It’s a Freeview PVR with built-in Blu-ray recording and playback, boasting a 1TB hard disk and twin DVB-T2 tuners. As the only Blu-ray recorder on the market, it’s the go-to machine for video archivists who want to make copies of hi-def TV shows (copy-protection permitting) and home movies to share with friends and family. Because it’s a Blu-ray drive you can cram hours’ worth of footage onto a disc, or you can copy onto lower-capacity DVD if you prefer.
It also offers a range of smart TV content through Panasonic’s Viera Connect portal and media playback from USB, SD card and DLNA. It’s a multi-talented machine with a plethora of features, but as we discovered with Panasonic’s DMR-BWT735 PVR/Blu-ray player it takes more than a good spec to make a must-buy product. Let’s find out how it fares…
First up the DMR-BWT735 is a great-looking machine. It’s dressed in an elegant silver finish, with a black drop-down front panel spruced up with a mirrored strip. It’s built into a slim, robust aluminium casing, a far cry from the chunky disc recorders of old.
Behind the front flap is a large LED display (which shines through the semi-transparent plastic when closed), an SD card slot and a USB port – both of which are included for playback of music, video and photo files. Front panel controls include play and stop on the front, with power and open/close along the top.
On the back is a generous array of sockets. For starters there’s a Scart input, which allows you to hook up other AV gear – old VCRs for example – and record them onto Blu-ray or DVD. That’s a crucial feature given that many people will want to back up treasured VHS tapes for prosperity.
Bringing things right up to date we find an HDMI output and Ethernet port, the latter providing an alternative to the deck’s built in Wi-Fi. There are three audio outputs to choose from – optical, coaxial and analogue stereo – and a second USB port should you wish to expand recording capacity by connecting an external hard-disk drive.