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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 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 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 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 22 September 2013
Purchased December 30th.2012. 1st. surprise, unit arrived in manufacturers box with no additional protection. Probably o.k. if carrying away from a store but not sufficient for parcels delivery.All connections to Sony t.v. made, with no intention of connecting to any form of i.t.system.Problem the first:- would not tune any HD channels. After several attempts managed to find just about everything. This device provided very good recordings and picture display except for the fact that it would frequently pixellate the screen display and lose channels. The Sony t.v. which is connected to the same aerial has experienced no such problems since installed over two years ago.

Problem the second, the unit randomly chose not to record those programmes requested on the timer programme, which was a source of great frustration.
After attempting the troubleshooting recommendations within the manual and undertaking a full re-set as advised by Panasonic customer services, I was advised by them to contact one of their local repair agents. They efficiently collected and quote"carried out firmware update to the latest version of 1.14 from 1.04." Unit was returned over one week later and installed by them. Shock Horror, the unit would not tune, and pixellated. After several attempts, the unit worked!!This work was carried out in June this year and subsequently has lost channels,failed to record and pixellated severely.
So, once again I shall contact Panasonic and no doubt be advised that it will have to be taken away for further repairs.As my t.v has had no problems whatsoever, except when driven by the HDD recorder, I can only assume that the HD tuner is not working correctly or is the subject of poor quality control.
In summary, currently I can obtain HD channels 101-104. No channel 5, no Film 4, no terrestrial channels (I live 5 miles from the transmitter)but I can obtain film4 plus1 and can count the pixel breakup at the same time.
When it works, it is magnificent, I would just like it to work with some degree of consistency!!
As a matter of interest, the two other t.v. sets in the house, working from the same aerial have given no problems at all and my previous Sony HDD recorder/player gave no problems, it simply faded away.

Latest development, the LCD screen on the recorder is now scrolling"Please Wait,Please Wait, Please Wait".
Once again, all channels have been lost so back to the repair shop where the device would re-tune perfectly in one part of the building, but not in another part. After several days I collected and re-installed myself having been advised NOT to undertake a re-tune. Guess what?? I lost channels. This time I have replaced all cables attendant and adjacent to the machine and after re-tuning have discovered that the cables prefer to be as far apart from each other as possible. If the input cable or the aerial co-axial cable run at right angles or across each other there appears to be substantial interference to the signal. In order to consolidate the situation I replaced the supplied Panasonic connecting cable and the high quality HDMI cable with very high quality (expensive) items and the device has now settled down with the exception that for 12 hours each day the LCD panel now displays the word GUIDE. I would not wish to purchase this device again.
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on 26 February 2013
This recorder has given a new lease of life to our Sony widescreen TV, even on the non-HD broadcasts. The picture is sharper and the stereo sound effect is enhanced. The handset takes a little getting used to but the basics are similar to our previous Sony HDD recorder. It's also a nice touch that you can configure the handset to provide basic control on a wide range of TVs. Using the twin tuners is simple (unlike on a previous recorder) and the recorder will tell you if a programme to be recorded is also available on HD.
Re-ordering the channels on the channel list is a bit tedious (the channel being moved simply swaps with the channel to be replaced rather than being inserted into the new location) but I suppose you can create a favourites list.
Networking the recorder via a BT wireless router was simple and I've connected it to my laptop to access pictures, videos and music files. It will also access internet services but I've not had chance to explore these in much detail yet.
Overall, we are extremely happy with this, even if it will not back-up recording directly to DVD.
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on 20 May 2013
I bought this unit to replace a DMR75 unit that I bought many years ago and was still working just fine but did not offer HD or internet access.

For me this was an expensive purchase but worth every penny and having spent a considerable time researhing the competiition I have to say that for my purposes this is an absolute gem of a solution.

Yes I read what people say abou menus being clunky and slow and navigation not being wholly intuitive, so what - the purpose of this equipment is to record and play back video, everything else is a bonus from my perspective. As to its primary task I defy anyone to question the sheer quality and depth of the recordings particulalryl when coupled to my 42" Panansonic Plasma TV.
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on 31 December 2012
The versatility of this Blu Ray DVD player cannot be overemphasised: picture quality, sound quality as good as I've seen - and that's quite a lot. Internet libraries of films etc. are ideal for when the TV channels are on to their umpteenth festive season repeats.

General setup couldn't be easier, but be prepared to (probably) have to introduce some kind of optical switching device to feed more than one input into your decoder: most of these are mechanical, only a few digital / remote control switches being available. This applies to any device, of course, inputting several optical sources into a single decoder / amplifier. It then gets a bit technical when trying to synergise the Optical audio output to the surround sound decoder / amplifier. The unit is factory default set to 96-bit output, and unless you've got a similarly new decoder system, the somewhat bizarre situation arises, in that some tracks play audio on a given Blu Ray DVD (e.g introductory music), but then the same DVD disc's film tracks are silent. After deciphering and resetting the PCM Down Conversion options, all is now well.

There was a delivery hiccup, in that the carrier had out-of-date information software, so no tracking available on Amazon's Order Information. When the item was finally tracked down via telephone calls to the vendor, we found the item had been sitting in a Post Office 6 miles away, for 9 days. Electrical Discount were exceptionally helpful in 'getting to the bottom' of this delivery quirk. Their personal support, calling daily to check matters were proceeding - was the best I've come across. I thoroughly recommend using Electrical Discount as supplier (and they may now consider revising their courier for a more modern one for future sales).
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This recorder works very well and holds ~130 hours TV. It has a very easy to use guide and menu system, and you can record from the guide at a single button press. It is silent in operation, aside from a very faint grunt when it powers on / powers up from stand-by to start recording. Paired with a TV with it's own HD tuner, you can record two programs and watch a third. Ours is paired with a Panasonic TX-L42E5B TV and they work very well together, sharing the same style of menu and guide. The only slight glitch is that if you are watching the TV when the box comes out of stand-by to record it does hi-jack control and the TV screen goes black, so you have to turn the TV off, then back on again.
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on 11 June 2013
I bought this product to replace one in dining room that had the dreaded fault that seems to strike all our old Panasonic DVD recorders! All right they are now a few years old so hopefully the technology has improved by now.

The first problem was that the TV which is about five or six years old now didn't have an HD lead connection, and the HDD recorder didn't have a scart connection so I had to go out and buy a new TV.

Then after I had recorded quite a few programmes I realised that it only had a DVD player! So I couldn't record a film to keep or a programme to play on the Panasonic HDD recorder WITH a DVD recorder in the living room. So the only alternative is to swop them over and record anything I want to keep on the Panasonic DVD RECORDER Then we can watch stuff recorded on the Hard Drives and just play DVD's which incidentally if I have recorded them on another Panasonic DVD recorder I have to finalise them before watching them on the player.

I suppose there is just too much choice from Panasonic, although an excellent product and I can get round the differences, but you have to read everything first carefully, especially the reviews before making a choice.
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