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14 Reviews
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good recorder but could do even better
I have had this recorder for 9 months and it gets used by me and the rest of my family extensively. It is very good quality and easy to use.

I would like to make the following observations for anyone thinking of buying one. None of these are critical and it is probably still the best of what you can buy now. BUT...

The hard disk gets filled up...
Published on 8 May 2007 by Stevey B

versus
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very useful machine let down by shoddy software
Works well generally and is incredibly useful, but so, so frustrating to use.

Today the clocks went forward - the Panasonic can't cope with this - Why??. My Sony freeview box has no problem.

The EPG is very poorly integrated with the rest of the menu system - looks like it has been grafted in as an afterthought. Other decoders continue sound/visuals...
Published on 25 Mar 2007 by M. J. Forsyth


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good recorder but could do even better, 8 May 2007
This review is from: Panasonic DMR-EX85EB-S 250GB Hard Disk DVD Recorder - Freeview Tuner, HDMI (Electronics)
I have had this recorder for 9 months and it gets used by me and the rest of my family extensively. It is very good quality and easy to use.

I would like to make the following observations for anyone thinking of buying one. None of these are critical and it is probably still the best of what you can buy now. BUT...

The hard disk gets filled up quickly even at 250GB and unless you are very disciplined at deleting or copying off onto DVD it becomes a constant battle to decide what to delete before you can record more. I do this once a week to free up about 20 hours of space. If I was buying again I would want to look at 1TByte (but no one sells one yet - wait for Panasonic 2008 models!). Why can we not have swappable hard disks or even better upgradable hard disks.

The biggest gripe I have (and it is one that means I would not buy this model given my time again) is there are NO EFFECTIVE PARENTAL CONTROL features. Although you can stop kids watching adult DVD's you cannot stop them recording unsuitable material from TV channels (e.g. early hours of the morning) and watching that at some other time. I would expect to see the ability to block channels, block channels by time and block individual recordings. All of these features are available from the HUMAX PVR models and many of these features from PANASONIC rivals - wake up PANASONIC.

Finally DVD-RAMs in catridges are brilliant for young kids. They are effectively indistructible and this is the only DVD recorder which supports cartridge DVD-RAMs. Rememeber it is not jkust kids that can damage DVDs and if you really want to preserve a recording then DVD-RAMs in cartridges are the bees knees.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY THE BEST CURRENTLY ON SALE, 1 Dec 2006
By 
Vic Waite (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Panasonic DMR-EX85EB-S 250GB Hard Disk DVD Recorder - Freeview Tuner, HDMI (Electronics)
I received the recorder 7 days ago, using the on screen prompts, set up was a breeze. Progammes can be set for recording easily using the programme display, with the opportunity of amending start/stop times if required. Copying from the hard drive to DVD is straight forward,you need to utilize the advanced option if you do not want the DVD to auto finalise. (I contacted Panasonic customer service for this information They were most helpful in sorting my question).

The picture was noticibly clearer and brighter using the free to view channels. Excellent product
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars State of the art at the moment, 7 Sep 2006
By 
Matthew King (Harrow, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Panasonic DMR-EX85EB-S 250GB Hard Disk DVD Recorder - Freeview Tuner, HDMI (Electronics)
This is universally reviewed as a 5/5 product. There is no better at the moment for picture quality and amount of features (though you can never get every feature you want in 1 product).

Re "When you set time recordings the player will not play standard region dvds, you have to delete all the timings" - the manual does not confirm this, perhaps it was a fault with very early productions.

Note: The manual for the DMR-EX85 says it plays DiVX. The manual for the DMR-EX85EB says it dosn't.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not over-rated, 20 July 2007
By 
G. L. Craig - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Panasonic DMR-EX85EB-S 250GB Hard Disk DVD Recorder - Freeview Tuner, HDMI (Electronics)
This is the third DVD/HD recorder I have owned. I bought the original DVD/HD machine, the Panasonic HS2, a basic machine, still going strong. I also bought a much better, but unreliable JVC, which finally died completely. Panasonic seem to have come back with better machines, picking up ideas like thumbnail menus, DVD-RW and no timer button, while retaining good features like automatic programming titling and cartridge DVD-RAM.

Contrary to one review here, this machine certainly can be used while it is recording. You can watch any disc or programme on the hard disk, including the programme you are recording (from the beginning). This is a feature of all the machines I have owned. You can not record while copying a disc, but that's no big deal.

It seems a bit of a niggle to complain about how long it takes to power up. How long does you computer take? A lot longer than this machine. I don't know about the clock not changing, mine comes up with the right time even after it has been unplugged all night. I like the freeview recording and the programme guide is fine, just like the ones on freeview boxes, except you can set a recording from there.

The remote is a lot better than the HS2, which was certainly bad. This one, while not being the most powerful, I find ok. My machine has worked perfectly and works with old discs that the previous machine could not read. I don't find this machine to be at all difficult to use. It is also much quieter than my previous machines. My only criticism is that it only reads SD movie files from particular video cameras. It does not read the movie files from many cameras including Panasonic own Lumix range. I would like to see it read any popular format, anywhere on an SD card. My best machine so far and I'm very happy with it.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best DVD Recorder Yet, 1 Oct 2006
By 
Gerry Graham (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Panasonic DMR-EX85EB-S 250GB Hard Disk DVD Recorder - Freeview Tuner, HDMI (Electronics)
I have the DMR EX85EB a couple of months now and could not be happier. It has all the features one would need and then some. It's a breeze to set up and operate giving RGB output on both scarts along with component and HDMI(upscaling). You can also connect a camcorder via firewire for copying the content onto the HDD. The editing features are very good. You can edit out ad's seemlessley and create playlists and chapters for your recordings before burning to DVD. I don't know what the other ppl are talking about regarding not being able to play a Std DVD when you have the timer set for recording, my machine does not suffer this. My advice to them would be to just turn off the timer when they want to watch a DVD, it's very easy and when you turn it on again all your timed recordings will still be there. However I stress again this is not the case with my model. The DivX capable(DMR-EX85) is the European model and is available in the UK however the freeview turner(range) is slightly different on that model so be careful. All in all an excellent purchase IMO.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very useful machine let down by shoddy software, 25 Mar 2007
By 
M. J. Forsyth - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Panasonic DMR-EX85EB-S 250GB Hard Disk DVD Recorder - Freeview Tuner, HDMI (Electronics)
Works well generally and is incredibly useful, but so, so frustrating to use.

Today the clocks went forward - the Panasonic can't cope with this - Why??. My Sony freeview box has no problem.

The EPG is very poorly integrated with the rest of the menu system - looks like it has been grafted in as an afterthought. Other decoders continue sound/visuals behind the EPG - this box does not, though some of its other menus do.

Sluggish control via remote - latency of seconds is not uncommon, which is wholly unacceptable. The remote only works from a narrow range of angles (how long have remote controls been around!)

The menu system is badly organised. Different remote keys are used to do similar things, depending on the context. Controlling via remote is generally counter intuitive.

On some channels, the video decode stops functioning after a few seconds, leaving a blank screen. This may be some kind of memory leak, the only way I have found of fixing this is to switch off mains power.

Come on Panasonic - release a firmware upgrade.

Pros:

Disc Size

Recording quality

Cons:

Counter intuitive user interface.

Slow EPG navigation

Slow channel hopping

No video decode behind EPG

Remote control operates from limited range of angles.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Panasonic DMR-EX85, 28 Feb 2007
This review is from: Panasonic DMR-EX85EB-S 250GB Hard Disk DVD Recorder - Freeview Tuner, HDMI (Electronics)
Only one additional thing I would like to have seen on this model would have been an auto chapter inserter. At present you have to put them in manually and even at fast forward this is a pain. Auto insertion at 3, 5 or 10 mins would have been nice and is found on all computer based TV recording/editing software. In response to the many models sold as DivX players etc I have phoned Panasonic technical dept to make some checks.
The UK European model is the DMR-EX85EB-S. The EB stands for Europe British and the S for silver. A French one would be EF, German ED (Deutsche) and so on. They also said that the British model does not play divX on any media (cd or dvd). However, some European models do play divX. The problem with getting a non British one just so you can play divX is that the in-built terrestrial recievers are not the same across Europe because they recieve/use different signals (don't ask me how, I'm just relaying the info). This may lead to problems recieving terrestrial and free to view digital channels. Also the freeview screen menu may be different. I asked why it did not say this in some of the advertising sites and they said this was down to the companies making the sale failing to include the full specifications in the advert. For instance they just call it the DMR-EX85. I then contacted one company advertising their machine as the EX85 which could play divX and they sent an Email saying it was actually the EX85EB-S. The Brithish European machine so according to Panasonic it can't play divX.

Some companies also claim multi Region machines through software not hardware alteration and that this does not therefore affect the Panasonic guarantee. (The company claiming theirs could play divX was one of these) Panasonic said this is true as long as a fault does not turn out to be in the software then the guarantee stands, which makes sense.

It may also be that they have found a way to make their machines play divX through a software alteration and that the machine does everything that they say it does.

At the end of the day, Buyer beware. Get the full model number of the mechine on offer and if unsure then check with Panasonic (UK 08705 357357). Ask yourself "do I really need multi region" if yes then you run a risk should a software problem develop. If they say its British and plays divX then ask how it has been altered to make it do this. If your using cable or sky for the signal then the non-British receiver won't make any difference until you come to sell it on when you upgrade.

Hope this makes sense and helps.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About the Timer Issue, 29 Dec 2006
This review is from: Panasonic DMR-EX85EB-S 250GB Hard Disk DVD Recorder - Freeview Tuner, HDMI (Electronics)
The timer issue will only affect playing NTSC discs (ie non-UK region 2). The reason for this is that when recording, the system is locked into PAL signal processing and cannot process NTSC at the same time. This is a common problem and not specific to this model. OK they could allow you to watch NTSC discs when the timer is set but not recording, but then if a timer came up while you were watching it would not be able to record it - so the compromise is that you have to disable the timer to watch discs from outside of Europe - should not be a big deal.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just hope it doesn't break outside of warranty, 5 Aug 2008
By 
M. Williams "Matt Williams" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Panasonic DMR-EX85EB-S 250GB Hard Disk DVD Recorder - Freeview Tuner, HDMI (Electronics)
We bought our DMR-EX85EB-S in February 2007 and it stopped being able to receive a digital TV signal last week.

So I took it to be repaired at Tower in Hadleigh, Essex, the local Panasonic service reps, where we paid a 40 fee for them to investigate the problem.

Their answer - the whole motherboard needs replacing at a cost of 175 so it's not financially viable.

Their equally unappealing alternative was that we can have 40 off the cost of a replacement.

I know we're in a throw away society - for heavens sake this week I took back a Breville kettle to Currys that I bough two months ago that had stopped working - but really, wouldn't it be nice if a device as expensive as this could have a working life longer than one and a half years?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Recorder - poor manual, 8 Nov 2006
By 
This review is from: Panasonic DMR-EX85EB-S 250GB Hard Disk DVD Recorder - Freeview Tuner, HDMI (Electronics)
This is an excellent recorder which can do most video recording/copying tasks you want. Do not be put off by the inadequate manual. In particular it is not clear about how to preserve your thumbnails and chapter points when copying to dvd. The answer is to use "Advanced Copy" not "Copy" and use the "High Speed Copy". ("Record for High Speed Copy" needs to be selected in Disc Set Up before recording to hard disc).
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