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Panasonic DMR-EZ48V DVD / VHS Recorder - Panasonic DMR-EZ48V
The deck starts recording instantly after pressing the button and the quality is nigh-on flawless. Starting with Freeview recordings made onto DVD in XP mode, the resulting images are free from noise, packed with pure, fulsome colours and reproduced with crisp edges. Such is the crispness and purity of the recording that it's impossible to tell the difference between the recording and the live broadcast. SP and LP also deliver pleasing results, although EP is excessively soft and juddery. You can also record Freeview onto VHS and the results aren't bad, although we can't see much use for it with DVD recording on board.
Next up we copied a VHS tape containing some BBC comedy shows onto DVD-RAM in XP and the results are very enjoyable to watch - the picture is surprisingly stable, colourful and detailed, although there's no escaping classic VHS artefacts like jitter, tizzing edges, noise and softness, the severity of which depends largely on the state of the original tape. But we're impressed by how slick and easy to use the VCR is, even to someone accustomed to using DVD players for the last decade.
The EZ48V also does a superb job of upscaling DVDs to 1080p, and as a bonus Freeview recordings, live TV and even VHS playback also get the upscaling treatment, which helps them look as clean and sharp as possible on Full HD flatpanel TVs. MP3s also sound terrific when played through a good sound system.
The DMR-EZ48V is a terrific recording tool that not only makes it incredibly simple to copy VHS tapes onto DVD but also offers top-notch 1080p DVD playback and access to free digital TV channels. The feature list is limited compared with this year's crop of Freeview+ and Freesat recorders - the lack of USB port and series link could be a deal breaker for some, particularly at this price - but there's still a lot to like, not least the easy-to-use operating system and solid recording quality.
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