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Timer recording often doesn't work
on 12 September 2010
It should be really easy to record programmes to the hard drive with this machine: you just select what you want to record from the EPG, and the timer is automatically set. The trouble is that it just doesn't work. You can select the programmes fine, they appear in the timer list just fine, but the machine only records them sometimes. The rest of the time it just "forgets" to record, for no readily apparent reason. I estimate this failure happens for about 20% of programmes I've tried to record, with no pattern I can see: it happens on various channels, at various times.
When it's failed to record, the programme is still in the timer list, with an "!" in the Drive Space column, even though the hard drive is very far from full and has way more free space than is needed, and there are no overlapping recordings. Sometimes I've watched it fail. The machine is in standby, with the red clock showing on the display. The wanted programme begins transmission, but it fails to start recording. If I then turn the recorder on manually from standby during the programme, it "notices" and starts recording.
This is very poor. If it can't be relied upon to record programmes, an HDD recorder is rather a pointless thing to own. Unfortunately, I've had mine for more than 30 days (I'm not a heavy user, so it took me a while to notice the problem) so it's too late to send it back.
UPDATE: I've found this problem only occurs if you use the "Power Save in Standby" feature [it's under the settings menu/others/standby settings]. If I set this to "Off" then timer recording seems to work. Nowhere in the manual (that I can find) does it say that using this feature breaks timer recordings, and indeed timer recordings did still did work sometimes with it on, so I think it's meant to work but is just broken. I have not had a problem since I turned this off, suggesting very strongly that this is a problem with the Panasonic recorder, not something dodgy with the EPG meta-data as one of the comments suggested.