's still a cable company provided DVR so you're not going to get a better UI. That's ok for most people as they're used to what they have now. What you will find is that the UI is much, much faster. As well, the added storage means more recordings. When you put these two facts together along with the hope that at some point cable companies will start activating and allowing the use of Ethernet and DLNA, you get a capable DVR that is probably much better than the one you have now.

I'll always recommend TiVo or HTPCs over what cable and satellite companies provide but if you can get your provider to set you up with A Samsung H3272 then I suggest you do so. You'll have a better experience than you can get on any other provider device.