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Panasonic DMR-HW220 review

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Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic DMR-HW220

Summary

Our Score

9/10

User Score

Pros

  • Impressive picture quality
  • Revamped EPG
  • Large hard-disk with external HDD back-up

Cons

  • Can’t play MKV over network
  • Uninspiring design
  • Some menus need a revamp
  • Viera Connect not up to standard of rivals

Review Price £260.00

Key Features: 1TB hard-disk drive; Twin Freeview HD tuners; Built-in Wi-Fi; Viera Connect ; DLNA certified ; 2 USB ports & SD card slot; 2D-to-3D conversion

Manufacturer: Panasonic

The Panasonic DMR-HW220 is one of several new hard-disk recorders in Panasonic’s 2012 range, but unlike some of the step-up models, there’s no Blu-ray recording on board for making copies of hi-def programmes. This is a straight up Freeview HD PVR with a 1TB hard-disk, but it does throw in most of the snazzy features from the company’s Blu-ray players, such as Viera Connect, built-in Wi-Fi and DLNA certification. Great news, but with Samsung’s brilliant BD-E8500 Smart PVR already laying down the gauntlet, Panasonic doesn’t have things all its own way – let’s see what the Japanese brand brings to the table.

Panasonic DMR-HW220

Design

First up, Panasonic has done very little to change the external design this year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the all-black casing with silver trim is tasteful and easy to match with other components. We’re impressed by the aluminium bodywork, which gives build quality a boost, but at 59mm high it’s surprisingly chunky.

Panasonic DMR-HW220

Panasonic likes using flaps to hide front panel clutter and here it covers up a USB port, an SD card slot and buttons for changing channels. The lack of Blu-ray drive means there’s a large blank panel on the left, plus there’s a large LED display panel and cluster of lights to indicate a recording is in progress.

Connections

On the back the socket line-up covers all bases. Interestingly there’s a second USB port, which can be used exclusively for Panasonic’s communication camera should you choose to buy one, allowing you to make Skype video calls from the comfort of your sofa. That leaves the front USB port free for media playback from HDDs and flash drives. There’s no need to connect a wireless LAN adapter as the HW220 comes with built-in Wi-Fi (the cheaper DMR-HW120 does require one, however).

Panasonic DMR-HW220

You’ll also find an HDMI output for sending pictures to your TV, analogue stereo output, optical digital audio output and an Ethernet port, which provides an alternative (and possibly more reliable) connection to your network.

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Mike B

June 7, 2012, 7:44 pm

I have the DMR-BWT720 Blu-ray recorder, which has the same interface and basic features, and can confirm it really is a nice unit. At £200 more than this it may be an overkill unless you really need to burn Blu-ray and DVD copies of your recordings but is the only unit on the market that can burn Blu-rays. Anyone considering the HW220 should also consider the PWT520 as it has the addition of a Blu-ray player for about £90 more and will reduce an extra box.

The main reason to get a Panasonic freeview recorder is the fact they are very stable and reliable, unlike some units out there!

Orinj

June 8, 2012, 12:34 pm

I've been looking for a Freeview HD Recorder for a while but would like one with a Blu Ray player to replace my old PS3 which suffers from loud fan noise. I used to have an older Panasonic DVD/HDD recorder that suffered from slow interface response and disc loading times. Do the Panasonic recorders have quick responses to button presses and disc load times? Also, do they make much noise from fan cooling?

Mike B

June 8, 2012, 8:22 pm

My BWT720 is virtually silent, no fan noise just a faint hum from the disc drive. The menus are all very quick and a Blu-ray disc loads to the network check screen within 10s and onto play 5s after. Very fast by comparison to a PS3 or older Panasonic I have. Since the PWT520 uses the same hardware it should be a quick.

These new models really are very good and if you add in their reliable operation you can't beat them.

Andrew Garner

December 28, 2012, 5:26 pm

I thought the dmr-hw220 was the same as the dmr-hw120 except for the hard drive size and Wifi? They have the same manual. Yet this review gives the 220 9 out of10 and the 120 review gets only 7 out of 10. Why? The reviews suggest that they have different interfaces and epg's, is this correct?

Sizzla

March 22, 2013, 2:05 am

With Panasonic, all network based activities are disabled when recording. You'll be watching a movie on Netflix only to be disconnected when a scheduled timer recording kicks in. Completely useless. Otherwise a good product.

smcf

March 25, 2013, 10:54 pm

Search is very basic. Nintendo Wii sitting in same place allowed Wi-Fi connection but had to buy powerline comms for the panasonic because reception was weak (note they weren't on at the same time). No multitasking i.e. can't use the web when recording freeview. My previous PVR, a Humax, allowed me to rewind back and then start recording, the panasonic doesn't. NO search on the main guide. Picture viewer a bit basic. Hopefully the unit has the power to accomodate some of these after further development, I look forward to the anticipated upgrades . PS it Won't accept ext HD that already has data, you have to reformat.I also forgot. If you have two recordings set one after the other on different channels then it ties up both tuners during the switch over so you have to wait before watching another. Currently having problems with the Rovi guide and Panasonic are passing total responsibility to Rovi. This would think is acceptable but they push Rovi because there own guide is useless.

SeanBonJovi

May 20, 2013, 9:32 am

Dissapointed with this.
Market and bought on the fact it is able to play several movie formats such as /mp4/.avi. Combined with the massive 1tb hard drive the assumption was you could transfer your movie files to and from the unit.....not the case.
Enctypted software means you can only transfer music and photos to device whilst you can only transfer back the jpegs only.
How anyone is expected to use the 1tb by solely recording tv shows is beyond me. I am having to transfer movies to my 4gb usb stick before plugging in and playing to watch movies.....in effect the 1tb is a waste of 'storage'.
I have 800gb of photos/music and movies currently split between 5 other devices and this unit was meant to be the one unit 'solution'. The 1tb is a waste of space as you cant even edit your mp3 files as they are enctypted and the only way to 'transfer' back of the unit is by deleting them.
Would have been better buying another PS3 500GB and networking myself.
***This is not a mass storage device***
3/10

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