I bought a Panasonic DMR EX88EB after a truly awful experience with the buggy rushed-to-market Philips DVDR 5570H.
Unlike the Philips machine, the Panasonic just gets on with the job - the EPG was downloaded within minutes of the first power up, the unit responds to remote control button presses quickly, it hasn't crashed once, it's recorded everything I asked it to, and it all just works. Picture quality is noticeably better than the Philips too.
Interestingly, my TV now switches to the HDMI input within two or so seconds. It would take 5-10 seconds with the Philips machine (including 2 seconds of bright green screen - very Doctor Who!).
Some quirks with the Panasonic I've found so far:
- You need a Scart lead during the initial setup (and one isn't supplied in the box), even if you only intend to use HDMI. This isn't documented in the patchy instruction manual. Once the Panasonic and your TV have agreed to talk to each other via HDMI (this happens towards the end of the initial setup), various HDMI menus become available, and you can unplug the bulky Scart lead and put it away.
- You can't set another timed recording whilst the machine is recording something. You can't even view the Guide. Odd.
- There's a mysterious comb filter in the picture menu. It isn't explained anywhere in the manual what this really does for you.
- Most people are using HD TVs, and most are 1080i or p. The Machine's user interface is clearly designed for a much lower resolution, so looks blocky and pixellated on a decent TV. Scalable font technology has been around for years, so I can't see why Panasonic can't tidy this up. It is 2008 after all (or even 2009 when you read this).
Finally, and please excuse the shouting, but THERE IS NO ANALOGUE TUNER built in. If you can't get high quality Digital TV signals in your area, the Panasonic is not the machine for you.
Otherwise, buy one!