Panasonic DMR-BWT700 HDD and Blu-ray recorder combo

Unspoilt by progress

Panasonic DMR-BWT700

Review Panasonic has a reputation for building digital TV recorders that have impressive features, but are about as user friendly as an angry dominatrix. Maintaining at least one tradition here, the DMR-BWT700 certainly doesn’t skimp on the feature front. It has a 350GB hard drive on board, packs a Blu-ray recorder and can burn discs of both HD and SD broadcasts from its integrated Freeview HD tuner.

Panasonic DMR-BWT700

Recording industry: Panasonic's DMR-BWT700

On top of this it also acts as an entertainment hub, by offering internet TV support and digital media playback either from USB devices or across a network from a PC or NAS drive. The question is, has Panasonic managed to wrap this all up in a user interface that doesn’t require you to have a Nasa engineer at hand to help you operate it?

At its most basic level, the BWT700 is essentially a Freeview digital recorder. It has two Freeview HD tuners on board so you can use it to pause and rewind live TV or schedule recordings from its EPG. As with most twin tuner PVRs, you can record one channel while watching another, or if you’re really greedy you can have two recordings running at the same time.

It also supports chase play, so if you arrive home from the pub to find its recording the darts, you can start watching the program from the beginning while the box is still recording the end.

Panasonic DMR-BWT700

The usual suspects

When the box is recording Freeview channels, whether SD or HD ones, it’s really just saving the raw digital transport stream to to the hard disk, so recordings are identical to the original broadcast. And while the 350GB hard drive isn’t exactly massive, it does allow you to record around 80 hours of HD programming or just over 150 hours of standard definition broadcasts.

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