Panasonic DMR-BW880 HD DVR
HD recording, Blu-ray archiving – nice
Review With a built-in Blu-ray recorder and dual Freeview HD tuners, Panasonic’s DMR-BW880 is something of a novelty among Freeview+ DVRs. Other tasty nuggets include a 500GB hard disk, the VieraCast Internet video portal, DLNA networking, Gracenote CD database access and playback of many common audio and video formats. Along with its little bro, the DMR-BW780, this is arguably the most advanced video recorder you can treat your living room to.
Optical resolution? Panasonic's DMR-BW880
Not surprisingly, it takes some time to familiarise yourself with the BW880. I took the plug ’n’ play approach without recourse to the encyclopædic 120-page instruction manual and happily watched the machine tuning itself in. After setting preferences such as power saving settings and testing the network, I was quickly able to jump to the HD channels from the channel list. No extra info here, such as programme description, but scrolling up and down and selecting is reassuringly fast.
Overall, for such a complex beast, both the menu system and remote control are well designed in terms of their layout and I wasn’t left feeling that any vital buttons are missing from the remote. The ability to quickly switch drives using one button is vital with HDD, BD, USB and SD options at your disposal.
I can forgive the remote for looking a tad boring - functionality takes precedence - but Panasonic’s dated looking UI badly needs overhauling. It reminds me of a 10-year-old Pioneer DVD recorder that looked 10 years out of date at the time.
A rather ancient looking remote is rather at odds with the rest of what's on offer
Worse even than the dated look is the GuidePlus+ sponsored Freeview EPG. Not only does it exit the picture and sound of the current broadcast but valuable real estate is given over to the most amateur-looking poster adverts for a handful of companies. More positively, you can switch between list and grid view with seven channels shown in two-hour segments. You can filter by genre but not by definition type and you directly view the channel or set a recording timer including series link.
On an 800 quid piece of hardware? Did I miss a meeting? I'll maybe pop back when it's ready for market
Glad the ads are getting high profile at last! Since when does expensive kit legitimately come with more ads? Unfortunately it seems most buyers don't know until it's too late (including me) - so the more publicity the better.
I wrote to them too, they an absolute eternity to reply, and said they won't be doing anything to remove them. They also gave some BS about moving to the new platform in the UK. Who knows why, my old panny telly has a perfectly functioning freeview EPG that looks almost exactly the same, except without the ads.
And yeah, what does happen when GuidePlus throws in the towel like the 4TV EPG just did?
Definitely marked down to 0% - if not lower. Go out and buy absolutely anything that doesn't have a Panasonic label on it.
Reminds me of the Telefunken TED
Back in 1975 Telefunken cranked up the record player to 21 by offering a mechanically scanning video disk system. It was able to record 10 minutes of video on an ultra fine groove.
This is not much different. It's a harddisk recorder with a disk far to small to be usefull for anything and they try to compensate that by adding the weirdest thing, a Blu-Ray recorder.
I agree with the previous comment - if the author feels that the quality drops off with recordings, he either better have a good reason for this, where none seems to be present, or it drives a coach and horses through all of his review (s). I have the machine, and felt that most of the rest of the review was reasonable, but would love the author to explain himself on how a direct copy of the bit stream loses quality. Are we back in the "golden ears" HiFi review era?
Guide Plus ???
Sounds more like Guide Minus to me.
What happens when the provider throws in the towel? (see recent item re: 4TV/Digifusion)
Review score marked down to 0% accordingly.