Panasonic’s DMR-BWT800 could well be the ultimate video recorder. Take a look at the evidence – on board is a 500GB hard-disk drive and an optical disc drive that can record onto dual-layer Blu-ray discs as well as DVDs. It’s equipped with twin Freeview HD tuners, bringing BBC One HD, BBC HD, Channel 4 HD and ITV1 HD to your TV, and it even has the ability to record 3D content if and when a 3D channel ever comes to Freeview. Add to that classic PVR features like pause/rewind live TV and series link, and you’ve got one of the most comprehensive recorders around.
But the BWT800 does so much more than simply record TV programmes. Also on board is a phenomenal range of other features that make it a complete home entertainment hub. It’s a fully-fledged 3D-ready Blu-ray player, equipped with all the nifty networking and 3D features found on the DMP-BDT310. A rich selection of multimedia files can be played from a variety of sources and you can even stream content from the internet or chat to people on Skype from the comfort of your armchair.
Aesthetically the BWT800 isn’t too dissimilar to the DMP-BDT310, except it’s a little fatter to accommodate the extra recording hardware. There’s a sleek black finish all over and a dappled texture on top, while the front panel is protected by a black flap embellished with a flash of silver. Flip it down and you’ll uncover an SD card slot, USB port, a few playback buttons and the disc tray.
On the rear panel is the sort of all-encompassing selection of sockets you’d expect at this price. Like the BDT310 player, the BWT800 sports two HDMI outputs, which solves a big problem if your AV receiver lacks HDMI v1.4 inputs. You can connect the ‘Main’ output to your TV and the ‘Sub’ output to your amp, allowing you to enjoy HD audio and 3D pictures simultaneously. This second HDMI is not found on the cheaper 320GB DMR-BWT700.
Composite, analogue stereo, optical digital and coaxial digital audio outputs are also provided, alongside an Ethernet port and a second USB port for the Skype communication camera. Usefully the deck is also fitted with two RGB-capable Scart sockets, which allow you to record from and playback on non-HDMI equipment.