Panasonic DMR-HW220 - Features

By Danny Phillips



  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic DMR-HW220


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Panasonic rarely skimps on features and the DMR-HW220 boasts a typically generous selection. On the PVR side, there are two Freeview HD tuners, making it possible to record two hi-def channels simultaneously, and a whopping 1TB hard-disk, which provides 259 hours of recording time in HD or 518 hours of SD programmes. But the really good news is that you can connect an external HDD to the USB port and move data from the built-in HDD to the external one, freeing-up space. Conversely, if 1TB sounds too capacious then the cheaper DMR-HW120 offers a 500GB HDD.

Panasonic DMR-HW220

Your recordings can be edited in the Direct Navigator menu, where you can delete part of a recording using a straightforward edit screen that lets you add start and end points. You can also rename and divide recordings, or change the thumbnail.

You also get all the usual PVR tricks that make TV viewing so much easier than it used to be – namely pause/rewind live TV (with a 1.5 hour buffer) and viewing of programmes while they’re still being recorded. But that’s old news – more interesting is the 2D-to-3D conversion, which allows you to bring flat Freeview programmes to life on your 3D TV. You can tweak the 3D image from the setup menu, including a choice of formats as well as distance and screen type adjustments. You can also add a frame to the picture that might make it more comfortable to watch.

The Panasonic DMR-HW220 boasts some serious network credentials. It’s DLNA-certified, which means you can use it as a client to stream media from PCs and other devices around the home. The HW220 also acts as a server, allowing you to watch non-restricted recordings made on this unit on other clients around the home – or watch recordings made on other recorders. Smartphone/tablet owners can also use the unit as a renderer and control it with the mobile device.

Panasonic DMR-HW220

Network format support is decent, including AVCHD, DivX, MP4, MOV, JPEG, MP3, FLAC and PCM. During our test it found content quickly with no annoying delays but disappointingly it won’t play MKV over a network – for that you have to load it onto a USB drive but when we did it wouldn’t play the DTS audio track.

You can also copy music, video and photos onto the hard-disk to save you faffing around with USB sticks each time, and with such a capacious HDD you can squeeze loads on there without impinging greatly on TV recording time. Playback of AVCHD, JPEG, MPO and MP3 is supported from the hard-disk, while AVCHD, JPEG, MPO, MP4 and MPEG-2 (SD Video) are supported from SD cards.

Finally you’ll find Viera Connect on this unit, complete with its range of video streaming and social networking sites. The choice includes Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Acetrax, Twitter, Picasa, CNBC, Dailymotion, Facebook, AUPEO! and more, which is a much better choice than Viera Cast, although Samsung’s Smart Hub is much more fun. There’s also a Rovi guide EPG, which provides an alternative to the built-in version.

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!


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?


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.


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.


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 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***

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