We follow our review of Samsung’s debut Freeview HD PVR with Panasonic’s first stab at a standalone Freeview HDD recorder, the DMR-HW100. It’s actually a similar proposition to its Korean rival’s BD-DT7800, in that the usual range of Freeview recording features is backed up by fancy networking and internet functionality. Basically it does everything Panasonic’s Blu-ray/HDD recorders can do, without the Blu-ray bit. But if it’s hi-def disc playback you want, this model is launched alongside the DMR-PWT500, a Freeview HD PVR combined with a Blu-ray player.
The DMR-HW100’s 320GB hard-disk is housed within a plain yet attractive black casing, which looks pretty much identical to Panasonic’s Blu-ray players and recorders – even down to the flap that covers the entire front panel. Behind it lurks a USB port, SD card slot and channel change buttons, with blocked-off areas where the disc tray and CAM slot would have been. There’s a large display panel shining through the front flap giving the channel number or the time when in standby, plus a couple of LEDs next to it indicate which tuners are currently recording.
On the back you’ll find HDMI, optical digital audio and analogue stereo outputs, an Ethernet port, RF in/out and a second USB port that can be used to connect a wireless LAN adapter or a communication camera when using the built-in Skype functionality. Again it’s slightly disappointing to see that Scart output has been overlooked, as it means you can’t make copies on external recorders.