Panasonic DMR-BWT735 review

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic DMR-BWT735

Summary

Our Score:

9

Panasonic DMR-BWT735 – Performance

The Panasonic DMR-BWT735’s picture quality is superb across the board. Live Freeview HD pictures are crisply rendered and rich in colour, while standard-definition channels are thoroughly watchable despite their softer detail.

Broadcasts from Wimbledon on BBC One HD look bright, punchy and stable, even as players zip around the court at high speed in front of a sea of faces, the features of which are easily discernable. Skin tones are nicely judged too.

Panasonic DMR-BWT735

Even better news is that hard-disk recordings retain this superb picture quality thanks to the high-bitrate DR mode. More remarkable is the quality of recordings converted into the lower-bitrate HD modes – the difference is almost imperceptible aside from a little feathery pixel noise here and there, which means you get the extra capacity without compromising greatly on picture quality.

There’s absolutely no drop in quality when hi-def recordings are copied to Blu-ray either, although XP, SP, LP and EP modes do reveal a major dip, particularly the super-fuzzy EP, but that’s only to be expected.

Blu-ray pictures are also dazzling, whether you’re watching in 2D or 3D. There’s a snap and vibrancy about Panasonic’s pictures that some rivals struggle to match with their standalone players, let alone their recorders. And after viewing a range of lower-quality sources – DVD, web video, DLNA-streamed AVCHD – the DMR-BW735’s scrubs everything up nicely.

Panasonic DMR-BWT735

Next we tried out the multiroom streaming feature on an iPad. The app is easy to use and looks great, allowing you to swipe through lists of recordings and TV channels quickly. Streaming to a device takes up one of the tuners, which means you’re locked into one channel on the main TV. It was a bit stubborn at times, giving us messages like ‘communication error’ and ‘this title cannot be viewed properly’, but when it works it’s impressive.

The Remote Recording feature requires registration, but once activated it’s straightforward. Programmes on your selected channel are presented in a simple list. Tap one and you can choose the recording frequency (once, weekly, weekdays etc) then tap ‘recording’ to set it.

We checked the Timer menu and the remote recordings were scheduled as requested. This menu makes it easy to manage future recordings, letting you resolve conflicts and change the recording mode.

Panasonic DMR-BWT735

Should I buy the Panasonic DMR-BWT735?

With a vast amount of recording, editing and copying features on board, coupled with decent Smart functionality and excellent picture quality, the Panasonic DMR-BWT735 is an undeniably impressive machine.

There’s very little it can’t do, making it an ideal machine for AV enthusiasts who not only want to watch Freeview and Blu-ray movies but also copy programmes and camcorder footage onto Blu-ray or DVD. Internet content, nifty network features and decent media format support are the icing on the cake, and it’s easy to use too.

However, it’s not perfect. Little niggles and limitations mean it’s not as slick and versatile as some PVRs, while Viera Connect is in desperate need of better content and a makeover. We also found iPad streaming inconsistent.

The bottom line, though, is that the Panasonic DMR-BWT735 is the only Blu-ray recorder on the market, so if that’s what you’re after this is pretty much your only option. Thankfully, it’s a very impressive option.

Verdict

An impressive array of recording and archiving features and superb performance from any source make the Panasonic DMR-BWT735 an excellent buy, if Blu-ray recording is a must – although there are better PVRs on the market

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 10
  • Value 8

RobertD

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.

ccmanmgcs

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?

eccenemo

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

Dave

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.

Patrick

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.

Patrick

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.

Louis

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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