Hi-def handyman recorder

Martin Pipe is almost sold on this flexible media recorder

This slimline beauty can not only play DVDs and Blu-ray discs, but also records them. Thanks to DVB-T2 technology, HD and SD digital TV programmes alike can be captured by the 250GB HDD. There are two such tuners, and so you can record two different channels at the same time or watch one while another records. Good news if your HDTV lacks a Freeview HD tuner.

Highs

An in-built DLNA media server enables you to share standard-def video, JPEG photos, and some types of HD content with compatible devices, including many flatscreen TVs. Thanks to networking, the world of BD-Live content is open to you (with an SD card inserted). So, too, is Panasonic’s ‘Vieracast’ portal.

Easy to install and intuitive to use. The Freeview+ HD certification ensures that the BW780’s PVR division is well-specified, with digital teletext, ‘timeshifting’, and EPG scheduling of the 32-event timer (if the programme you want to record is available in HD, you’re told). l Picture and sound quality are excellent with both HD and SD material.

Bitstream (DR-mode) recording means that there’s no loss of quality relative to the original broadcast. Blu-ray and DVD playback cannot be faulted, either.

Lows

Although there’s a CD-ripping jukebox on board, the media server won’t stream any of the music you’ve stored to compatible devices. And even after the relevant DR-mode bitstreams are converted to another mode that would be compatible with most devices, HD recordings can’t be shared, and broadcasts aren’t currently allowed by Freeview.

Camcorder material aside, you can’t copy HD to DVD. Using the lowest bitrate (HM) mode, though, a cheap 4.7GB DVD-R could store nearly 3hrs of HD material, but this can only be copied to DVD in SD form. DVD recording is multi-format.

Lacks the network media player features even of cheap BD players.


Panasonic DMR-BW780
Price:
£500 Approx

Overall 4/5