Panasonic DMR-XS350 - Freesat DVD & HDD Recorder - Panasonic DMR-XS350

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic DMR-XS350 - Freesat DVD & HDD Recorder

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Recording a programme from this EPG couldn't be easier - simply highlight it and hit OK. Another screen then asks if you'd like to record the single programme or the entire series. If you've selected a programme that's being simulcast in HD, the deck then asks which one you'd like to record. Make your selection and a further screen appears that allows you to check all the details. It's all rather long-winded, but at least it ensures that you record the right programme. The Guide Link feature tracks the start and end times of each programme to account for schedule changes.

The Direct Navigator screen, where your recordings are stored, is also well laid out. It's not flashy or ostentatious, just a simple list with large legible text and big blocks of colour, which should help HDD newcomers find recordings quickly and easily. They're labelled with the programme name, date, time and channel, and a small box plays the highlighted recording.

The rest of the unit's GUI (including the central Function menu, setup screens and Freesat info banners) follows in the same vein - simple but effective. For a flavour of what they look like, take a gander at our review of the BS850 as this deck's GUI is similar (apart from the Blu-ray related stuff, of course). The remote is identical too, and boasts Panasonic's usual intuitive layout and large, colour-coded buttons.

The XS350 certainly has inner beauty, but the outside ain't bad either. It uses the familiar black fascia with flashes of silver here and there, and all the electronics are packed into a substantial, weighty frame. On the front is a display panel that's easy to read from the other side of the room and a pair of red lights that indicate when each tuner is recording.

Underneath a flap that spans the width of the front panel is an array of AV inputs - S-video, composite and stereo audio - as well as more glamorous sockets like an SD card slot, USB port and DV input. The SD card slot and USB port allow you to play back or load up a variety of digital formats onto the hard disk, turning it into a media library that resides in your living room and not on your PC. You can even use the deck to rip CDs as LPCM, and the built-in, updateable Gracenote database tags your tracks automatically.

Like the BS850, the deck will play back DivX, MP3 and JPEG from USB, CD or DVD but you can't copy DivX onto the hard disk. You can, however, transfer MPEG-2 video or AVCHD shot on a Panasonic camcorder to the hard disk from SD card, as well as JPEG photos. All-in-all, this is a terrific one-stop shop for your digital content.

Incredibly, the features don't stop there. The XS350 is equipped with Viera Cast, allowing you to watch YouTube videos and Google Picasa photos on your TV through the Ethernet port on the back panel. You can also pause live TV and access a handy range of editing functions, while the HDMI v1.3 socket feeds upscaled DVD images to your TV and supports Viera Link. Other connections include two Scarts (one in, one out, both RGB-capable), component output, S-video/composite/analogue stereo input/output and optical/coaxial digital audio outputs.

ilovethemonkeyhead

June 28, 2009, 2:11 pm

i see some minor barrel distortion on that rear view shot of the unit

Mike B

June 28, 2009, 3:08 pm

Nice price saving but this should have been the price of the Blu-ray model!





Also why can't it record any HD camcorder footage to DVD discs in HD format? Most Blu-ray players (PS3 etc.) will play back a DVD that is organised in the standard Blu-ray format (using the AVCHD files from the camcorder) so you can archive your HD footage to cheap DVDs. If this is not possible I for one would not be interested in wasting my money on this unit.

Techno22

June 28, 2009, 3:52 pm

Sounds like a great machine.


Another great review from Trusted Reviews.


I certainly do trust them, as I find them fair, comprehensive, and accurate.


As you say, it is a shame that you cannot browse the EPG on this machine while keeping in touch with the TV programmes.


It is very pricey, too.


Does Panasonic, Sony, and others not realsie that there is a world wide recession as they overprice their offerings.


£6oo is too much for a DVD Recorder, no matter how good.


250 GB Hard Drive is not that big these days, and does not justify the exhorbitant price.


It would be nice if more people could enjoy the benefits of this excellent technology by being able to buy it at affordable prices.


Unfortunately, I would have to disagree with your value rating for this product.


I could not give it 9/10.

GoldenGuy

June 28, 2009, 5:59 pm

I know no one cares about SCARTs anymore but being a bit of a dinosaur, I like that both sockets are RGB. Handier for an early 2000s setup like mine.

Chuzzwuzza

June 29, 2009, 3:58 pm

250gb is a bit paltry, what the real question is can yer slap a 1tb in just like a humax hdr ??

sacundai

February 10, 2010, 3:29 am

Nice idea but dreadful to use, slow with a badly designed interface, shame.

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