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on 8 October 2012
We searched through many reviews before finally deciding on this model to replace our old Panasonic DVD/PVR. We had been backing up our recordings onto DVD and converting those to MKV files so we thought we'd be able to do the same with this model.

Firstly, the picture and sound quality from all sources is excellent.

As the other reviews mention it may take a bit of time to find your way around the remote and menus. However, for us there was very little difference from the old PVR so it was all very easy. Contrary to a previous review, you can watch a program from the beginning while it is being recorded. You just go to the menu and start playing it. The controls (pause / play) are slower to respond but it's not too painful.

The final recordings may be edited to remove adverts etc. using the partial delete function. It's nice that it simply marks the file in the places you want deleted and then does the actual delete all in one go at the end. Our previous model did the deleting as you went along which was time consuming and easy to delete the wrong bit. So well done Panasonic for the software upgrade.

We do not use a dedicated external hard drive to backup the recordings. This feature effectively extends the size of the internal hard disk but requires that you 'register' the external drive. This will format the drive and make the drive dedicated to the unit. So what happens when you replace the unit? Doubtless you will be unable to retrieve the files from the external drive so we wanted to avoid this issue.

However, we have been able to copy off the recordings by setting the unit up as a DNLA server. This is quite easy to do by following the instructions in the manual. Obviously the unit has to be networked in some way; we have an ethernet power adaptor but you could use the plug-in WiFi dongle (DY-WL10). Then we use MediaMonkey software to browse the server. It can take a while for the server function to wake up but the files can then be copied onto your local PC. The files should be renamed and given a .mpg extension to be recognized as video files. From there, you can use Handbrake to reformat the files as MKV files or whatever. You can see and copy files of HD recordings from the unit but they're encrypted and can't be viewed so we stick to standard quality for programs we want to keep. Nevertheless, we now have exactly what we wanted - a recorder that can easily be backed up over the network, that's very high quality and plays Blu-ray discs too!
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on 23 December 2012
This is the third generation of this type of Panasonic we have had. Several irritations in the previous model have been sorted out, and for most routine tasks the machine is completely intuitive and easy; we are entirely satisfied with that.

It still "groups" series, but now you can actually watch a grouped programme while it is recording something else. (In the second generation you had to "ungroup" them before you could watch them, and you couldn't ungroup anything while recording another programme.) And you can delete unwanted progs while you are recording. And the remote now has buttons for "skip forward 60 secs" and "skip back 10 secs" -- much more sensible for skipping the pesky ads.

There are some niggles to be aware of:

1: It is a hdd recorder and dvd *player*, not a recorder, obviously.
2: It won't play dvd-ram disks -- we used these a lot from the first generation because of the high speed copy function.
3: Except by networking it to your computer system -- gulp -- as described by a previous reviewer, you can't get any recording out of the machine (other than by viewing it direct, of course).
4: If you ask it to record a series, it records all the repeat versions, omnibus editions, and ancient repeats on all the digital channels as well.
5: As far as I can see it won't play flash video.
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on 9 June 2012
Waiting for the right piece of kit to come out for a couple of years and this ticks all boxes. All previous hdd/bluray boxes seemed to have some problems/irritations. Panasonic have cracked it! Really simple to use tv guide(didn't need to open the manual once!), great quality HDD picture, Bluray is also excellent. Even the internet option worked straight away and I had youtube and iplayer working within 10mins of opening the box.

Had my last panasonic hdd/dvd for 7 years and loved it - this is a direct replacement and is even better! My only wish is that it had some more internet options (4 on demand, itv player etc....).
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on 31 July 2014
Annoying, very annoying! It does everything it says it does but the control system appears to have been designed purposely to be as annoying as possible. It takes way too long to swap from hard drive to DVD/Blueray mode and every time it notes an update for channel list it insists on updating without allowing for postponements. All said all the glitches add up to an extremely annoying bit of kit, for the price I wouldn't recommend it!
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on 28 September 2012
I have been trying to decide between the Panasonic, the Samsung and Humax PVRs for quite a while now and eventually took the plunge with this one as it had the additional blu ray player and because my TV and existing DVD recorder are Panasonic so the interface was likely to be similar.

So far (after 3 days) I am very happy with the product and would say that it has exceeded the expectations I had from reading the reviews on Amazon and elsewhere, although there are a couple of irritations.

- Firstly, the service from Amazon was excellent - fast delivery etc

- Basic setup was really simple, I just plugged it in and ran through the wizards and it worked

- both picture and sound quality are excellent. Freeview HD channels are noticeably better but the upscaling on the standard channels is also great and the sound quality on all elements is really good

- the fact that the DVD drive is hidden behind a front panel is a nice bonus and will hopefully stop our two year old from stuffing jam sandwiches into it!

- navigation and recording is simple, especially if you are used to using the Panasonic interface, there are some nice touches such as...
- If you try and record a program on a standard definition channel but the program is available in HD you are prompted to see if you want to switch to the HD version (which it will do automatically)
- if you watch some of a program and then come back to it another day it asks whether you would like to watch from the start or from where you left off

- the blu ray disk works nicely, no real issues or comments

- streaming media from a PC via DLNA client works really well. I am using Wild Media Server as the DLNA server and it works well with the Panasonic, having a pre-defined profile for it so there is very little to configure. I have managed to play .mkv, .avi, .mov, .mpg and .mp4 files without any issues or jumpiness. This has worked much better than I expected. The only downside I have hit is that, if using a transcoded file format (one that the Panasonic cannot decode so Wild Media Server does it instead before streaming), then I cannot reverse or forward fast.

- The internet functionality works really well, although it is a bit limited at the moment (no ITV Player, 4OD etc). We have a low bandwidth broadband connection (approx 3 mb), but have been able to watch iPlayer and Youtube without any buffering or freezes.

- the only really major irritation that I have found so far is that you cannot use any of the Internet services (iPlayer, Youtube, DLNA media streaming) while recording a program on Freeview.

Overall, well worth 4 stars and I would highly recommend this product
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on 6 November 2012
I've had this for a little over two weeks now, and I'm really impressed.

I was almost put off by other reviewers who criticised it because it can't record onto DVD, it can't copy from DVD to Hard Drive, and it has no connections for recording from any other item. i.e. a VHS recorder or Sky box.

In fact, all it can do is play DVDs and CDs, and record and playback Freeview TV.

That's all I want it to do, and it does these things superbly.

I found it very easy to set up. I find it very easy to set it to record programs.
To me it seems intuitive, but my old recorder was also a Panasonic and although that one only recorded to Ram disks (DVDs) this one works pretty much the same.

I like the fact that it tells you when the program is available in HD, and gives you the choice of recording either in HD or in normal quality.

I am really impressed that it knows when a program is interrupted by the news, and it automatically records both halves, cutting out the news. (I can't tell you how many times I recorded just the first part of a program with my old machine)

You can also choose to record one episode or a whole series.

This list of good points just goes on and on. So far I have not found anything that I dislike about this machine.

Panasonic DMR-PWT420EB 500GB HDD Recorder with Twin Freeview+ HD Tuners and 3D Blu-ray Disc Player (New for 2012)
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on 9 November 2012
I bought this product to replace my previous Panasonic HHD / DVD recorder after failing after many years of good service with a U88 error that would not clear . I bought from a large retail outlet at the same price as Amazon but with 2yr warranty. I was expecting to write to DVDs as per my previous unit but disappointed to find that i can't, should have read the description more closely. A word of caution. The External HDD facility will only let you use the drive with the unit, not anything else and the instructions state that any SD card formatted for use with the unit MAY not be compatable with other devices, have not tried this as yet. also it would be good to see other on-demand channel available on the internet service apart from BBC. Other than these drawbacks the whole thing is excellent.
20/11/12 - received Two free 3D/2D bluerays of Avatar & Titanic yesterday. Have to say the quality of 2D picture on blue makes me wanna buy a 3D TV !
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on 18 March 2013
Long-time Panasonic fan here, and we chose this unit after much research to replace the PVR capability of our old MediaPortal HTPC, and because we expected it to be well integrated with our new Pana plasma TV.

The good news is that it IS well integrated, easy to set up, good picture and sound quality (once we sorted out a set of aerial cables that could carry a decent Freeview HD signal), and for the most part does what we need, but there are aspects to this device that cause daily irritation:
1. Slow response on the remote. Simple operations always lag, and moving from page to page on your list of recorded TV often takes several seconds, presumably while it's building the page from an internal database of recordings. Attempts to delete recordings are often ignored too, which I think is due to the unit being busy trying to play the recording preview. That preview is a "nice" little feature, but not when it stops me doing what I want to do (and obviously totally pointless if what I want to do is delete the darned recording!). If you wait until the preview commences before pressing "delete", the response is always better.
2. And while I'm talking about "Delete", that button isn't exactly in the most intuitive or easily findable place on the remote. In fact the remote control design generally leaves a lot to be desired. I've been using it for five months now and the position of play/pause/stop still doesn't feel right. The remotes for the TV and PVR are sufficiently similar to mean that, because the TV guide button isn't in the same place (or even the same colour!) on the two remotes, half the time you'll be accessing the Viera Internet services or the advanced menu functions instead of the EPG.
3. Having come from the almost infinitely configurable MediaPortal, I don't like having the skip increments dictated. One minute forwards and ten seconds backwards inevitably means several key presses (each with its own delay) are required to skip an ad break. It took me quite a while to learn the Corrie ad break is four forwards and two back. Clunky? You bet. Why can't we have a "large skip" and a "small skip" in BOTH directions?
4. Regularly loses series link recordings. The most common one in our experience is Northwest Tonight. Don't ask me why but we'll only ever go a week or so before the Pana gives up any attempt at recording this programme. Diving into the list of scheduled recordings will show it in a "No Data!" state, which requires the entry to be deleted and recreated from the EPG before it will start recording again. For a few days.
5. Poor clash handling. Managing the muxes between two tuners must be a bit of a dark art, because I've rarely found a device that can do it properly. We've had our fair share of 5-minute recordings as the Pana tries and fails to manage its tuners between a set of sequential recordings that should be perfectly capable of recording with two tuners available. And then there's that annoying on-screen pop-up THAT WARNS YOU THERE'S ABOUT TO BE SOME RECORDING HAPPENING AND YOU'D BETTER DO SOMETHING, only it's not entirely clear what, and by the time you've cleared the prompt you've missed the crucial part of the watched programme. Even disabling the prompt in the menus doesn't seem to dissuade it.
6. DNLA - doesn't work for me. I've got half a dozen DNLA compliant devices in the house. NONE of them can play content from the Pana. Oh they'll find the shared folders - no problem. Just can't see any content.

In summary, it does most things reasonably well, but much more thought needs to go into the design of both the hardware and the software, and it could do with a better processor to up the response times.
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on 26 June 2013
Well first of all let me say that I have owned this Panasonic unit for 6 months and therefore have given it and Panasonic every chance to redeem themselves.


1. This unit will not record anything on Freeview if you are using the internet capability for anything at all including streaming movies from Netflix. So you can not watch Netflix while recording anything at all. If you do you get a warning that a recording is about to start and it kicks you off the internet part way through your movie. Panasonic have confirmed in writing to me today that this unit can not record and do internet at the same time. MAJOR ISSUE I THINK.
2. This unit is not compatible with BBC iplayer or any other iplayer like ITV and so on. It has the BBC Iplayer on the internet interface but when you try to use it you get a message saying it is not compatible with the device. Panasonic tell me that there are "issues with some models that their tech people are working on". Six months after purchase, still no resolved it and still does not work. ANOTHER MAJOR ISSUE.
3. The response to the remote control is soooooooo slow! Often you think you may not have pressed the button and end up pressing it again which just confuses the thing.
4. The program schedule software is awful and the unit has problems with conflicting recordings which is unable to resolve. Panasonic need to take a look at the Humax software as it puts theirs to shame. They have pointed me in the direction of the software update. it has been done and nothing has changed.
5. The type of picture files and more importantly video files it will play from any USB device or through network is extremely limited rendering most of what I have unusable and if you plug a drive in with a number of files on it the machine takes up to 10 minutes to sort them and then tell you it can't play that format. So if you are using a USB device make sure you only have one or two files on it otherwise you are in for a long wait.

Yes it plays DVDs etc and as long as you don't want the internet it records from Freeview but this unit is far far short of what I expect from Panasonic in terms of operation, software and internet usage. They have not been able to resolve any of the issues I have raised with them and this has been sufficient to put me off Panasonic for the foreseeable future. Every manufacturer produces a "lemon" every so often. I am afraid that this is Panasonic's most recent. Mine is going in the bin and has been replaced with a Humax which functions perfectly and speedily as my old one did.
Panasonic also state that their unit needs a minimum 6mb connection to the internet. Ours is 32mb and still it takes for ever to load and run the Netflix Software. My Samsung mobile phone has the app and chosen film loaded and playing before this unit has the Netflix software running.
Shame on you Panasonic.

I have previously worked in the electrical retail trade and so know something about such products. I would not buy this product or any similar to it until Panasonic sort out the problems.

I hate writing negative feedback on products as it can be devastation for the company but people need to know what they are paying good money for. I think perhaps Panasonic have tried to produce something that does everything and in the process have had an epic failure.

Sorry Panasonic but the truth sometimes hurts!
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on 23 July 2012
The "Easy Setup" function is well named - I had my new DMR-PWT520 unit up and running, stations tuned, and the network configured in under 10 minutes. The HDD recorder works very straightforwardly and is easy to change channel, schedule recordings and playback stored programmes. The Bluray player also seems to be as expected. The picture quality is superb and these functions are actually quite impressive.
The remote controls the TV as well but a star goes because for some unaccountable and inexcusable reason, it does not have a mute key.
But the reason I bought this model was because of the networking functions. I want to be able to show slideshows on the TV of photos kept on various laptops and a home server, so I was interested in the DLNA client function. It turns out that this function works but is essentially unusable because of a dreadful user interface. Using the remote, you can select the desired photos on the PC by folder, date, or tag but quite understandably this takes quite a long time while it indexes the thousands of pictures. The first problem is that there is no feedback that the button press is doing anything (hourglass, on screen busy display etc), so you have to be very disciplined about not doing multiple key presses and getting horribly confused. The second problem is that once you have finally successfully selected your photos and started the slideshow, you get the keypress feedback when you don't want it. A box appears between each photo saying "Reading ...". I cannot believe Panasonic did full usability testing.
However the reason I am keeping the unit is that if you enable the digital media rendering function, windows media player running on a windows 7 PC can send its output to the DMR-PWT520 and I can straightforwardly get the slideshows I want.
So a mixed bag, but with a workaround it does most things I need. I just hope the volume key survives the strain.
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