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3.7 out of 5 stars14
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 11 January 2007
I've had one of these for about three weeks now. I chose this model for our main room because I wanted a DVD RAM recorder with a Freeview tuner: DVD RAM for general purpose "time-shifting" with easy deletion of material and for compatibility with an older Toshiba DVD RAM recorder I use in another room. I also wanted an easy source of digital channels without going into extra boxes, buying new TV, or even having my front lawn dug up to bring NTL cable in from the conduit in the road outside.

We have a good quality aerial, about seven years old, but not one specially designed for digital reception, and our area has average analogue reception quality. The first four terrestrial channels are fine, we get Five, but it's grainy.

On hooking up this recorder, the first thing you notice when it has finished its auto-setup routine is that the picture quality is excellent on all channels. Five is now as good as the others. The programme index works well and recording is easy to set up. Playback quality ids fine.

Unlike a previous reviewer, I find the remote quite well laid out. They've used larger buttons and different colour coding for the most-used play-pause-stop functions and I think it works well, ergonomically. There will always be more functions and more to access with a digital system as opposed to an analogue one, and I think they've got the balance right, and resisted the temptation to cram so many buttons on to the remote that they're so small you need the fingers of a six-year-old to operate them accurately.

I've no hesitation in wholeheartedly recommending this machine. I sourced mine from an outlet which offered it as a multi-region player, which was also important to me. If you don't need a hard drive recorder it should be at the top of your list. It records all the other DVD formats, replays picture CDs and Jpegs, and there's a SD card reader/recorder slot in the front panel.

A few points to note: 1. It won't do DiVX, and that may be important to you. 2. If you are going to use DVD RAM disks, they are less common than the other formats and you may have to shop around for them. 3. If you are going to hook up the sound to your home cinema set-up, the digital output is optical, not co-ax, which may mean you have to buy a new lead, like I did.
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on 24 December 2006
excellent piece of kit. My first dvd/freeview machine which I set up in about 10 minutes, it almost does it itself. Loads of tv and digital radio and easy to find and record. I had read about noise being a problem but this runs absolutely silently. I like the fact the remote can be tuned to almost any TV so you only need one unit to lose. The only minus I've found so far is that you can't record one programme and watch another on digital, but you can watch on analogue while recording digital.
Highly recommended and a good bargain as well
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on 9 January 2007
Prior to purchasing this I had considered a hard drive Freeview recorder as I wanted the facility of pausing TV, chase play etc. I didn't realise this was possible on DVD recorders but having read that this model can do that - if using DVD-RAM disks - I decided to go for this instead.

Having now used this for a few days I think it does pretty much everything a HDD recorder can do with the added advantage of removable media. Timer recording from the EPG is easy - just press OK and it will take you straight to the timer programming with channel/start/stop time filled in. You can easily add a couple of minutes to the end as it defaults to the stop time for editing. Date/time/channel/title information is transferred to the DVD menu.

Pause TV is a bit fiddly. If you are not already recording, you have to start recording, then press play for simultaneous playback and record, then pause. One button to do this would have been nice.

If you have kids I would recommend using DVD-RAM cartridge disks. The disks don't need to be removed from the cartridge to go into the recorder and this helps keep them safe from grubby hands. The fact that the remote control can be programmed to operate volume/channel/AV even on non-Panasonic TVs is also a nice feature.

My one gripe which is minor is that when recording widescreen broadcasts to non DVD-RAM disks it only records in 4:3 format and the widescreen switching flag is not recorded. This means on playback you have to manually set the TV to 16:9 to display the correct aspect otherwise you get black bars on the side and a squashed picture.

There is some very slight noise from the fan when the unit is on but it is almost inaudible. I haven't experienced any clicking noise when playing a DVD.

As the previous reviewer says it only has a single Freeview tuner so you cannot record one program and watch another. To do that you will need an integrated digital TV or a separate set top box.
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on 2 April 2007
I needed to get a freeview receiver and a dvd player for the bedroom and my new HD enabled Samsung LE23R71BX high definition TV, so took my chances with this unit. What was most attractive about the unit was that it can play and record on all known DVD and CD formats, as well as having an in-built SD card reader and writer. It can deal with cards up to 2GB. As I wasn't going to spend £500 on a standalone blue-ray player, it's ability to upgrade standard DVD disks to HD output was very tempting. Simply put, I get to keep all my DVD movies and watch them at HD quality. A case of having my cake and eating it too...

This unit is unique in it's ability to read and write to DVD RAM disks. From a little investigation, this happens to be the best media for re-recording up to 10,000 times. A 4.7GB disk can record up to 4 hours. The unit intelligently labels all your recording so no more time wasted. It will also start recording from the end of your last recording so goodbye to the bad old days of repeated forwarding and rewinding to find the right spot. The other beauty about this is that all the movies that you record can then be played on standard DVD players, including those on your PC/laptop. Erasing unwanted movies takes only seconds and you are ready to go again. No more missing your fav shows or running out of tape etc.

Having the SD card reader built-in also means that you can now copy all your digital pictures on to a DVD/CD media directly. No more messing around complicated CD/DVD software which can cost up to £50 on their own.
It can read your digital pictures and have a screen show feature built-in to display your fav pictures on your TV screen. This is also done in High Definition mode if you have a high definition TV.

The freeview receiver quality? Great. I have been using freeview channels for over 3 years now and this unit gives excellent reception that is better than my Nokia 220T, which was the de-facto standard not too long ago. Furthermore, I am only using an indoor antenna so it is amazing how clear the freeview channels are.

I used a HDMI cable and setup was simple. It was literally plug in and play. The unit and my samsung HDTV detected each other immediately. This is the only way to get the best out of the unit after investing all your hard earn money. Unfortunately, it also means spending a little bit more for the HDMI cable which is not included.
It's a real gem, especially if you have just bought or thinking of buying a high definition TV. Makes life easy so that you can enjoy your movies stress free.

Highly recommended.
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on 5 July 2007
had this recorder for about a month now and i have had no problems with the manual nor any problems recording from sky+. picture quality is very good, it records on all discs, for the money i dont think you will buy a better machine
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on 7 February 2008
Have owned one of these for 18 months, is still working well with regular use -- mainly for recording a few Sky programs per week via SCART and watching DVDs.
Average DVB tuner (the one on my Philips LCD suffers less break-up), good picture, reasonable analogue sound.
Fan often comes on when recording and noise can be a bit distracting. Occasionally get disc noise on playback.
1hr and 2hr recording modes via SCART are good, 4hr is a little poor for my liking. Recorded DVB picture often seemed a bit poorer than the live picture was (more blocking, especially with smoke or large areas of same colour).
OK otherwise.
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on 11 December 2006
Panasonic's use of DVD-RAM standards puts their recorders ahead of the competition for versatility and ease-of-use. The EZ25 also comes with built-in digital tuner (for Freeview), a variety of other inputs - including ability to download from a digital camcorder - and an HDMI connection.

I'd been very happy with my Panasonic DMR-E55 and bought the EZ25 as an upgrade. It does what is says it will but has two problems. First, it suffers from feature-itis. By cramming so many features in, all basic operations become just a little more fiddly and the remote is more crowded than on earlier models.

Much more serious is that the DVD drive has a high-pitched whine during recording and playback. You don't notice the latter noise during action movies but it is intrusive during quieter moments and dialogue. I did a temporary swap for an EZ45 (one with built-in VCR) but the same problem was there. Two is a small sample size but it seems quite possible this is a range-wide issue. As a result the quiet and efficient E55 retains pride of place in our household and the EZ25 is relegated to back-room secondary use only.
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on 3 July 2007
I think this may well be a very good machine. However, I've had this kit for 6 months now and have not got around to doing anything other than play pre recorded disks (which it does very well). The reason for this lack of functionality is the rubbish manual which is the usual poor translation into Englishese. Even when I contacted Panasonic they agreed that it was poor but held out no hope of an english rewrite. The manual is fine if you just want to record the programmed tv channel. But try to fathom out how to say, record stored Sky+ programmes to archive them onto DVD. I did get a few clips onto a disk but gave up trying to edit them into a comprehensive programme. In short, the brochure promises marvellous features but the manual does not explain how to achieve any of these wonders.
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on 30 August 2009
I bought this for its considerable versatility and connectivity. It's user friendly too. BUT it broke down and stopped reading DVDs after less than two years of light use, in the manner of all those cheap models lining rubbish tips across the country. What a disappointment. Is anything built to last these days?
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on 11 December 2014
Fully featured product, top brand name.
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