Product Type: Panasonic DVD recorders
Newest Review: ... them on. With DVD-RAM however, it is far less picky, and I've used several different makes including, Panasonic's own and a Datawrite d... more
Panasonic DMR E 50
Member Name: utero
Panasonic DMR E 50
Date: 21/06/04, updated on 06/01/05 (1622 review reads)
Advantages: Great recording quality, Quality doesn't degrade, Easy to use
Disadvantages: Awkward remote
I decided to upgrade to a DVD recorder from my Pioneer 717 player about nine months ago. This was when there weren?t a great deal of recorders on the market but they had started to come down to reasonable prices. I opted for the Panasonic DMR-E50 after it received great reviews by most people in magazines and people who?d actually bought one. When buying a recorder it?s worth bearing in mind that there are primarily two types of recorder. There is the format that takes DVD-rewritable discs. Then there are models like this Panasonic which take DVD-R?s and also have DVD-Ram capabilities. Having a Ram disc gives you more flexibility for your recording in my opinion.
The E50 is a quite slimeline machine with very few buttons at the front to confuse you. Comparing it to my old Pioneer 717, well the 717 looks like one of the early VHS top-loaders in terms of size. Essentially a DVD-recorder works in the same way as a VHS recorder, you select you channel and hit record. But of course DVD means that the quality of your rec
ording is an incredible improvement, it also means that you can record things from TV for safekeeping and those endless re-plays of Pop Idol won?t get faded and have a hissing noise on them. The DVD-Ram side of the Panasonic recorder gives you great control over your recording. For starters there is a Time-Slip option which allows you to start watching a recording even if it?s only half-finished. So in simple terms, if you?ve come in halfway through recording Eastenders, you can start watching it without having to wait another 15-20 minutes. The quality of the recording also doesn?t suffer if you choose this option.
At first I was sceptical of what picture quality I would get on recordings. Well this varies depending on what recording option you select. A one-sided DVD-Ram disc can hold up to six hours of video in its EP mode. Recording in this mode means that there is a lot of compression, the picture quality is adequate but can be blocky at times. The best results come in SP mode which offers two hours of recording, the end result is just as good as you?ll get on TV, even the LP mode which gives four hours still makes viewing pleasant. Naturally the quality of the recording is also dependent on the strength of your TV reception.
So fat this all sounds a bit boring but then this is where DVD-Ram comes in. It?s a flexible format that means you can really play about with your recording. Say for example you record a concert. You can erase parts of the recording you don?t need, you can create chapter stops at the beginning of each song, and you can move chapters about in the recording. To be honest this is something I don?t use a lot but having the option there is very worthwhile. It?s a big advantage to anyone who likes to transfer their video camera footage to video. This allows you a degree of editing which you can?t get from a regular VHS recorder. With this in mind, Panasonic have added a panel of video connections that are nicely hidden at the
front of the machine.
On the normal DVD side this player gives good results. It works like your normal DVD player and had connections for home cinema amps etc. I wouldn?t have bought this recorder is it couldn?t be multi-region. Thankfully Richer Sounds offered the player with this option, it?s automatic as well and has no problem with things like RCE discs from the USA. The playback quality is excellent as you?d expect from Panasonic products.
The only problem I have with the machine is the remote control. There?s a lot of buttons on the remote and the main ones are housed under a sliding cover. I would have preferred these buttons just to be part of the full remote. The reason for this is that it makes operation awkward at times especially if you?re trying to access sound and subtitle options mid movie.
In terms of consumables you can pick up three double sided Ram discs for £20 from avland.co.uk. Of course it?s beat to ship around but these are well priced for the Panasonic branded Ram discs. These discs can hold up to 12 hours of recording EP mode but also come in a plastic caddy that slots into the machine. This keeps your discs free of dirt and marks.
Anyone thinking of getting a DVD recorder would be making a great choice. I haven?t looked back since I bought one and they certainly have sent VHS to it?s grave. There are several Panasonic recorders on the market but this one represents great value for the home user who?s not looking for a lot of thrills.