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on 26 November 2014
Our original thought on this product was generally good in 2011. However, over the past year, there have been glitches and now a major repair. Some of the glitches are things like it's recording and sometimes it's not possible to stop the recording, or a once used DvD used for recording is suddenly of an 'Unknown Format' (sometimes after cleaning it a bit it's ok but not always). The latest error was a U61 one which has turned out to be a £150 motherboard which is only guaranteed by Panasonic for 3 months. This at least gives us time to look around for a more robust model or perhaps one with a hard drive. A mixed experience I have to say after only 3.5 years...not exactly a long term product despite the so-called good name of Panasonc...
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on 14 May 2014
Thought that being Panasonic this would be good but very disappointed. It's spent more time (under warranty) in the menders with one problem after another and even now it's still not great. Have given up now but still use it occasionally to play on old video. Forget it as far as recording is concerned as it spends it's life refusing to accept the discs (yes they are the recommended ones too). Rubbish.
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on 15 September 2013
After reading reviews on this machine, I decided to purchase one. I am not disappointed, it is an excellent machine, does everything it says in the book, just try not to use all the functions from the outset. The instruction book is comprehensive, but once you work through it, everything is OK. I am 64, so technical things take me longer to master, however this is one machine I would highly recommend.
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on 25 January 2012
I bough the Panasonic DMR-EZ49VEBK after having read reviews on it an similar combi recorders as it seemed that would be best for me given that my TV is also a Panasonic which has compatible technology. Setting up the unit was easy and the Freeview channels loaded without difficulty.
My first attempt at recording was a failure but that was my fault since I had not selected the AV channel required. When I had a second try it worked out fine and I have used used +R and +RW discs without problem. Using the unit has been to transfer VHS to DVD so far and has worked a treat. Tape in, Disc in, push button and that's it. Follow on screen instructions when they appear and as they say "Bob's your uncle...."
Update:
Since submitting my review I have discovered something which was a pleasant surprise. I was recording a programe directly from the tv and when I reviewed it afterwards found that the adverts had been omitted from the recording. All I can say is "hooray" and how I wish I could omit all adverts every other time.
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I've owned the Panasonic DMR-EZ49vEBK for 2 years now. It is easy to use and yet customisable (to a level rarely seen today), has a first class thick and detailed (paper/English-only) manual and hasn't so much as stuttered (let alone locked up) once. It has done everything I have asked it to and in short has exceeded every single one of my expectations. Thank you Panasonic!

I first opted for one of these (like most, I guess) to record DVDs and transfer some old videos to DVD. My decent enough Philips DVD recorder had given up the ghost and (as I prefer to be able to keep films and such) I opted to buy another rather than a PVR (which has limited storage space).

I use the VHS daily for recordings I don't want to keep. The quality (especially when upscaled* through the HDMI lead) is the best I've seen for video tape. It isn't "crystal" clear, but it is perfectly watchable. Even when watching it through a normal scart lead, the quality is about the same as none HD freeview.

After a brief setup (including your post code so the guide updates accordingly) the system itself is as simple or advanced as you want it to be. Taping to either VHS or DVD from freeview is pretty much the same as with a PVR. Simply navigate using the guide to the program you wish to record, press OK and then select VHS/DVD and recording quality. Done!

Copying to DVD from VHS (and vice versa) is also really simple. Simply a case of selecting copy on the main (function) menu and selecting duration/recording quality etc. It then asks if you wish to finalise the disc (so it will play on other DVD players) and then it starts. The quality of transfer is perfect (obviously effected by the quality of your VHS tape).

I also use the timer function frequently for late night films on Freesat (which is easily connected through a scart). With this it is simply a case of selecting the AV channel the scart lead connects with, setting the start and end times/recording quality and media (VHS/DVD). When recording to DVD, you can also key in a name for the program (it does this automatically if you're recording from the guide). Unfortunately, you cannot record to DVD and VHS at the same time (not even when recording from different sources ie: the built-in Freeview and an external Freesat box) a real pity as this would be something I used a lot if it did.

Quite often, I find I watch a film or TV programme I taped on VHS and like it so copy it to DVD so I can keep it. Having the ability to do this is useful (and saves you wasting a DVD for something you're not certain you'll want to keep). For TV series, I find it easiest to record them to VHS and then transfer them to DVD in one day when I have enough. You can record them straight to DVD (and remove the DVD without finalising it) though if you prefer.

The DVD recording (either with copying or the timer function, but not--disappointingly--from the Guide) has a great flexible recording quality that my previous machine didn't have. It basically calculates the best recording quality you can get for a film or TV program and uses the whole disc. Therefore you can record 1.5 hour and 2.5 hour programs etc. in the best quality (rather than compromising with 2 or 4 hour quality).

Other DVD recording quality settings are 1 hour, 2 hour, 4 hour, 6 hour and 8 hours**. For VHS (with a 4 hour tape) you get 4 hour 8 hour and 12 hours. The quality on the lower settings is perfectly watchable (I record 5 hours of US football every week to VHS on long play (8 hours) and can't really see any difference--though with 12 hours, it is obviously lower quality though still perfectly watchable).

I won't even begin to list all the extra features you can do with it. I've already done quite a lot and am still finding more and more out about it (for example: you can set the controller to control the basic functions of many TV sets--not just Panasonic). You can even set the level of electricity the unit uses in stand-by mode. For best cost efficiency, you lose the quick start (and it takes about a minute to boot up--instead of 2 seconds) and can't view any connected equipment (such as a Sky box or Freesat) without the unit being switch on. You can select it so quick start is enabled constantly or only during set hours (ie: 18:00-00:00) if you're out at work, to make sure it is both cost efficient and still convenient. How many machines allow you this much control?

Finally, just a word on the fantastic instruction manual. It's 95 pages long and covers all features in depth (with easy to follow step by step instructions and a few diagrams to help along the way). It is by far the most useful manual I've had in ages. In fact the whole product is so rich with features (that do pretty much everything you could expect it to) that are explained in such depth, I am so glad still, now, I bought this instead of a PVR. It may not be as convenient (having to insert tapes and discs), but gives you far more flexibility if (like me) you like building a library you've recorded from TV.

*Note. the manual says and I found it was true that when watching freeview on this machine through a HDMI lead the freeview reception can be effected. This doesn't matter if you wish to watch a VHS or DVD, but you can't tape from freeview and watch at the same time through HDMI. You can watch with no loss of quality fine through a scart connection (it has 2 2-way scart sockets), even if the HDMI lead is also connected. The remedy is (I found from another review on Amazon somewhere and scouring the web) to either buy a Panasonic HDMI lead (at around £20) or some double shielded aerial cable and decent connectors. I already had the aerial cable so used this (I shortened my current aerial lead to where it comes into the room and fitted a double shielded lead to it with connectors to the machine). It works fine now, but you have been warned. That said, the quality from a scart lead is perfectly acceptable (just normal freeview quality), so if you just want to upscale video and DVD recordings then it's not a problem at all.

** For DVD recordings you can either use 6 hour or 8 hours for extended play (you change it in the settings menu). I usually have it set to 6 hour for taping 3 films to, but sometimes tape 4 films with 8 hour and they are easily watchable (though obviously not perfect).
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on 17 July 2013
Takes 5 full minutes to come on saying 'please wait' on the led display all the time, very complicated manual, takes 5 minutes to set up the record function, takes another 5 minutes to even switch off! It does record from VHS to DVD and as soon I have finished recording all my tapes it'll be on ebay! Panasonic - you can do better than this
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on 25 July 2013
If you want to do dvd recording do not buy this machine.

I have owned it for 3 months and have had so much problems I could cry.

The Panasonic I bought was faulty and had to be replaced, the 2nd came up with a U61 error after 3 months. I am trying to talk to Panasonic but as usual their help is useless. I have done some research on my own and it looks like it is a problem with the capacitor on the unit.

I still haven't been able to find a reliable dvd recorder but this one has to be the worst I have owned.
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on 29 April 2014
All my other Panasonic products have been good and even when they disappoint they are still okay! It is a task to set up, use and the counter on the disc player seems unreliable? Perhaps I'll get used to it. In the future I will still go to Panasonic - first.
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on 1 August 2012
Bought as a replacement for an older DVD/VCR Combi (different make) because the VCR drive had "died".
This Panasonic unit is an excellent piece of kit & very easy to use (the very large instruction manual looks a bit daunting at first, but is broken down into digestible sections & is very comprehensive - i.e. the kit is easier to use than the first impression from the manual). The picture quality, ease of recording, timer programming (the "TV Guide" method is a nice innovation), recording and dubbing are all very good.

Been using it (fairly heavily) for about 6 weeks now - no problems. It seems to be better quality than my older unit. The only (very slight) irritation is a low whine when playing a tape (not when playing DVDs).

Arrived well packed/protected and was easy to set up. I also liked the info in the specification on the Amazon site (pre-purchase); it covered virtually all my queries.
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on 13 July 2014
Brilliant device, just a shame that Panasonic have just stopped making them, so had to settle for a secondhand machine. It arrived early and installation and setup was pretty straightforward. Given that it's linked to a Panasonic TV means that recording of TV programmes is simplicity itself, virtually one-click. Have still to try the VHS to DVD copying capability.
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