The DMR-HW100 is equipped with a 320GB hard-disk drive, which is relatively small in these days of 500GB and 1TB capacities, although the 79 hours of HD recording time (or 154 hours of SD) it offers might be enough for you. There are also two DVB-T2 tuners on board, which unlike Samsung’s BD-DT7800 allow you to record two channels simultaneously, or watch one channel while recording another.
Interestingly the DMR-HW100 is even ready to record 3D channels if and when they make their way to Freeview. For the time being though, you can take advantage of the unit’s built-in conversion and turn any 2D programme into 3D, even the news if you’re that way inclined. You also have access to the same range of 3D image tweaks found on Panasonic’s Blu-ray players including the Marmite-like ‘screen frame’ feature – you’ll either love or hate the diffused border it adds to the edge of the picture.
Another obvious highlight is this unit’s DLNA certification, which means you can stream media content from Windows 7 PCs and other devices on your network. You can also access recordings, AVCHD videos and JPEG photos stored on the HW100’s hard-disk on other client devices.
With Panasonic’s optional DY-WL10 wireless LAN adapter (above) connected, the DMR-HW100 streamed AVCHD, WMV, DivX and AVI files over our 802.11n network, although it had to think long and hard about playing AVCHD and DivX files beforehand and then stuttered during playback. MP3s and WMAs played with no problems.
If that little lot isn’t enough content to keep you entertained, you can also dip into Viera Cast, which offers a range of sites including YouTube, Dailymotion, Twitter, Acetrax movies-on-demand, Picasa and other less UK-relevant sites like L’Equipe, Bild.de and Tagesschau. You also get weather and stock market updates. The selection isn’t a patch on Sony or Samsung’s equivalent web services but it is boosted by the inclusion of Skype, which allows you to make video calls using the optional (and rather expensive) TY-CC10 camera.
You can play DivX, MKV, JPEG, MP3 and WMA from USB devices, plus AVCHD and JPEG from SD cards. You can even copy music, videos and photos from SD cards or USB devices onto the hard-disk, turning into a sort of media jukebox.
You can play AVCHD videos filmed on a 3D camcorder through the SD card slot (which accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC cards) as well as MPO 3D images.
Finally there’s a bunch of five picture presets hidden in the Playback Menu, as well as other picture modes like HD Optimizer, Chroma Process, Detail Clarity and Super Resolution. There’s also a Dialogue Enhancer setting for audio.