Panasonic DMR-BWT735 review - Operation

By Danny Phillips



  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic DMR-BWT735


Our Score:


Panasonic proclaims this year’s recorders to be its fastest ever in terms of tray opening and accessing the EPG or Direct Navigator menus, and as promised it carries out these tasks in double-quick time.

It’s still sluggish in other areas though, particularly when pausing live TV where the screen goes black for a few seconds while the HDD kicks in, and to return to live TV you have to select ‘OK’ in a dialogue box. And sometimes it wouldn’t work at all for reasons we can’t quite explain. We prefer the immediacy of Sky’s HD box.

Panasonic DMR-BWT735

That aside, the Panasonic DMR-BWT735 is very user-friendly. The simplicity and clarity of the onscreen menus will reassure the uninitiated. The look might be a little basic for those raised on the flashy graphics of iPads and iPhones, but it gets the job done.

The EPG is terrific, using a large eight-channel programme grid while leaving room for live TV in the corner. The attractive colour scheme, crisp graphics and intelligent use of shortcuts make it a joy to use. You can filter channels by category or create lists of favourites.

One minor annoyance is that when you highlight a programme and press OK, a submenu asks if you want to view or record it, which feels unnecessary because you already have that option in the EPG (the red button).

Panasonic DMR-BWT735

The information banner only lets you view ‘now and next’ information, not the entire schedule. But it’s nicely designed and provides all the crucial details about each programme.

The well-designed Direct Navigator menu lets you switch between different types of media – TV recordings, AVCHD, music and photos. For TV, it displays recordings with a moving thumbnail and thorough details about the programme.

Panasonic DMR-BWT735Panasonic DMR-BWT735

For HD recordings, you’ll see an icon signifying how many times you can copy it onto disc in HD – in most cases you can copy it once, or as many times as you like in SD. A little flag symbol tells you that the title hasn’t been viewed yet, while another denotes when a recording can’t be streamed over DLNA.

When recording anything onto the hard disk, the Panasonic DMR-BWT735 uses the highest quality DR (Direct Recording) mode (8Mbps). Then within the Direct Navigator menu you can convert the title into one of five lower-bitrate HD modes – HG, HX, HE, HL and HM (in descending order of picture quality) – or one of four SD modes, XP, SP, LP and EP (ditto).

The same modes are available when copying a recording onto Blu-ray or DVD, the idea being that you can squeeze more onto a disc by downgrading the picture quality. Hard-disk file conversion takes place when the deck is next placed in standby, so it doesn’t interfere with operation.

Panasonic DMR-BWT735

Also found in the Direct Navigator menu is a range of editing features, including Partial Delete (which lets you chop out unwanted parts of a recording) and Split. Copying onto Blu-ray discs is quick and easy thanks to informative onscreen menus, and provided you don’t want to convert into a different recording mode you can copy content at high-speed.

Panasonic DMR-BWT735

Elsewhere the Function menu is clear and simple, if a little dull, allowing you to access any function and select which drive you want to browse. Live TV plays in a small screen while you navigate. The setup menu is similarly clear and comprehensive.

Panasonic supplies one of its classic rubber-buttoned remotes, sporting a helpful layout, good use of colour and an intuitive direction pad in the middle. It’s a tad cluttered towards the bottom and the channel change keys could be more prominent, but on the whole it’s a success.


October 15, 2013, 4:26 pm

I have ben looking for a PVR/DVD recorder to connect to my Panasonic Viera Smart TV as the TV has limited internet apps, i.e. no Channel 4 or 5 on demand services. Panasonic say that they "strive to make improvements" but they appear to have done little to provide the updates and are not able to say if and when they ever will! It would seem that this recorder is no better in this department. Some other manufacturers are more up to date and do provide 4OD and 5OD.


November 19, 2013, 12:35 pm

Good review, but can it play back at 1.3 x normal speed?
This is an exceptionally useful feature of our existing Panny DVD recorders (when using RAM disks), but no one mentions it in current reviews of HDD/BluRay models. Pan. tells me that it is possible, but I have seen no evidence of this.
And even Richer Sounds was flummoxed by the question, so shops like Curry's & J Lewis have little chance of knowing!
Can anyone clarify, pls?


December 4, 2013, 11:03 pm

I would say so - look at the remote control 'Play' button on the picture above - it has a '1.3' notation on it, just like on my own DMR-BWT700. Just hold the 'play' button down for 2-3 seconds and it flips into 1.3x speed. Press 'play' again to return to normal play speed


January 11, 2014, 8:22 pm

I would explain that with this model and Timer Recording, the unit records a
programme directly from the broadcaster (hence the DR recording mode), which it
then has to downgrade to the desired recording mode in my case LP
Therefore, it is normal that the unit records in DR and then converts it to LP. So this means that if you record for one hour and want it in long play the recorder will convert what you have recorded when in standby mode which will take about another hour. IT WILL NOT record in LP mode in the first instance. To me this is very wasteful of time and energy not to mention the wear and tear. the reason I like to record in LP is that I can get two films on a 4.7 DVD.


January 14, 2014, 7:04 pm

I was thinking about buying one of these but then I found out it could not record HD content from a Sky+ HD box in high definition, just in SD through the scart connection between the recorder and my Sky+ HD box.


January 15, 2014, 7:06 pm

My problem is it can only record high definition programmes from tuners whereas I would like one that could record high definition programmes directly from from a Sky+ HD box which is what I have.

It only has a scart connection for connecting a Sky HD+ satellite box to meaning even if I store HD content to my Sky box I can only copy it to the Panasonic recorder in SD mode.

Nic Adair

April 20, 2014, 6:59 pm

Why buy a HD recording unit then record LP onto a DVD.
A 25GB bluray disc costs under £1 (TDK 25 = £22) why don't you keep the recordings in DR mode and burn directly to bluray.
Burning in LP is illogical.
Like buying an Aston Martin and putting a cheap set of Chinese tyres on it.
Have a nice day.

Nic Adair

April 20, 2014, 7:02 pm

Sky don't want you to do this, it's not a limitation of the Panasonic unit.


July 24, 2014, 12:38 pm

Anyone who knows if I buy this model with 2 x DVB-T2 tuners in Germany, if it will work with the danish T2, or if there are different types of T2 in the two countries?
(I've heard that the UK model won't work in DK) :)

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