Panasonic DMR-EX88 DVD/HDD Recorder - Panasonic DMR-EX88 DVD/HDD Recorder

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Editors choice
Panasonic DMR-EX88 DVD/HDD Recorder

Summary

Our Score:

10

A comprehensive range of connections awaits on the rear, including an HDMI 1.3 port, component, S-video, composite and optical digital audio outputs. Two SCART sockets are supplied, one of which pipes RGB, S-video and composite signals to your TV while the other allows you to input the same video types from external sources. Unlike the latest Philips combis, the EX88 doesn't offer set-top box control using an infrared transmitter, but it does feature a slave mode that starts recording when it detects an incoming signal - you need to programme the timer on your set-top box, if it has one.

There are many other features to talk about, but one of the highlights is internal audio ripping, which allows you to slip a CD into the tray and transfer tracks to the hard-disk in LPCM at 384kbps. The best part is that you don't have to laboriously key in the artist, title and album names - it's all done automatically by the built-in Gracenote database (which can be updated via USB to include the very latest song information).

The onboard digital tuner isn't accompanied by an analogue one, so this is no good for those living in patchy reception areas. The unit's digital functionality is excellent, throwing in the full range of Freeview Playback features, including series/split recording and Guide Link, which keeps track of schedule changes to make sure you don't miss anything. There's also a 7-day Guide Plus EPG, digital text and subtitles, plus some extremely useful on-screen displays giving details about the current programme and what's up next.

Other features include HDMI upscaling to 1080p, 1080i and 720p, Viera Link (which lets you control certain aspects of the recorder using a compatible Panasonic TV remote), Deep Colour support and a range of editing tricks that let you chop and trim your recordings to perfection, as well as rearrange scenes into a new sequence. Once you've finished editing, you can copy recordings or playlists to DVD at high speed (75x copying is possible, but it all depends on the disc speed and the original recording mode).

The EX88 is exceptionally easy to use, thanks largely to the remote's spot-on button layout. Friendly menus with large text and a tasteful colour palette make every function simple to find, likewise the Direct Navigator (where your recordings are stored) uses moving thumbnails to great effect. Even the EPG is a work of genius, using a clear programme ‘grid' that allows for hassle-free schedule surfing. Superb.

Nicecuppatea

August 3, 2008, 2:15 am

Question: Planning on buying Panasonic plasma and HDD/DVD - do I need to keep screen on constant standby in order to record?

Nick@Redhill

October 26, 2008, 12:34 pm

Can you please clarify whether the EX88 will record Freesat images obtained from the tuner in a Panasonic TH-46PZ81B at the higher Freesat HD resolution (obviously the programme being recorded will need to be broadcast in HD). The recorder connects to the plasma TV via SCART and Viera link and will record direct from the TV's freesat tuner.

Kevin OLeary

February 17, 2009, 4:15 pm

I own a Panasonic DMR-EH50 DVD recorder. On the basis of this, which was fairly good, I purchased a DMR-EX88 recorder. I found out (after the fact) that I cannot save titles (which I regularly record) to a playlist. I have to therefore laboriously type in the name of the program every time I record it. I contacted Panasonic and their answer was "This feature is not available on this model" Why not?


It is an "okay" recorder, but I would think twice before you but it.

rpage

March 8, 2009, 1:31 pm

Panasonic can issue software updates and have done so for their LCDs... Strange that they cannot issue an update for this device... Seems like someone simply forgot to carry over that bit of code from the previous model to the new models.





I recently bought a Panasonic LCD and Cinema system thinking that Viera link would mean I could work the two devices with one controller! How naive was that of me! It is not much better than my old Sony set up which was user vicious needing separate controllers to work the system. Switch on the TV on one controller and use the other to make any changes on the cinema system / dvd player. Pain in the neck. Wouldn't be awesome if they invested in offering a touch screen universal device for the entire system? Doing that they would certainly get one up on their competitors.

Dewi Lewis

September 5, 2009, 3:32 am

1. The DMR EX88 cannot fast dub/copy a DVD to HDD, one has to watch the video and any fast forward or other actions will not be recorded.





2. It cannot play unfinalised camcorder or other DVD's.





3. It cannot unfinalise a DVD+-R so video cannot be added. Have to format & start again.





4. Auto finalises DVD at end of copy from HDD.





5. Not all digital terrestrial channels picked up..very fussy or what.





Why are none of these cons are mentioned in the review. This recorder is not a patch on my Sony RDR-HXD910 which is easy to use and does all of the above.





The Panasonic does not deserve to be in the sam class as the Sony.

Kevin Allen

January 5, 2010, 8:56 pm

It might make a fine DVD player but only if you want to play Region 2 discs.





I did see another site claiming this was a multi-region player. It isn't.

dl

December 18, 2010, 3:39 am

Poor value for money. This is not a user friendly device.





No mpeg2, mp4, avi files.





{1} As usual, Panasonic formats do not match other popular formats. For example, you will not be able to copy a video file to the USB (from any standard market device: nokia, casio etc) and watch it. If you wanted to do so you would have to file convert into the Viera format... so no mpeg2, AVI, and mp4 files !!!





{2} The menu system is slow and cumbersome (although this appears to be industry standard).





{3} Adverts take up 30% of screen in the channels view.





{4} Viera link works, but with reduced features. If the user requires anything more than play & stop, they will need the second controller which is dissapointing.





Unless you are getting a significant discount, don't buy it...

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