Panasonic DMR-XW380 review

  • £479

Fed up with paying monthly bills? Welcome to Freeview+HD – and DVD recording too!

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For

  • Fabulous HD & SD pictures
  • Upscaling
  • Exhaustive recording options

Against

  • Slow
  • Squashed EPG
  • Complex recording options
  • No DivX HD support

The Panasonic DMR-XW380 is one of the first Freeview+ HD recorder to come with built in DVD recorder.

Looking for a World Cup recorder? With the exceptions of set-top boxes from Icecrypt, Humax and i-Can, the first batch of Freeview HD kit has consisted of simple receivers, with almost no advanced features.

So step forward Panasonic, which along with Digital Stream has launched the first Freeview+ HD recorders in the UK. Panasonic, which already puts both Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners into its current batch of flat-panel TVs, is launching a bevy of hi-def recorders at the moment. Unbelievably the feature-rich DMR-XW380 is its most basic.

This DVD-cum-Freeview+HD recorder is up against some strong competition from within the Panasonic stable of 'Diga' digital recorders, where you'll also find Freesat HD models and two Blu-ray recorders, but it still constitutes a high-end – and to our mind, unique – way to interact with the new Freeview HD broadcasts.

Features

The DMR-XW380 has two Freeview HD tuners and a 250GB hard disk, enabling recordings to be made that can then be archived to DVD. Around 255 hours of standard definition recordings can be made, or roughly 65 hours of HD programming, though the latter can't be archived to a DVD in hi-def, of course.

Cue those top-spec Blu-ray models, though the DMR-XW380 does boast extras such as the pausing and rewinding of live TV and digital media-savvy SD card and USB slots. If you've got a Windows 7 PC or laptop it's even possible to remotely watch JPEG pictures and recordings (though not MP3s) stored on the DMR-XW380 via a broadband home network.

Although it's compatible with Dolby Digital Plus, this audio compressed audio codec isn't yet broadcast on Freeview HD. Of more interest is the DMR-XW380's ability to create Dolby Digital 5.1 and send it to a home cinema via its optical audio output for surround sound.

Tech Specs

Product TypeHD DVD Player/Recorder
Hard Drive Capacity250 GB
EthernetYes
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
USBYes
HDMIYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
DVIYes
Media FormatsDVD-RW, DVD+RW, CD-RW, DVD-RAM
Digital Audio Optical OutYes
Sound SystemDolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS
Number of Discs1
Brand NamePanasonic
Audio FormatsCD-DA, MP3, AAC
Video FormatsDVD Video, Video CD, AVCHD, WMV, DivX, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC, MPEG
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC)
Height59 mm
Width430 mm
Depth238 mm
ColourBlack
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelDMR-XW380
Product NameDMR-XW380 HD DVD Player/Recorder
Manufacturer Part NumberDMRXW380EBK
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

DIGA's H.264 encoder compresses the recorded programmes at a lower bitrates but retain its high-definition resolution, which takes up less space on the disc without compromising on picture quality as much. The images are crisp and clear due to advanced compression technologies that are optimized to match each scene. Freeview HD will bring HD channels from BBC, ITV and Channel 4, along with S4C HD in Wales, to your front room. Later in 2010, Five HD will come to Freeview. Imagine your favourite soaps and dramas, documentaries and even the 2010 world sports event in full HD glory.

Package Contents
  • DMR-XW380 HD DVD Player/Recorder
  • Remote Control
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)3.40 kg