Panasonic DMR-BW750 Blu-ray recorder

Feature-packed Blu-ray recorder with dual HD digital tuner and 250GB hard drive

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Panasonic DMR-BW750
  • Panasonic DMR-BW750
  • Panasonic DMR-BW750
  • Panasonic DMR-BW750
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • Exceptional image quality, plenty of inbuilt features and storage space, inbuilt dual HD digital tuner

Cons

  • Sluggish load times, confounding remote control

Bottom Line

The Panasonic DMR-BW750 is an excellent choice for people who want to record HD content off TV. With its 250GB hard drive, dual HD digital tuner and writable Blu-ray optical drive, there are plenty of options for media hoarders. Highly recommended.

Would you buy this?

Much like animals, some Blu-ray devices are more equal than others. The Panasonic DMR-BW750 Blu-ray recorder is the latest superior model to ‘hog’ the BD limelight; boasting a 250GB inbuilt hard drive, twin HD digital tuners and H.264 video recording. Naturally, all of the usual high-end features are present including Picasa/YouTube access, VIErA Cast support, an SD Memory Card slot, optical digital audio and 1080p upscaling.

Over the past few years, Panasonic has been one of the biggest purveyors of Blu-ray technology, with a track record that arguably trumps Sony’s. It presented the world with its first portable Blu-ray player (the DMP-B15) and Australia with its first Blu-ray recorder (the DMR-BW850. Now, the company has added another model to its Blu-ray recorder range — the Panasonic DMR-BW750.

The DMR-BW750 is a slightly more affordable alternative to the Panasonic DMR-BW850, which we reviewed a few months ago. It’s essentially the same product with a smaller 250GB hard drive (the DMR-BW850 boasts a 500GB hard drive). This will net you around 55 hours of recording time at the highest quality HD setting, compared to 110 hours with the DMR-BW850. Apart from memory, the only other distinguishing factor is size — the Panasonic DMR-BW750 is slightly thinner (59mm vs. 66mm), although its footprint remains unchanged (430x330mm).

The Panasonic DMR-BW750 looks exactly how a $1759 Blu-ray device should. If we have one reservation about the design, it’s that the disc eject button is on the opposite side of the disc drive, which is initially baffling. A pair of mirrored faceplates cover the tray-loading disc drive and front inputs (composite video, USB, S-Video, an SD card slot and a DV input are all included for easy day-to-day access). The cover also hides essential playback and recording buttons — handy for when the lounge-room gremlins steal your remote.

Speaking of remotes, we weren’t impressed with the DMR-BW750’s offering. While we appreciate the inherent difficulty in cramming so many functions onto a small device, some of the labels are needlessly obscure. (For instance, there is no clearly marked ‘Menu’ or 'Eject' button) To add insult to injury, the buttons aren’t backlit, which can be frustrating if you’re accessing the remote when viewing movies in a darkened room. On the plus side, the remote remained highly responsive throughout testing.

The Panasonic DMR-BW750’s main trump card is its 250GB internal hard drive, which can be used for recording and time-shifting digital television from the dual high-definition TV tuners. Naturally, you can also write HD content to Blu-ray disc; perfect for archiving favourite TV shows (or when your hard drive runs out of space). Rewritable BD discs may be pricey compared to DVD, but they retain the pristine quality of HD digital television — if you’re an AV enthusiast, the extra cost is worth it. Unfortunately, the DMR-BW750’s recording capabilities do not extend to YouTube: you can search the site and watch video clips, but that’s it.

To assess the Panasonic DMR-BW750’s playback performance, we hooked it up via HDMI to a 50in Pioneer KURO PDP-C509A307112 plasma TV. We then watched a Blu-ray sampler disc filled with movie previews and the Blu-ray edition of The Da Vinci Code. At this price point, there is very little to distinguish one Blu-ray model’s picture quality from another (i.e. — they’re all outstanding). The Panasonic DMR-BW750 exhibited the same sharp imagery and vivid tones as any of its high-end rivals. We also watched the standard-definition version of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. The Panasonic DMR-BW750 Blu-ray recorder did a great job of upscaling the movie’s CGI-enhanced vistas to 1080p. If you have an extensive DVD collection, you won’t be disappointed by its performance.

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