Panasonic DMR-PWT500 3D BD Freeview HD DVR
A bit of a show-off
Review In the Twilight Zone between Blu-ray players and DVRs you’ll find Panasonic’s DMR-PWT500 that boasts a combination disc spinner and digital TV timeshifter. Space-saving convenience is main USP of this hybrid, so if you want one box that can do it all, it’s certainly worth an audition.
Box clever: Panasonic's DMR-PWT500
The DMR-PWT500 is derived from the brand’s DMR-HW100 and sports two Freeview HD tuners, the standard Panasonic ROVI EPG and uses a miserly 320GB hard drive (which surely means it should have been called a PWT320?). Still, this is enough to store around 80 hours of HD, delivering a recorded image quality in line with original transmissions.
The unit’s Blu-ray transport is 3D-compatible and appears to share DNA with the brand’s stand-alone DMP-BDT210/310. HD picture quality is predictably sharp and vibrant, upscaled DVDs look entirely respectable.
The back panel houses the essentials
In addition to telly and disc playback, the DMR-PWT500 also throws in media playback from USB and purports to do the same over the network. However, this deck is not quite the connected gad about town it likes to think it is.
Indeed, the USB option is the best way to watch media files. Video support from a stick or external HDD covers both AVI and MKVs, while music is limited to MP3. When you try and stream media across a network from a Nas, this deck appears dumbfounded. I managed to get an AVCHD file to play, but that was about it.
Clearly laid out remote
The deck also throws in access to Panasonic’s net portal – or at least a version of it. The Viera Cast destination here is subtly different from the band’s Viera Connect TV destination, even though they look pretty much identical. It’s probably analogous to multi-dimensionality string theory or perhaps not. With this version of Panasonic’s portal, there’s no BBC iPlayer, apps nor games, and streaming services have a distinctly European bent. You do get YouTube though – a constant regardless of what dimension you’re in.
Next page: Mixed media
So, basically, this is £410 for a DVR that doesn't play most video types; has broken DLNA support, shows adverts in the EPG, and only has 320GB of disk space?
And Panasonic are at a loss to explain why they're about to go under. *slow clap*
The sign on the Panasonic building down here in Sydney has a few lights out so at night it is proudly displaying PAN---NIC - seems appropriate!
Theres no decent telly on freeview. so pointless product
Streaming Freeview HD is not allowed (depends on rights flags)
In order to use the Freeview trademarks HD and the huffman encoded EPG content must be protected (unless flagged copy freely) so is unlikely to be permitted over DLNA without using DTCP-IP which I doubt most software players can handle.
There is also the fact that Freeview HD broadcasts are somewhat interesting and some devices have a hard time playing them correctly due to the changes between 50i and 25p that occur regularly on the current encoders.
I use MythTV to record (not Freeview trademarked) so that it can use the trade secret (according to the BBC) information that is on the internet here: https://github.com/MythTV/mythtv/blob/master/mythtv/libs/libmythtv/mpeg/freesat_tables.h which I believe was legally reverse engineered from the information that they broadcast over a large area of Europe.
With MythTV acting as the UPNP/DLNA server the Freeview HD content works correctly my 2011 BRAVIA TV but not on the Playstation3.
If it's anything like the DMR-BW780 BluRay recorder we've got here, it'll have decent recording quality let down by the most half-baked, frustrating, inconsistent and poorly thought through interface. 20 key presses to finalise a disc when you've just finished burning it? Failure to recognise a disc you've just formatted unless you remove it, and cycle the power? When editing the title of a recording, pressing Delete inserts a space, and pressing Pause deletes? That's Panasonic, that is.