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Panasonic DMR-XW380 review

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

Panasonic DMR-XW380
The Panasonic DMR-XW380 is an expensive Freeview HD recorder but it is packed with features for archiving your favourite shows


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


  • 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.


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.