Home / TVs & Audio / DVRs and Media players / Panasonic DMR-BWT720

Panasonic DMR-BWT720 review

By

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

1 of 7

Panasonic DMR-BWT720
  • Panasonic DMR-BWT720
  • Panasonic DMR-BWT720
  • Panasonic DMR-BWT720
  • Panasonic DMR-BWT720
  • Panasonic DMR-BWT720
  • Panasonic DMR-BWT720
  • Panasonic DMR-BWT720

Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Extensive feature list
  • Brilliant picture performance
  • Much improved EPG
  • Superb iPad app

Cons

  • Won’t play MKV over a network
  • Some menus a bit drab
  • Can’t watch in HD on mobile device
  • Viera Connect lacks slickness and content of rival portals

Key Features

  • 1TB hard-disk drive
  • Twin Freeview tuners
  • Blu-ray/DVD recording
  • 3D Blu-ray playback
  • External HDD copying
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • DLNA support
  • Viera Connect
  • Manufacturer: Panasonic
  • Review Price: £549.99

If you like the idea of a PVR that also lets you archive hours’ worth of TV shows or home movies on high-capacity Blu-ray discs, then you’ll find yourself in seventh heaven with the Panasonic DMR-BWT720. As the company’s latest flagship Blu-ray/HDD recorder, it’s a versatile machine packed with all the tools you need to record, edit and back up treasured TV shows or camcorder footage in pristine hi-def quality.

Panasonic DMR-BWT720

But it’s much more than just a recorder – like most of Panasonic’s current Blu-ray crop, the DMR-BWT720 is also a versatile entertainment hub, capable of playing 3D Blu-ray discs, web content and media from USB sticks, HDDs, SD cards and networked devices (thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi and DLNA certification).

But first let’s cover the basics – the Panasonic DMR-BWT720 comes equipped with dual Freeview HD tuners and a massive 1TB hard-disk drive, which offers up to 259 hours of hi-def recordings at the best-possible quality, or 684 hours of HD if you convert into one of the more space-efficient modes.

It also has an optical drive that can record and playback BD-R/RE, DVD-RAM, DVD-R (DL)/-RW and DVD R/ RW discs. The amount of material you can squeeze onto a disc depends on its capacity and the recording mode you’re using, but with a dual layer Blu-ray in the tray you can store 13 hours of HD or 26 hours of SD in its original quality. You can’t record directly onto a disc – everything is captured onto the hard-disk in its original quality in ‘DR’ mode, then you can convert it to free up space on the HDD while the unit it in standby.

Design

Looks-wise, the DMR-BWT720 is classic Panasonic – tasteful but not dazzling. The black finish is brought to life by a band of silver that flashes across the front flap, which conceals the disc tray, play and stop buttons, a USB port and an SD card slot. You’ll also see a large LED display that shows the channel and which tuners are recording.

Connections

On the rear panel you’ll find a comprehensive selection of sockets, including Scart input and output, which is a blast from the past. The input allows you to record from external devices like Sky boxes or VCRs, perfect for making shiny new discs of your old tapes.

Panasonic DMR-BWT720

Bringing it back to the 21st century, we find an HDMI output – v1.4 for 3D pictures, naturally – joined by two digital audio outputs (one optical, one coaxial), analogue stereo and composite video outputs. Ethernet provides another way of accessing the unit’s network and internet functionality, while a second USB makes it easy to connect an external USB, flash drive or communication camera (an optional extra for the built-in Skype video calling feature).

Mike B

June 25, 2012, 7:36 pm

This is one of the best units on the market at this time but it could be made great if only Panasonic had an App so you could set timers without having to turn the unit on, turn the TV on, switch to the Recorder and use the EPG. If anyone else is using the TV it makes setting timers very difficult.

A nice iPad App with a full EPG to allow the timers to be set wold be great, even better if you could access the Panasonic while your out and about to set the timer!

scoobiesnacks

June 26, 2012, 1:48 am

Is this really only Freeview HD and not Freesat HD/. Problem is freeview HD is generally a poorer bitrate and picture quality than Freeview HD. I have both Freeview and Freesat, and the quality difference is noticeable.

peanutfrenzy

June 26, 2012, 3:56 am

@scoobiesnacks: The last I heard Panasonic were dropping Freesat from their recorder line-up. Unless they have a change of heart I don't think there will be a Freesat version forthcoming.

In case anyone was thinking of connecting an external source via the Scart input, I should point out that it is Composite/S-Video only. Not likely to affect many buyers, I'm sure, but some might be disappointed with the lack of an RGB input.

variosonnar

August 16, 2012, 1:20 pm

The Panasonic Blu-Ray recorder is an absolute most. It surprised me that in a comprehensive test/review nothing is mentioned of the ability to record closed captions(subtitles) in DR mode on the hard disc. You can then record/edit to a blu-ray disc with closed captions.

Makes it really easy to follow programs when your hearing is less, or when more than one person is speaking at the same time, or for instance, when the language spoken is not your first language. In music programs it often gives you the lyrics, which makes it really easy to sing-along. Sort of Karaoke.

What's really good about it, is you can, at any time after recording still choose to switch the subtitles on or off. A handy feature when a program has life-subtitling, where subs are a bit later then the spoken word. Or with sport programs where you don't really need them. Or, of course, when there's only people watching who don't need them.

LesB

October 18, 2012, 2:17 pm

Does anyone know if this recorder will play and/or transfer 1080p50 (not just 1080i50 or 1080p25) AVCHD video produced by the latest camcorders?

Guest

March 2, 2013, 9:12 am

You can actually buy FreeSat and cable verions of this box in Europe - they are freely available from the German market (just order one from amazon.de and ask for UK shipping.)

FreeSat:
http://www.amazon.de/Panasonic...

Cable:
http://www.amazon.de/Panasonic...

The cable (DVB-C) version makes more sense for European/Swiss flats, because they are usually outfitted with cable when they are constructed - so everything is already installed. This does not make so much sense in the UK, where you typically get a set-top box whenever you subscribe to Virgin, et cetera.

Billy Brown

May 10, 2013, 9:20 am

Why is it that panasonic has bbc iPlayer in it net memu, also a nice pic of iPlayer on the box.

But bbc iPlayer don't work, they have know about since 2012, A well hidden downer
I have a #20 box that does iPlayer..

Responce I got from panasonic is...
___________________________
Thank you for your e-mail.
In response, please know that we are aware of this situation, and we are
currently investigating for a solution.

Thank you for your patience.
I trust that the above information will be of assistance to you. However, of
course, if you should have any further queries, please do not hesitate to
contact us.

Kind Regards,

Dorina

Customer Service Team
Panasonic UK

blueray

July 9, 2013, 2:21 pm

Machine seems to work well in most respects however I have a couple of gripes. There seems to be no commitment to add the other On Demand channels to the Panasonics response is below,

,
"please note that Viera Castand Viera Connect services are subject to change
without notice, and that no assurance or time scale is given by Panasonic as to
whether an application or feature will become or remain available.

We are looking into the possibility of adding services such as ITV player, 4oD
and Demand 5, but cannot make any guarantee as to whether it will be possible
to make these services available."

Also having created a BD-RE disc with 10 plus titles on it for my PC, I have discovered that the Format of the Disc Menu is Panasonic proprietary so although the disc will play the only way to get to a particular title is to fast forward or drag the play-bar marker. Very frustrating??

Pat

November 2, 2013, 10:31 pm

question on this unit not really sure what I'm doing wrong - i have a 6 part show recorded i want to put on DVD-R but i have copied it twice so far and each time only the picture has copied onto the disc ,no sound whatever ?????

Robin

December 2, 2013, 7:28 pm

I don't record onto a DVD-r disc first, I always use either a Bluray, RAM or DVD-RW because any problems and you haven't wasted a disc (DVD-R and +R are write once only.) Try using one of the above discs and see if you still have the problem - if so then there is a problem with the internal audio link. You could also try connecting another DVD recorder up to yours via HDMI lead, analogue leads or scart and seeing if that transfers the sound + picture.

Martin

December 12, 2013, 4:50 pm

Have owned this unit for just under a year. It developed a fault on playback rendering it not fit for purpose. Panasonics' authorised repairers can't find any error codes and can only change components and 'hope for the best' repair time estimated at 25 days by their authorised repair company. Not very helpful expected better from Panasonic

Puck Fair

June 27, 2014, 11:05 am

Also has Skype - However cannot use Skype (Not even audio only) without purchasing a Special Panasonic Camera that is the only one compatible with this unit and the camera is very expensive - nice one Panasonic
Also forget about region free - has to be chipped - So I'm Staying well clear of Panasonic Products
Talk about shooting yourself in the foot

comments powered by Disqus