Panasonic is still the only AV manufacturer to launch Blu-ray recorders in the UK, making it the go-to brand for people who want to record hi-def Freeview programmes and back them up on high-capacity Blu-ray platters. We’ve already checked out this year’s flagship model, the DMR-BWT800, which boasts a 500GB hard disk, and were hugely impressed by its range of features and overall performance. The DMR-BWT700 is also 3D-capable and sports twin Freeview HD tuners, but comes with a smaller HDD (320GB) and a few other differences. Let’s find out if it can still emulate the success of its sibling.
On the outside the DMR-BWT700 is a great-looking machine. It’s built into a satisfyingly sturdy case, while the flap covering the entire front panel makes it sleek and uncluttered, and it’s glammed up further by a graduated silver strip at the bottom. Under the flap you’ll find a USB port, SD/SDXC/SDHC card slot and play/stop buttons. The display panel is easy to read and there are lights that indicate which tuners are being recorded.
The rear panel is adorned with a useful array of sockets, but it lacks the second HDMI output found on the BWT800. That’s potentially bad news for owners of AV receivers that can’t handle 3D signals via HDMI, as you can’t pipe 3D pictures and HD audio separately – you’ll have to settle for regular Dolby Digital or DTS from the coaxial digital audio output. Joining the single HDMI are an Ethernet port, RF in/out, composite, optical digital audio and analogue stereo outputs, plus two Scarts for recording from external devices – essential when backing up VHS tapes on disc.