Panasonic Dmrex77eb

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by jonnypb, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. jonnypb

    jonnypb
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    Looking to buy a panny 32" LCD and need a HDD recorder to go with it. Would want to keep it the same make really and have seen the PANASONIC DMREX77EB. Haven't found many reviews of it yet so wondered what people thought of this?

    Thanks
     
  2. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    It is generally a well regarded machine on this forum.
     
  3. jonnypb

    jonnypb
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    cheers, it's for the father in law so needs to be straight forward! are there any issues or problems with it that i should be aware of?

    Many thanks
     
  4. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    In common with many other DVDR's there can be aspect ratio problems under certain circumstances.

    There is a very long thread about it here:
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=533397&page=11
     
  5. MuksC

    MuksC
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    Hi. there are loads of threads where forum members have given their opinions on it and reported any glitches or problems with it. Select the search option above and search for "panasonic ex77" and you should find all the threads that discuss it. i was interested in this model yesterday so had a search and found quite a lot of good threads.
     
  6. jonnypb

    jonnypb
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    cheers, having a search now. after the comments you read are you still interested in it!?
     
  7. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    I presume your comment is expressing incredulity that someone could be after reading the threads.... but it needs putting in perspective.

    This is the place where users whine about their machines.
    That they find problems or limitations that frustrate them does not render the machines useless.
    All the best machines from all the top makers have threads which show they all have niggles.
    As long as you know what those problems are and can invoke the workarounds, where they exist, or put up with the limitations, then you'll have no problem.

    My comment in post 2 of this thread remains accurate.
    Most users love this machine.
     
  8. MuksC

    MuksC
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    yes I am still interested because as Gavtech said, all recorders have their faults and minor niggles, some are fundamental to their operation, and some are just minor inconveniences for the user.

    I'm deciding between the Samsung Sh855M (250GB hdd, Freeview, records + & -, has USB port and plays DivX) and the Panasonic EX77 (150GB hdd, Freeview, records + & -, no USB but has an SD card slot, and doesn't support DivX).

    as I understand from reading the other theads, the Samsung has problems with it's EPG, only 4 channels shown on screen and clunky, basic, poor operation, and no names of programmes shown in your recorded programme list. Transfer from hdd>dvd is very slow, and you can't set the quality mode for progs you record using the timer record function. Also trimming programmes (removing adverts etc.) isn't accurate, it's wrong by a couple of seconds at either end of where you cut it. also the remote control has been criticised for having too many (small) buttons and in the wrong place, not intuitive but confusing. it has twin tuners though (1 digital, 1 analogue) and has the Pause live-tv function.

    The Panasonic on the other hand has a much better EPG and menu system, displays the programme names in a list after you've recorded them (instead of just showing times and dates as the Samsung does, although you can rename the progs after recording, but it's additional hassle for you), has a high-speed hdd>dvd transfer option, and doesn't appear to have the innaccuracy with the trimming option (at least i haven't read that it does anyway). its remote looks cleaner and has larger buttons and in different colours, so looks more user-friendly. single digital tuner only, no pause live-tv funtion.

    so from all this, the Panasonic looks the better option, but from pics i've seen of it on the 'net, it doesn't look as nice or sleek as the Samsung, and has a smaller hdd (could consider the EX87 which also has a 250GB hdd, but it's about £100 more expensive).

    at DigiUK.com, the Samsung SH855M and Panasonic EX77EB-K (the black one, not the silver) are both £230, (silver is more expensive but i want a black one anyway), so it's these little preferences that need to be considered when making a choice. I intend to purchase a 3 year extended warranty for around £70 (works out to around 48p a week) so in case there are any problems i can get it repaired or replaced, so that additional cost takes the full purchase price to around £300, which is why i'm considering the choices carefully.

    both will no doubt be better than having no recorder, but when you're about to spend a considerable amount of money, you don't want to make the wrong choice, that's why i'm not commiting to either one yet. something inside tells me that whichever one i go for, i'll have regrets, the grass is always greener and all that.

    but overall, going by the amount of dissatisfaction expressed in the SH855 Owners thread, the Samsung is the slightly inferior of the two recorders i'm torn between.

    so it's now down to me whether i can live with the niggles, but larger hdd and sleek look of the Samsung, or accept a smaller hdd and a less attractive unit to look at in the Panasonic but which has better functionality.

    a third option is to just buy a very basic dvd recorder and a dedicated PVR or set top box, which will probably be cheaper, depending on how advanced the PVR is. decisions decision...

    here's a review of the EX77 you might want to read: Click, watch the video clip too.

    another review: Click

    it looked quite nice in that previous video review, so I'm increasingly leaning towards this over the Samsung.

    a cheaper alternative (£180) is the Wharfedale from Argos: Click, 160 GB hdd, 2 tuners (1 digital, 1 analogue), has pause live-tv function. probably a lot cheaper quality than you can expect from Panasonic and Samsung though. I read it's made by Vestel for Argos with Wharfedale-branding, and has a Samsung hdd inside it.
     
  9. MuksC

    MuksC
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    ordered the EX77, decided it wasn't as bad looking as I imagined from the first photos I saw of it, and the functionality and ease of use outweigh its smaller hdd, lack of USB port and uncompatibility with DivX, the last 2 things being quite unimportant to me anyway so not things I will miss.
     
  10. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    Good luck with it.
     
  11. MuksC

    MuksC
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    Cheers Gav.

    will report my findings here once i've received it and had a play with it :)
     
  12. MuksC

    MuksC
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    got it today, it's fantastic!

    have only recorded to hdd so far, but it's very impressive. set itself up within minutes, found all available freeview channels and they're all crystal clear, no problems with the freeview part of the recorder. menu/EPG is nice and easy to use and scrolls quickly, and looks like a rip-off of Sky's, but that's a compliment not a criticism.

    in XP quality, it can record 36 hours, SP is around 75, LP is around 150 and EP is 293 hours. clips recorded in XP quality are as pin-sharp as the original freeview output, and the stuff recorded in EP (lowest quality) is also watchable, it's no way near as low as i feared. it's like watching an old videotape, some slight loss of edge and face detail, but adequate if you need to record a lot of tv shows that you're just gonna delete after watching.

    tried out the "Chase" recording/playback function. you just press record, then go into the menu and select the show you're currently recording from the list (the clips in the list start playing in a small preview window when you hover over them) and then you can pause, rewind, and forward (up to the point it's currently recorded up to), just like Sky+.

    you can jump back to the latest point in the prog by pressing Stop, and can stop recording the prog by pressing Stop again.

    gonna try out the timer record tonight and recording to disc over the weekend, but so far i'm very impressed :D:thumbsup::clap:

    also programmed the remote to control our Toshiba tv so that's also a handy feature.

    and by the way, i wouldn't recommend spending extra for the EX87 with larger hdd, the quality is more than adequate on even the lowest setting on the 77, and 293 hours is surely enough for anyone?

    i was considering the 87, but i couldn't justify the extra money for just a larger hdd (and DVD-Audio playability, but i don't need that anyway. it also has a nice shiny metal-effect strip across the front where it has the model number and other details, the EX77 is just plain black plastic). i'm glad i saved the money and got an extended warranty instead, covered for even accidental damage.

    have you made a decision about this recorder Bubble502?
     
  13. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    ' Sounds like a good start.

    Good report.

    One point:

    There is a different way of thinking of this. IF you plan is to delete immediately after watching, why compromise on quality? You may as well enjoy watching in high quality ... as you'll get the space straight back.


    Many new users experiment as you are doing naturally enough, to see how the qualities compare, but bear in mind that the best compromise of quality versus space has been built into the machine from scratch - in the form of the default SP and as a general rule it is always best to stick with this quality for everything you record.
    Go up to XP for things you consider very special, and only go down to the lesser qualities when you are forced to for space reasons... and really I'd say pretend you dont have EP... Its a joke mode.

    Have fun.. and keep us posted.
     
  14. jonnypb

    jonnypb
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    95% sure i'm getting one for the father in law this weekend. Also getting him either the panasonic TX32LMD70 or TX32LXD70. Had a look at both of the screens side by side today and you could hardly tell the difference (was watching football on them) so I suspect he'll opt for the cheaper LMD model. Got quite a good deal on the TV, not the cheapest but not far off internet prices but they'll do the EX77 for £200 :thumbsup: From Peter Tyson which is a local family run business who provide a 2nd to none service both pre sales and after sales
     
  15. MuksC

    MuksC
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    @ Gavtech, yes good point, record in XP if you're just gonna delete it immediately.

    I used the timer record function last night and it worked perfectly. and you don't even have to switch it to standby mode to make the timer recording start (as you have to do with the Samsung 853/855, to the annoyance of many owners). if watching a different freeview channel, a message comes on-screen saying "Timer Recording about to start", then it just changes to the correct channel and records.

    if you have put it into standby mode already, the clock shows (as it always does in standby mode) and 1 minute before the timed prog is about to start, the REC symbol on the display blinks, then it stays lit once the recording begins. the unit doesn't power itself up though, it stays in standby mode while recording and the clock remains (i thought it might switch to a counter, but it doesn't).

    adjsting the start and end times is super-easy too, once you've select it from the EPG, you go into a menu by pressing the Check Prog button, and you have a list of the progs you've set to record in chronological order. all the details are easily adjustable (start/end/date/quality/drive to record to) so you can add extra minutes to the start or end to make sure you get the whole programme.

    the only very very very minor point is with the date. the prog i set to record started at midnight, but i wanted to adjust it to get a couple of minutes before it started, in case it started early. so i toggles the start time down to around 23:57, but the date didn't change automatically to the 13th Sept, it remained at 14th Sept as it would have been had i left it alone to start recording at 00:00.

    so if i hadn't noticed, it would have recorded tonight instead of last night. but this was easily recognisable upon checking the list of Timer Recordings, when it wasn't the first prog in the list. so I went bacl and toggled the date back 1 day, so it then became the first prog in the list.

    i suppose the same could happen if something starts at 23:55. if you think the first few minutes are not important and toggle the time forwards (to 00:02 for example) you need to adjust the date forward by 1 day also, or else the time has already passed almost 24 hours ago, so it's wont record. it will probably give you a warning message to say the time of recording has already passed so it won't set so you'd notice there was something wrong with your settings, but it would be nice if the date adjusted itself automatically if you made these little adjustments.

    that's the extent of my woes with it really :)

    the power save mode is quite good, but with it off you can have the Sky pass-through thing, which means you can continue watching Sky on AV2 of the tv even though the recorder is off, and the Sky box is connected to the tv through AV1. but i've turned it off because it's no hassle to press the AV button on the remote to change back to the "proper" Sky source on the tv, and save some electricity at the same time.

    i'm glad i didn't let the twin tuner of the Samsung attract me towards it, because while connecting it up yesterday i connected the aerial directly to the tv just to see what the signal was like. BBC1 was watchable, then it got worse for BBC2, ITV1 and Channel 4 were really bad, and 5 was pretty much non-existent, so the analogue tuner would have been a waste anyway as the signal is so bad for me.

    i had a go at the Partial Delete, removing some adverts from a prog. it's very easy to do a self-explanatory, just select the start and end position of the "cut(s)" you want to make. when playing it back though, the seam between the join was noticeable, the picture freezes for about 1 second before resuming.

    I will try it the other way (creating chapters and deleting the adverts) and see if it's more seemless doing it like that.

    next thing to do is see if there's a way to get the freeview channels in a Favourites list, and if i can re-order some channels so the similar ones are grouped together (ITV3 and ITV4 are very far apart for example, so need to be put next to each other for convenience).

    overall though, i still can't fault it.

    shame Sky One and Two aren't on Freeview though, that would have been the icing on the cake for me to easily record The Simpsons everyday as I rarely get time to watch it when it's on.

    also gonna try out recording the Formula 1 this weekend and do the Chase playback, forwarding through the adverts will be a very welcome experience!
     
  16. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    You may find timeslip is useful for that:
    Push the timeslip button then dab the 'North' button on the Nav Wheel 3 or 4 times to move forward the appropriate number of minutes. Then Press OK.
     
  17. Badger37

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    An interesting thread this - thanks for the informative replies from all concerned.
    I've also been looking at either the EX77 or a Samsung, and can't make my mind up!

    Gavtech - in another thread [ http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=536855&page=13 ]
    I see you've been having freezing issues with your Panasonic. After reading the thread (very large) I can't work out if you've resolved your problems or not - can you let me know?

    I take it the freezing issues haven't been affecting people with the EX77?


    MuksC - thanks for the very comprehensive report.
    Please keep us updated with your views.
    The one thing you didn't mention is the noise of the unit - are you happy with fan/HDD noise?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  18. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    Hi Badger37

    I never DID have freezing issues with my Panasonic ... because I never possessed one of the range of machines that was affected.:D

    The freezing issue affected the previous generation of machines only [ EX75 / 85 etc] and in any case was resolved by a software update to V1.16.

    The current generation of machines, which include the EX77, use a different reception software and also a different tuner and have never suffered from this problem.

    You may see the very occasional report of someone suffering freezing who has an EX77 ... but this is a problem of their particular reception and not a problem of the machine... and reception problems of that nature affect all machines.
     
  19. Badger37

    Badger37
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    Thanks Gavtech. That's good news.
    In case I get the wrong end of the stick (again...) what model of digital recorder have you got?
     
  20. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    I'm 3 generations back with the EH60D.
     
  21. MuksC

    MuksC
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    @ Gav, yes i had already tried using the Time Slip button on the first day, but i couldn't get it to work, but i consulted the manual and could do it after that (i was just doing it wrong). i think for the F1 or soaps, i found it easier to just use the fast-forward search, as some adverts can be 2.5 minutes, others can be 4 minutes, quite inpredictable, so i found it easier to just forward it while i could see the picture.

    i've used the timeslip to jump larger timer periods though and it's a nice feature.

    @ Badger37, re noise, there isn't any from the hdd as far as i'm concerned (maybe that's just due to the units physical position in the room in relation to where i sit while using it).

    we have a Toshiba 3387DB like this:

    [​IMG]

    with a Sky box in the top shelf of the stand, the dvd recorder in the 2nd shelf and a vcr in the bottom, with a glass panel in front of them all in the door, so when its being used i can't hear anything because any noise is being shielded and the sound from the tv is covering any noise being produced anyway.

    but even when i was sat right in front of it on the first day, with the stand doors open, i couldn't pick up any noise.

    haven't tried using any discs yet though, so maybe the disc drive will make some slight noise, but i can't imagine it being like a generator. I'll confirm this after playing around with it with the doors open though, just to be sure.

    oh and i found the "create chapter" way of editing adverts and unwanted parts to be the easiest, because you can do it while watching the prog in a small preview window if you access it through the recorded programmes menus (Direct Navigator), or you can do it while actually watching the prog properly, all it takes is a press of the yellow button to create a chapter point, simple as that, 1 button. then once you've got to the end of the prog, you just go into the Direct Navigator, view the chapters and delete the bits you don't want, it's so simple.

    one thing i discovered and wasn't too happy about was the EPG menu while watching a prog on freeview. i initially said it was just like Sky's on-screen prog/channel selector, but it's not. while watching something, if you press "i" for info, you get the channel details and press it again for the programme info/synopsis (same exact text as Sky), but you can only see what is on Now and Next, whereas with Sky you can go forwards for around 6 hours i think. so if you want to know what's on later than the next programme, you have to go into the guide.

    it's no big problem, but i wonder what stopped them going the whole way and doing it like Sky, as Now and Next seems a bit of a cheap feature. could it be something to do with copyright issues, and maybe being sued by Sky? or have other PVRs copied Sky and Panasonic have just been cheap?

    i re-jigged the wiring behind the tv and all the various things attached, removing as many cables/wires/splitters as i could, and it seems to have enhanced the signal strength for the freeview channels.

    previously, i had a splitter in the wall aerial socket, providing a dedicated aerial signal to the recorder, while the other one went to the Sky box then looped to the vcr and then to the tv (I could have just looped the recorder into the system, but thought it might degarde the quality if it went through other devices first (could have looped it in first though, but nevermind)).

    i decided that as the analogue signal is rubbish anyway, that i didn't need it going to the tv, vcr, or Sky box, so removed them all and the splitter and connected the recorder directly to the wall aerial socket, which seems to have made a difference when i did the signal quality test before and after making the changes.

    still amazed at how easy it is to use and the ease with which i could edit recorded programmes. it really is a joy to use and i can recommend it to everyone, i wish i had got one a lot lot sooner.
     
  22. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    Understand.

    Another useful navigation option for moving through ad breaks can be the 'Manual Skip' button... which takes you forward in 30 second increments.
     
  23. MuksC

    MuksC
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    used discs for the first time today.

    i sat in front of the unit with the cabinet doors open and tv sound muted and the sound from the dvd drive was no more than a normal dvd player. i could hear the high-speed whine of the disc spinning, and it makes a couple of noises when you first insert the disc as it reads, but it's pretty silent. i couldn't even hear any fan noise (the fan sticks out at the back as if they just attached it onto the back of the unit afterwards), listening to something on the tv you can't hear any noise. with the cabinet doors closed again there's no sounds whatsoever, it's all being shielded.

    i needed to consult the manual to record to disc as i couldn't figure it out myself, but it all became clear after a few minutes reading and trying different things.

    i transferred a couple of progs onto a RW disc which i needed to format first (because it's a disc i borrowed from my sister who uses it with her Samsung recorder), but that only took a minute or less and it was then ready to be copied to.

    there are a couple of ways to do this. either create a playlist by selecting the progs (or just individual chapters) into a playlist, setting the order you want them in, then choosing the playlist from the Advanced Copy menu.

    or you can just go straight to the copy menu and select the progs from the list and then go into the next option screens and finally copy it across.

    recording up to around 85% of the discs capacity took around 25 mins with the high speed copy left on Maximum, and it displays a countdown letting you know how long it will take, so you're free to go away to do something else and come back later.

    it then auto-finalised the disc which took around 2 minutes i think (no countdown this time).

    i then took the disc out and tried it on a separate Sony dvd player, it worked fine.

    i then formatted the disc again, put something else on it, tried it out again and it was perfect too.

    so it just takes about half an hour to learn and understand what to do, but it becomes so easy once you've successfully done it once.

    one thing i tried was to copy a 1-hour prog off a DVD-R my sister made for me, which i then wanted to add to a new disc with a new 1-hour prog on my hdd.

    the niggle was that on the DVD-R, the prog i wanted was 2nd, after a 1-hour prog, but to copy it to the hdd it would have to be done in real time, and would only play the dvd from the very start. so to get the prog i wanted, i'd have to record for 2 hours, then delete the 1st 1-hour prog i don't want anymore.

    i could do it an easier way by playing the DVD-R from the Sony player, and start it from the start of the 2nd 1-hour prog (the one i want to transfer), but i felt the quality might be less than if it was recorded within the Panasonic unit itself.

    so have left it so far but will compare the quality of the Sony player feeding the prog into the Panasonic, with the Panasonic's own player feeding the prog to its hdd.

    the difference probably won't even be noticeable.

    it would have been good if you could find the point at which you want the DVD-R to play from, pause it, then switch to the hdd, select "copy from dvd to hdd", then unpause the DVD-R. but i couldn't find how to do it so don't think it's possible.

    and it can't be transferred to hdd from dvd in high speed either, probably to stop people copying real dvds and making fake copies to sell.

    still a great machine though, i'd still highly recommend it to everyone.
     
  24. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    Hi MuksC

    Playlists are really too cumbersome for straight copying like this. Their best use comes in the ability to recombine split programmes ... or to do creative non-destructive editing.
    You may find this post helpful in regard to playlists:
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5183865&postcount=7

    It's unusual to copy DVD-R's this way... but as a workaround you could have used the normal high speed navigation to zoom through the first programme whilst copying... to get to the second programme [ albeit time-slip does not work in this mode unfortunately] . When complete you could edit out the unwanted high speed section.

    Consider using RAM discs for some applications. They always permit and high speed to or from the hard disk. Programmes can be bounced endlessly and losslessly between the two.

    Commercial DVD's cannot be copied at any speed, under any circumstances on any [ legitimate] DVDR's. The copy prevention system prevents it.
     
  25. MuksC

    MuksC
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    ah yes, i could have just fast-forwarded through the 1st 1-hour prog and cut that bit out later, i assumed the function would be disabled once you started recording but probably not.

    and i wasn't trying to record commercial dvds onto DVD-R, just from the DVD-R my sister created with tv shows. i thought there might have been some sort of system in the recorder that disallowed the copying of commercial dvds, but allowed you to high-speed copy stuff from DVD-Rs.

    but i guess it amounts to the same thing, someone may have copied a commercial dvd onto DVD-R, and then tried to make many high-speed copies of the DVD-R for selling, so it makes sense to not allow high-speed copy from DVD-R too, now that i think about it.
     
  26. Franco50

    Franco50
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    I'm looking for a decent Freeview PVR/DVD just now and this machine is currently in pole position. Just one thing I'm curious about (apologies if it has been mentioned in this thread already but I am at work just now and didn't have time to study every post in detail) - this review link previously quoted

    http://www.trustedreviews.com/tvs/review/2007/05/08/Panasonic-DMR-EX77-HDD-DVD-Recorder/p1

    mentions that the machine will upscale DVDs and TV recordings but does it not also upscale normal TV transmissions, i.e. if you are just using the Freeview box facility to watch a programme? :confused:
     
  27. Gavtech

    Gavtech
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    It upscales everything that goes through it... however I must comment that the statement on that review page:
    'The beauty of upscaling recorders is that you can not only boost pre-recorded DVDs to full hi-def resolution, but also your TV recordings.'​
    ... is a blatant misrepresentation of the truth.

    What you end up with is an SD source which has been upscaled to HD resolutions... which is nowhere near the same as ''full hi-def resolution".

    Frankly I'm fed up with this basic industry lie.
     
  28. Franco50

    Franco50
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    Thanks Gavtech. Yes I am fully aware that upscaling is not full blown HD quality and someone like Trusted Reviews should know better! My reason for asking is that I currently have one of these Goodmans HDMI Freeview boxes which makes quite a difference to the pic quality on my Hannspree LCD. I wanted to make sure the normal TV output from the Panasonic was upscaled before committing to it. If I do get this PVR it will mean I don't have to use the Goodmans box, a Pioneer HDMI DVD player and an HDMI switcher box (the latter due to the fact the Hannspree only has one HDMI input). :rolleyes:
     

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