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The DMR-E30 plays DVD-Video, music CD, CD-R and CD-RW discs. It also uses both DVD-R and DVD-RAM media to record and playback broadcast programmes. However, if you record using DVD-R media, you will not be able to reuse the disc. You can still delete unwanted programmes, but that will only reduce storage real-estate on DVD-Rs. The DVD-RAM medium (a superior format in my opinion) has a higher maximum bandwidth of 22MB/s, whilst other DVD media formats borders around 11MB/s which results in higher quality playback and recording. Although much maligned, DVD-RAM is a superior technology over other DVD rewritable DVD formats such as DVD-RW and DVD+RW. This is not only because of its higher bandwith, but also because it is more robust (you can rewrite a DVD-RAM disc 100,000 times versus only 1,000 for a -/+ RW disc). I'll be the first to profess I'm a TV-addict or who has to contend with dozens of video tapes that are often times mislabelled and worst, lost. Well, you don't really lose those bulky VHS tapes, you just forget where that favoutire episode of EastEnders is! Panasonic DMR-E30 attempts to solve those problems and provides the following interesting functions and more: You still record programmes one after another in a linear fashion and as much as 999 scenes can be stored on a DVD media as long as you have enough space which is around 6 to 12 hours of recording when you record in Extra long recording mode (EP) on a single DVD-RAM disc. You can record in 5 modes depending on the level of quality you desire: XP - 60 minutes in DVD quality SP – 120 minutes in S-VHS quality LP – 240 minutes in VHS quality EP – 360 minutes in poor quality FR – 60 to 240 minutes (adjusts quality to fit with amount of space remaining on the disc) Chasing Playback Chasing Playback is a Tivo-like feature. You start to record your program in the evening at 7 and arrive home at around 7.30pm. Now you don't have to wait for the program to finish recording before you view the video. You just playback and record at the same time. How convenient can you get! Simultaneous Recording & Playback Along the same vein, you can record 1 channel and playback any of your other recorded programmes or scenes. It's all about creative use of time and the power to do so without wasting it. Time Slip Time Slip is another cool function whereby as you record, you can 'slip' backwards in time and view the footage of the currently recorded programme from 1 minute to some 6 hours ago. While you are 'timeslipping' backwards, you can operate the fast-search reverse and forward again in the past time frame. Now you won't practically miss anything. Playlists Like the way you create MP3 playlists, the DMR-E30 has a handy Direct Navigator that shows you at-a-glance what videos you have recorded on the disc by playing the start of the recorded segment or scene. Then you can splice the scenes you want and rearrange or group them in anyway you desire to create a playlist. You can create up to 99 playlists from a mindboggling 999 scenes as previously mentioned. Video Geek Perspective VCD can be played flawlessly. I tried SVCD and CVD and both played back but with lot of trouble. Either there are big pauses between every second in audio and video, or (after some fast forward) good picture without audio. Best Media To Use With Player In terms of DVD-RAM I would recommend Panasonic, Verbatim and Optodisc. In terms of DVD-R, Panasonic, Verbatim and BeALL are excellent choices. Stay away from Memorex media, particularly Memorex DVD-RAM. Memorex discs may work for a bit, but they will quickly give out on you and become unusable. Conclusion If you are ready to embrace the digital way of recording, splicing and dicing your TV programmes like you do with MP3 songs, then the Panasonic DMR -E30 is an inexpensive and highly effective way for you to enter the dvd recording world. Now, you don't just watch your TV programmes in a linear way until your 'tape' runs out, but you take charge of your recording and playback. For Those Worried About The DVD Format Wars Panasonic's DMR-E30 DVD Video Recorder’s support of DVD-RAM is likely to cause one to muse upon technology's past. Does anyone remember the 'VHS/BETA' fight years ago where finally the consumer market decided on the technologically less sophisticated alternative, VHS, over the BETA format which video professionals employ even these days? Or even more recently the battle between Divx and DVD? Well, it looks the same now, except that the rewritable formats competing for consumer acceptance are the DVD-RW, DVD+RW and DVD-RAMs, with no clear winners presently. However, this time around all three formats may survive. I have read in several places that the DVD-RW, DVD+RW and DVD-RAM are each receiving enough support individually that more manufacturers are creating “multi-drives” which support all of the formats. I for one hope that DVD-RAM emerges as the winner since it is a superior format and much cheaper in the long-run than +/- RW. Plus DVD-RAM discs can be placed in cartridges which protects the recording surface.
DMR-E30 is the world's first DVD video recorder to offer Time Slip function. It provides the extended-time recording DVD-RAM: up to 12 hours (EP mode) and DVD-R: up to 6 hours (EP mode). Its Hybrid VBR technology delivers a high-quality picture. But that's not all! DMR-E30 features simultaneous recording and playback, advanced MPEG2 encoding, Dolby Digital (Dolby AC-3) 2-channel audio recording, and more.