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Panasonic DMR-PWT530 - Recording, Smart TV and Network Features

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Panasonic DMR-PWT530 - Recording

The Panasonic DMR-PWT530 is a well-specced PVR. The 500GB hard-disk has space for 129 hours of worth HD Freeview programmes, or 258 hours of standard-def. But if you need more space and don’t have the budget to step-up to the 1TB Panasonic DMR-PWT635, then you can add extra capacity by connecting an external hard disk to the USB port.

Dual Freeview HD tuners let you watch one channel and record another, or record two channels simultaneously. And of course you can watch recordings from the hard disk while one or two channels are being recorded, and even browse the EPG.

However, you can’t record two channels while watching a third – unlike the Humax DTR-T1010 Youview box and Samsung BD-F8500, which provide more recording flexibility. With the Panasonic you can only flick between the two channels being recorded. You also can’t use any network functions while recording.

It boasts all the PVR tricks we now take for granted, however, such as series recording, recording clash alerts and pause/rewind live TV – all of which make our lives easier, although pause live TV takes a while to kick in.

The Panasonic DMR-PWT530 also has a decent range of network features when connected to your internet router, either wirelessly or via Ethernet.

Most appealing is the new Remote Recording feature, which lets you browse the EPG and schedule recordings on a smartphone or tablet when you’re about and about – provided you can connect to the internet and have Panasonic’s DIGA Player app on your device. You can also use it at home to set recordings without interrupting what you’re watching on the TV.

Another cool feature is multiroom TV streaming, which beams live or recorded TV from the Panasonic DMR-PWT530 to Android or iOS devices around the house – again this requires the DIGA Player app.

Panasonic DMR-PWT530

Panasonic DMR-PWT530 - Network and Smart Features

Panasonic’s Viera Connect offers a selection of internet apps – although as we noted in reviews of Panasonic’s latest home cinema systems this hasn’t progressed much since last year. Indeed, it's a shame Panasonic doesn't include the more advanced smart TV system found Panasonic's 2013 TVs.

You get BBC iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube, MySpace, Acetrax, iConcerts, CNBC, Dailymotion, Euronews AUPEO!, SHOUTCast radio, Facebook, Twitter and Rovi Guide, an online alternative to the Freeview EPG. Other apps can be downloaded from the Viera Market (where you can also buy Panasonic peripherals). But with Samsung’s BD-F8500 offering the full range of catch-up TV services and LoveFilm, the Panasonic’s selection feels disappointing by comparison.

The Panasonic DMR-PWT530 can also be used as a DLNA client, streaming FLAC, WMV, AVCHD JPEG and MP3 files from other networked devices, or as a server, allowing you to access files stored on the hard disk from a smartphone or tablet.

Media files can also be played back from SD cards and USB storage drives. From SD card it supports JPEG, MPO, MP4, AVCHD, MPEG-2, while from USB you can play MP3, XviD, MKV, AVI, JPEG, MPO, MP4 and MPEG-2. You can also transfer AVCHD, JPEG and MPO files from USB drives and SD cards onto the hard disk, as well as MP3 files from USB.

Oddly, it doesn’t play DivX, WMA, AAC or FLAC from USB though, which might disappoint those with large, varied collections of digital movies and music.

As a Blu-ray player, the DMR-PWT530 is equally well-equipped. It plays 3D discs, upscales DVDs to 1080p and supports Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio, both decoding and bitstream output.

Matthew Weston

June 12, 2013, 11:13 am

I've got a Samsung blu ray, Freeview hd plus box. which is similar to this. since i've had it, my TV has only been used as a display. I am about to kit out another room with a similar system. so is it possible to buy a really thin TV that doesnt have any tuners or smart functions, as it seems daft to pay for clever processing and smart functions, when I am only ever going to be using it to display images over hdmi?

Jordan

June 12, 2013, 9:30 pm

For years I've simply wanted a large-screen monitor as I don't even use the built-in speakers as well as the tuners, smart features or even remote. But because the market is so small for this it would probably mean they wouldn't recoup the R&D and manufacturing costs, so they don't get made. You can get big plasma and LCD monitors for business use, but they're expensive and not optimised for Blu-ray viewing, gaming etc.

Projector mounted on the ceiling?

Matthew Weston

June 13, 2013, 2:58 pm

Thanks Jordan

That is what i figured. it is crazy though that every flat tv has a huge bulge sticking out the back containing electronics that a great many people will never use. really cant see the wife going for projector in a living space. we tried one once and watching eastenders on a 9 ft screen is actually quiet unpleasant.

Jordan

June 13, 2013, 3:17 pm

I can imagine - watching it on a 14" screen at my Gran's back in the day was unpleasant enough! :)

Yeah it's only really suitable for movies I guess, at least until all TV channels are available in HD.

MikeX

June 15, 2013, 9:55 am

Although you can buy the Samsung BD-F8500 for the same price as this Panasonic, you have to suffer a frustrating user experience. The biggest bug bear is that even the most basic operations require multiple key presses to achive your goal. You also can't set a program to record while away from home as you can with the Panasonic. For me I will take the loss of built in Wi-Fi over the remote recording facility and the slicker user experience over the extra online content, which is generally available on your TV anyway. Even the point about being able to record two programs and watch a third is a rather antiquated notion, as most buying this product will have a Freeview HD TV anyway. If you look at the real world owners experience of the Samsung recorders, it is clear there are many frustrated users. In contrast the Panasonic users are a much happier bunch!

Col

September 11, 2013, 5:02 am

I have just checked the local dealer (in Australia) they advise that the unit does include built in wifi, and also it is possible to both stream and record at the same time but only with one of the tuners.

Simon

September 27, 2013, 4:19 pm

I projector would be cool

John

November 15, 2013, 4:36 pm

I have just purchased a Panasonic DMR-PWT 530EB TELEVISION RECORDER. And am delighted with it, except that I have the following problem. When I attempt to record a single program the confirmation clock symbol does not appear unless I OK both normal and HD mode. This results in the same program being recorded twice. Surely, this double function should not be necessary. Please can you help

Slowie

November 20, 2013, 6:51 am

I have just bought a Panasonic DMR-PWT530 and have loaded most used t.v. channels onto favourites for easier recording without having to scroll through the multitude of channels on the guide.
But I can't figure out how record from favourites using the guide.
By the way I think it's a first rate piece of gear.

Pete Richo

December 1, 2013, 5:49 am

Ok here's a question. I've registered a device (external HDD) copied a file to the external drive. The HDDR deleted it once copied. Now i want to move this digital copy to a DVD. Apparently the external HD is ONLY recognised when plugged into the Panasonc HDDR. is there ANY way of have my windows machine recognising the external HD to grab these files off it?

Steve

February 16, 2014, 11:04 am

I have just bought this machine, and started reading the instructions it says it doesn't work without HDMI being connected , I think. Does anyone know if that's correct. All our equipment is in a cupboard under the stairs and we have flat screens fixed on the walls so there is nowhere for the free box except in the cupboard but we didn't wire for HDMI as the install is 6 years old. so the same question again, does anyone know if it works without HDMI...

Mike

April 27, 2014, 10:39 am

can you record from the sky hd box as i am useing this for my bt sport now , after leaving sky

Stephen

May 5, 2014, 7:22 pm

I hate this box as it does not let you watch a third channel when recording. You can be happily watching a show then both recorders kick in because you have set them to record a series, and the show you are watching suddenly flicks over to one of the shows you are recording. To go back to your show you have to go through a difficult process of cancelling one of the shows you are recording, by witch poiint you are frustrated at a) having missed part of the show you are watching, and b) no longer being ablee to record the show you were wanting to record. This is a serious design fault as I know other recorders can show a third show wheile recording two. I don't know why manufacturers don't simply install a third receiver which would solve most issues.

Geoffrey Brown

July 27, 2014, 5:08 am

Only comment I would have is that when going into the Internet side of things if I go into YouTube andselect a video from the history it tries to come up on the display and the unit locks up. About 3 minutes later the unit restarts so there is obviously some major problem with this software when using this part of it. Also when pressing the Internet button everything is very slow.

When using he DLNA from a Windows 8.1 laptop to display video on the TV via the Panasonic DMR-PWT530 from say youtube.com in internet explorer this comes up with a message about not being able to cope with the video format. Trying to display home AVCHD videos works fine but both these video types display fine on the Sony TV I have. There is obviously a subset of the video formats supported by this unit via DLNA but the Sony TV I have that works fine is around 2 years old.

I guess as far as freeview, DVD and Blu-ray goes all pretty good but the internet/DLNA features are not really working properly for me. Using DLNA with the unit connected up via WiFi never even showed any signs of working. Only when using an Ethernet cable to the unit did some DLNA content start working.

Geoffrey.

Ken

September 22, 2014, 10:27 am

I have 2 of these units in my place. the first one is just on 3 years old now and the sound is dying. while watching anything through the unit the sound becomes broken, you loose some of the sound. turning the unit on and off seems to fix the problem for a little while, but it soon comes back.
It does not matter what media you are watching. BluRay, DVD or TV. the only thing that has not been an issue to date is recorded programs on the unit itself. these seem to play consistently at the moment.
I feel the sound processor is dying, however contacting Panasonic's technical help has resulted in immediate questioning of connections, other devices and the like.
If you have one of these units PWT530 just keep an ear out for sound quality and make sure you have exteneded warranty.

Neilinely

October 17, 2014, 10:25 pm

Lose, not loose. Loose means not tight.

Numberonekiwi

November 16, 2014, 11:31 pm

I brought one of these the other day Main reason was having sky
disconnected and I wanted the ability to have instant rewind which was
advertised on the unit. However it is not quite the same as the unit
will go into auto standby after a set amount of time which cant be
turned off with instant rewind enabled. It also does not play .mkv files
from the network drive but that is no major. would love to learn how to
write new operating system firmware / software to enable other features
like all zone BD playback etc and auto standby etc etc.

Geert de Vries

October 13, 2015, 9:17 pm

and then you nee an other one because you record 3 programs and your program is interrupted

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