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Panasonic DMR-EX78 DVD/HDD Recorder review




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Panasonic DMR-EX78 DVD/HDD Recorder
  • Panasonic DMR-EX78 DVD/HDD Recorder
  • Panasonic DMR-EX78 DVD/HDD Recorder
  • Panasonic DMR-EX78 DVD/HDD Recorder
  • Panasonic DMR-EX78 DVD/HDD Recorder
  • Panasonic DMR-EX78 DVD/HDD Recorder
  • DM-REX78EB-K DVD Recorder w/ Freeview Tuner (DVR, 250GB Hard Drive, HDMI)


Our Score:


Panasonic has been making the best digital recorders in the business for several years, and looks set to continue its fine track record with a brand new range of DVD/HDD combis. Among these new recorders is the DMR-EX78, which is equipped with a 250GB hard-disk drive and the ability to record onto every recordable DVD format going. It's joined in the DVD/HDD line-up by the 400GB DMR-EX88 (which costs around £100 more) and the 160GB DMR-EX768, plus there's a VHS-equipped model (the DMR-EX98V).

The latest range offers more features than ever before, but most significantly the DMR-EX78 is one of the first Freeview Playback compatible DVD/HDD combis. Until now this has been only found on hard-disk only PVRs, so it's pleasing to finally see it appearing on other types of digital recorder - and a few other companies are following suit. Basically, the badge guarantees that a product offers a complete range of Freeview recording features, including series and split recording plus onscreen alerts that suggest an alternative broadcast time if there's a schedule clash.

But the DMR-EX78 is so much more than a digital TV recorder. Its ability to store music on the hard-disk turns it into a virtual jukebox, and you can even rip CDs internally in LPCM at 384kbps. The on-board Gracenote database retrieves information about the loaded CD from a list of around 350,000 albums and displays the artist, title and album information automatically. The database can be updated to include the very latest albums by downloading data from the Panasonic website and transferring it via the USB port, which can also be used to transfer MP3s and JPEG photo files onto the hard-disk and vice versa. You can also play DivX files from a USB device or disc (including VOD), but you can't transfer them to the hard-disk.

The hard-disk can hold up to 441 hours of TV programmes from the built-in digital tuner, but the amount of available time reduces in the higher quality recording modes. There are four recording presets - XP gets you the best picture quality, offering a maximum of 55 hours on the hard-disk or nearly two-hours on a double-layer DVD-R or DVD+R disc. The other modes are SP (110 hours HDD, 3 hours 35 mins on DVD), LP (221 hours HDD, 7 hours on DVD) and EP (441 hours HDD, over 14 hours on DVD). Additionally, there's a Flexible Recording mode that fits a recording exactly into the remaining space on a disc. The unit can record directly onto DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-R and DVD+R discs, plus you can copy hard-disk recordings onto dual-layer DVD+R and DVD-R discs.


August 28, 2008, 9:00 pm

Can't transfer from the internal HDD to USB drive, that's quite a shame given that the USB protocol is bi-directional, and therefore it must really be easy to implement.

Iain Marshall

October 14, 2008, 5:40 pm

Love it, however when i turn on my television, a 37PX80, the recorder seems to do an "internal startup" (it does not turn on) and makes an annoying hum. Anybody else found this? If I turn on power save it does not "hum" but you lose the clock. Did you find this on your test?


March 14, 2009, 8:46 pm

A fine picture - even on a good CRT via scart (its much better over better connections), but of course can't comment on hdmi with upscaling (will soon when I get that HDTV). All the required features are present, HHD to DVD etc. But the best for me is the series link with Freeview - now Dr. Who is all queued up automatically - this is truely the killer feature. Alas, there is one agrevating downer - the startup time from cold is very slooooooooow. 20+ seconds doesn't sound too long, but in real life, its an eternity - I am tending to leave it on if I think I will need it later - there goes planet earth. I assume that they are booting the OS from the HDD instead of ROM - cheapskates. Would I recomend? - yes I think I would.


July 28, 2009, 12:04 am

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t buy this awful machine. It’s the worst piece of hardware I’ve ever owned. It doesn’t read anything but commercial DVD’s. If you make your own, or back any up, it won’t read them. The remote is just terrible (buttons which cancel everything you’ve just entered are right next to “OK” buttons etc) and the menus are user-hostile at best; the Freeview guide is full of irritating adverts; many IMPORTANT functions are only available on the machine, ie not on the remote!!! Back to the 80’s or what… And it’s far from cheap…

Bob Manning

June 24, 2010, 2:24 pm

Not a comment, more a question. I am interested in putting my recordings from my Sky+ box onto DVD. Would I also be able to transfer any recordings from the Sky+ hard drive to the Panasonic hardrive for later disc transfer?

Thanks, Bob


January 11, 2011, 7:34 am

It may be the one (and mostlikely only) one f these models that actually works was given to Danny Murphy to review but the remainder inferior units were then offloaded to the public. DO NOT bother with this machine. It selects when it will work; it DOES NOT copy from HD to disc and even freezes if you try. It cant even pick up signals for some of the HD channels....in particlular ONEHD and Channel 12 (which ONE HD). It even chooses when to allow you to record from any particular channel..if it feels like it. AND dont expect Panasonic to help you...they have a number but all you will get is a person on the other end telling you to find a repairer to fix it....easily another $80 of worthless info that lets you know that its a Panasonic and they have no idea how to fix it. Pay the extra and get a reliable brand for these recorders....Sony at least you will know that they will help over the phone and without charging for it


June 21, 2013, 3:25 pm

please who can resolve this problem - my dvd player can play some of the .avi files, but not all of them, i dont know why, can somebody help me how to fix this? thank you very much


March 18, 2014, 8:28 am

Can anyone help my DVD recorder DMR EX78 has been working fine until last week then the TV guide is all the place mostly 1 hour out I have checked and the date and time are correct what else can I do

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