Panasonic DMR-EX769 DVD/HDD Freeview PVR - Panasonic DMR-EX769 DVD/HDD

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

On the whole the unit is slick and responsive. The ergonomic remote is close to perfection, using the now customary large buttons and foolproof labelling. The buttons are laid out in such an intuitive way that we only needed to look at it for the rarely-used functions. The unit features Power Save and Quick Start standby modes, and in the former it takes longer to boot up and shuts down the Scart loopthrough, while the latter uses a lot more power (13W compared with 0.9W) but starts up in a few seconds.

Although the EX769 doesn't offer direct bitstream video recording to the hard-disk like Panasonic's new Blu-ray recorders, it still produces excellent recorded picture quality in XP mode. Edges are sharp as a scalpel with no colour bleed to sully the clarity, while the strength and purity of its colour reproduction gives the image instantly gratifying warmth and richness, which looks great with daytime TV's brightly-lit studios and eye catching graphics. This model lacks the Chroma Processor found on the EX89, but even without it the captured colours look stunning.

You get more of the same in SP mode, with the slightly lower bitrate introducing a smidgeon of extra mosquito noise around edges. But the real revelation is LP mode, which retains a high amount of detail and only a slight increase in noise, making this a great option for archiving lots of content on a single DVD disc. EP mode's soft, juddery pictures are no good for archiving but okay for watching once if disc space is tight.

The EX769 also makes a top-notch DVD player, replaying our Men In Black disc with fantastic sharpness and strong, realistic colours. Will Smith's black suit looks satisfyingly solid with lots of shading visible within it, while the combination of crisp 1080p upscaling and Panasonic's Adaptive HD Enhancer makes the picture look effortlessly sharp, which helps when conveying the intricate textures of the movie's alien effects.

Verdict

If you want a solid, dependable DVD/HDD recorder that places the emphasis on TV viewing and recording duties over flashy multimedia trickery, then the EX769 is a great option. It's bursting with indispensible recording and editing functionality, and although you don't get USB ports and SD card slots, the rest of the connections are generous. Recordings look superb too, but perhaps the deck's biggest virtue is its wonderfully simple user interface, which makes up for in simplicity what it lacks in glamour. If we're being picky, perhaps that price tag should have been even lower considering how many of the EX79's features and connections have been stripped out, but despite that the EX769 certainly won't leave you feeling short-changed.

Paul W

April 19, 2009, 5:57 am

I see that the Countdown screenshot is identical to the one featured in the Panasonic Panasonic DMR-EX79 review. Also a few of the other EPG screenshots also seem to be identical.





Can I assume from this that the EPG on the Panasonic DMR-EX769 is identical to the one on its more expensive cousin, and that taking new screenshots wasn't necessary?

ffrankmccaffery

April 20, 2009, 1:16 am

less than sum of its parts as always with panasonic. Sony although now a shadow of its former self at least maintains a balance between features and practicality. The reviewer mentions samsung and lg as examples of epg interfaces done right, they just the same as this but with a garish mask. For real elegance intuitiveness you should look at the loewe products and admittedly pay a bit extra

Alan Unwin

June 20, 2009, 1:22 pm

I notice that the specs page suggests that this item can view divx but according to the manual this is not the case and I cannot view and dvd's in divx that I have on my system.

Foxtrot

August 30, 2009, 4:22 pm

Suddenly in need of an inexpensive but reliable & simple to operate DVD recorder I was encouraged by your review of the DMR-EX768 to search for that model locally. I soon discovered that very popular model had recently been replaced by the EX769, which is virtually no different, except for the higher price asked at present. Comparing the specifications on the Panasonic website, the only differences I noticed were a slightly reduced electricity consumption during standby and a thinner case.


At a Panasonic store this was confirmed, and I was told frankly that the old model (they no longer stocked) was "replaced" simply because the price asked elsewhere for the EX768 had fallen well below the original list price! So much for competition!


Even now it is still available on line at a relatively cheap price, though already it has all but disappeared from local stores.





I would have thought that your review of the DMR-EX769 should have pointed out how little difference there was between the two models!

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