Panasonic DMR-BWT720 Review

Sections

Pros

  • Extensive feature list
  • Brilliant picture performance
  • Much improved EPG
  • Superb iPad app

Cons

  • Won’t play MKV over a network
  • Some menus a bit drab
  • Can’t watch in HD on mobile device
  • Viera Connect lacks slickness and content of rival portals

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £549.99
  • 1TB hard-disk drive
  • Twin Freeview tuners
  • Blu-ray/DVD recording
  • 3D Blu-ray playback
  • External HDD copying
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • DLNA support
  • Viera Connect

If you like the idea of a PVR that also lets you archive hours’ worth of TV shows or home movies on high-capacity Blu-ray discs, then you’ll find yourself in seventh heaven with the Panasonic DMR-BWT720. As the company’s latest flagship Blu-ray/HDD recorder, it’s a versatile machine packed with all the tools you need to record, edit and back up treasured TV shows or camcorder footage in pristine hi-def quality.
Panasonic DMR-BWT720
But it’s much more than just a recorder – like most of Panasonic’s current Blu-ray crop, the DMR-BWT720 is also a versatile entertainment hub, capable of playing 3D Blu-ray discs, web content and media from USB sticks, HDDs, SD cards and networked devices (thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi and DLNA certification).

But first let’s cover the basics – the Panasonic DMR-BWT720 comes equipped with dual Freeview HD tuners and a massive 1TB hard-disk drive, which offers up to 259 hours of hi-def recordings at the best-possible quality, or 684 hours of HD if you convert into one of the more space-efficient modes.

It also has an optical drive that can record and playback BD-R/RE, DVD-RAM, DVD-R (DL)/-RW and DVD R/ RW discs. The amount of material you can squeeze onto a disc depends on its capacity and the recording mode you’re using, but with a dual layer Blu-ray in the tray you can store 13 hours of HD or 26 hours of SD in its original quality. You can’t record directly onto a disc – everything is captured onto the hard-disk in its original quality in ‘DR’ mode, then you can convert it to free up space on the HDD while the unit it in standby.

Design
Looks-wise, the DMR-BWT720 is classic Panasonic – tasteful but not dazzling. The black finish is brought to life by a band of silver that flashes across the front flap, which conceals the disc tray, play and stop buttons, a USB port and an SD card slot. You’ll also see a large LED display that shows the channel and which tuners are recording.

Connections
On the rear panel you’ll find a comprehensive selection of sockets, including Scart input and output, which is a blast from the past. The input allows you to record from external devices like Sky boxes or VCRs, perfect for making shiny new discs of your old tapes.

Panasonic DMR-BWT720

Bringing it back to the 21st century, we find an HDMI output – v1.4 for 3D pictures, naturally – joined by two digital audio outputs (one optical, one coaxial), analogue stereo and composite video outputs. Ethernet provides another way of accessing the unit’s network and internet functionality, while a second USB makes it easy to connect an external USB, flash drive or communication camera (an optional extra for the built-in Skype video calling feature).

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