Panasonic DMR-BWT700 HDD and Blu-ray recorder combo
Unspoilt by progress
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.
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.
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.
Next page: Indirect to disc
"godforsaken EPG ads."
To me, this is absolutely unacceptable. No matter how good the rest of the machine is, I would not buy it purely for this reason.
59 SECONDS from disc insert to first logo??? And this is considered fairly quick???
I don't have a Blu-Ray player (or even a DVD player any more) as all my content is online, so obviously I missed the memo that taking a minute to load a damn disc was considered acceptable!
I too find these too obtrusive. They do two things, a) annoy you b) take up valuable screen space better given over to epg data.
Seems like quite a bad deal really only 350gb disc? for that money? surely at the very least 500gb or 1tb would be required.
I think the blu-ray burner is an anachronsim, xfer to a usb harddisc, or to a network drive for the recorded files would be a vastly better, and much cheaper option.
And for that reason, I wont be investing. You're fired!
I made the mistake of buying a Panasonic DVD/HDD box. I rue the day. Apart from the EPG adverts (seriously, how can they deem that acceptable?) and the truly abysmal UI (e.g. to show the list of recordings you have to press the button marked "Direct Navigator". Of course, what else would it be called?) the box seems to be incompatible with my *Panasonic TV, made in the same year. I can't watch freeview on the TV if the box is switched on, it interferes with the picture. Panasonic just shrugged when I asked them.
I will never, never buy Panasonic equipment again.
Yeah I dont get it either.
Seems folks are happy to accept shoddy standards and electronics to make sure they have the latest and (well in BD's case no so great) greatest.
When I read about this lag time about 5 years ago I thought it was just 1st generation drives would have this. Seems its a feature then?