As an ex broadcast engineer, I can vouch for Panasonic equipment, both professional and domestic, generally being better made than Sony equipment. Bite the bullet and change to Panasonic. (I have no connection with either company).
This quote stood out for me from another thread considering the problems my mother is now having with her combi VCR/DVD Recorder. It's a silver Panasonic model so pre-Q3 2008 it's either the DMR-EZ48 or DMR-EZ47EK, whichever one it was, they weren't offering the combi VCR/DVD Recorders in black when my Mum bought hers, so I hope that helps narrow it down. When I'm back at my Mum's I'll edit the right model number in.
What's happened is, although the VCR side of my mother's recorder has no problems, the DVD side, when you insert a DVD it repeats the "power-up" clicking tone 4 times with a half-second break in between, then emits the lower "ejection" tone, and spits out the DVD. Doesn't matter which kind of DVD it is, whether it's a sellthrough, a Rewritable, -/+R/W (though it has rejected more plus than minus recently) or whether it's been finalised or not.
At the start of the year the unit was damaged when someone yanked on the aerial cable outside and it was dragged violently and probably knocked against the skirting and TV stand leg at least twice or three times. That didn't help matters but the playback issues were beginning to show before that incident occured.
After my experience with my DMR-EZ27, I am now left wondering whether Panasonic DVD recorders, much as we love them, are only destined to give you two problem-free years before they need a service, no matter how much or how little they've been used. Compared to my 2000 hours of recording, my Mum has barely scratched 100 hrs' playback from the DVD Drive and not even 100hrs recording (that's if she even owned a 25-pack of rewritables and filled all of them with LP footage- which she doesn't and hasn't) - and now it needs a service, which has been brought forward by a few months due to that damage.
So has anyone had a Panny recorder that's given more than two problem-free years, if you have I'd like to hear from you, otherwise my Mum might be looking at a different brand if she goes for a replacement.