Panasonic DMR-EZ47V – DVD Recorder/VHS Combi Review - Panasonic DMR-EZ47V Review

Sections

There are four DVD recording modes: XP, SP, LP and EP, offering 1, 2, 4 and 8 hours’ maximum recording time, respectively, on a single-sided DVD (or double that for double-layer discs), which help you trade off picture quality for recording time. There’s also a fifth mode, Flexible Recording (FR), which makes your desired programme fit exactly into the space remaining on a disc – a valuable tool that stops you worrying about running out of capacity or wasting disc space. For VHS recording, there are SP, LP and EP modes.


As for editing, the most useful function is partial delete, which allows you to cut out unwanted parts of a recording such as commercial breaks. But those looking for something more advanced should check out playlist editing, an effective (and surprisingly user-friendly) way of rearranging favourite chapters into a desired sequence. The recorder plays these chapters from the original recordings, so virtually no extra capacity is used and it doesn’t affect the originals in any way.


If necessary, you can copy these edited playlists (or entire recordings) to VHS. But you’re more likely to use the VHS to DVD copying facility, which is an effortless process thanks to the deck’s straightforward user interface.


The same can be said for every aspect of the recorder’s functionality. We’ve always been big fans of Panasonic’s user interface as it makes everything so clear and easy to follow onscreen – even potentially complicated tasks like creating a playlist can be worked out without consulting the manual. Finding what you want is also easy, as the central menu system groups all the key functions into one handy list.


Thankfully this user-friendliness carries over into the presentation of Freeview displays, which will be a reassuring sight for newcomers to digital TV. The EPG uses the landscape ‘timeline’ design familiar to Sky users (which can be switched to a portrait shape if you wish) with friendly pastel colours and excellent use of the coloured keys on the remote. Talking of which, the superb zapper is laden with large, clearly labelled buttons, helpfully separated into different sections.


In action the deck is simply magnificent. On a basic level, the speed with which it changes channels and calls up digital text is staggeringly quick, making for a slick and hassle-free user-experience. And as a straight Freeview receiver it’s a class act, offering rich and vibrant picture quality with a low amount of MPEG noise (depending on the quality of the broadcast of course) while the robust, sensitive tuner ensures stable reception at all times, even with a poor signal.