I bought this machine after a lot of research and debate- but in the end I decided I trusted the Panasonic brand and that I'd spend a little extra on the "quality " their name suggests.
At first I found this machine very good- it wasn't too complicated and was easy enough for even the least technical of our family to use- so all was well. However- about 3 months after getting this player, I noticed that it seemed to be having trouble reading the dvd's and kept turning itself off. This was very annoying especially when you were trying to watch a movie or the kids a cartoon- it took ages for the player to read the disc- one time I waited nearly an hour until it decided to work. I don't know if it is all of these players or just mine but I was very disappointed and decided that I wasn't going to pay for the Panasonic name again= it completely put me off for future purchases.
My husband is a real gadget man. He had been nagging for a dvd recorder for ages and we finally got one about 2 years ago ago.
We chose the Panasonic DMR-E60EBS, mainly because of one very useful function it has which is timeslip recording.
This allows you to start recording a programme and watch it from the beginning before it has finished recording. Very handy when for exampleif a programme starts at 9pm you have set the recorder to record from 9pm because you expect to be out till 11pm and plan to watch programme when you return home. If you return home at say 9.30pm you don't want to watch the programme minus 30 mins but you don't really want to wait until it finishes and watch it then, you can set the recorder so you can watch from the beginning as it is still recording! You simply go into the menus and decide how long you want to go back anything from a minute to the whole programme!
You can only do this when recording onto a DVD RAM disc which is included with the machine, it is not possible to do it if you are recording onto DVD-R disc. This machine does not record onto DVD-RW the DVD-RAM disc is rewritable and they are available as 4.7GB or 9.4GB discs. The one included is 4.7GB which allows upto 6 hours of recording.
It will also play CD-R/RW, CD video and mp3.
It has a direct navigator which means you can see at the press of a button what you have recorded and pick what you want to watch.
When you set a timer recording you have the option of entering a title.
If you use the DVD RAM disc you can erase the disc very quickly and easily you just go into the direct navigator and scroll through the options until you find erase and confirm, it will ask again if you want to erase and if you select yes again it erases a full disc within seconds. You can also erases just portions of a disc for example the adverts. This takes a bit longer as you have to go though the programme and select which bits you want erasing.
The quality of the recording is really good, you can get between 1 hour and 6 hours recording on 1 disc and obviously the quality is not as good on the longer settings but still I would say better than a VHS recording.
If you record onto a DVD-R disc you have to finalise the disc before it can be played on any other machine and although you can erase parts you don't want on the disc you cannot write over those parts altough you can take the disc out and if there is still space left, unless you have finalised it you can still record onto it.
On the front of the machine there is also a pc/sd card slot for storing and viewing JPEG images from a digital camera.
The machine itself is in a brushed steel and chrome finish with a digital display and all menus can be accessed on screen.
You need to be careful as to which discs you buy to record onto as not all discs are compatible. It uses the DVD-R format as opposed to the DVD+R format but even making sure you have the right format dosen't ensure that the brand is compatible. Obviously panasonic discs are but they are expensive. I would suggest finding a supplier that offers a selection pack of discs and seeing which one works best. We ordered a pack of 6 different brands from www.ukdvdr.co.uk
which cost us £6.49 we were then able to select which out of the different brands worked so we could order the right ones. We found that bulkpaq orange were the best and are very reasonably priced.
For the DVD-RAM disc though you really do need a panasonic branded one and these cost about £9.99 for a pack of 5 4.7GB RAM discs.
Even when a DVD-R disc has been finalised it may not play on every dvd player, it seems to be very hit and miss at the moment. The salesman did tell us that more and more dvd player manufacturers are leaning towards the format panasonic use for compatability as they are the leaders at the moment in DVDR technology, so if this is going to be an issue i would seriously recommend waiting a while before purchasing a recorder until there is more uniformity. So far we have tried our discs in LG, Bush and Alba machines which all work fine!
The remote control is a good size although some of the buttons may be a bit fiddly as they are a bit small, but it seems a very sturdy handset and is finished in the same brushed steel as the recorder.
The instructions are really clear, but for most things it is easy enough just from the buttons and on screen instructions to figure out how to use it even without instructions.
Setting it up took no time at all, connects to the tv and cable/satalitte if you have it by scart cables plug it an and away you go.
We paid £449 for this machine, there is a more basic panasonic without the timeslip function and the pc/sd card slot for around £100 less. The model we bought can now be found for about £225.