- Simple and easy-to-use recording, great inbuilt editing tool
- Some noise and chromatic aberrations when upscaling DVDs, lacks a HD tuner despite HD upscaling
The DMR-EX77 seems to be having a hard time deciding what kind of device it wants to be. Although it upscales DVDs to high definition, it can't decode high-definition TV. Apart from this little contradiction however, it's generally a functional and easy-to-use recording unit.
Price$ 659.00 (AUD)
Panasonic's DMR-EX77 is a DVD/HDD recording combo, with an inbuilt standard-definition digital tuner. It's capable of upscaling DVDs to 1080p, which is a slightly strange inclusion, considering that the digital tuner is only standard definition. Half the unit's features seem to be HD-focused, while the other half are SD only. Still, the recording functionality to its 160GB HDD is top-notch, and an inbuilt card reader adds an extra dimension. Some problems with video upscaling, and the lack of a HD digital tuner are somewhat problematic though.
Recording is simple and effective. One-touch recording and time-shift functionality are both present, and simple enough to use, although time-shift must be manually activated. The lack of dual tuners prevents users from watching one channel whilst recording another; however the EX77 does allow you to watch programs you've recorded earlier, or DVDs, whilst you're recording to the hard drive.
A range of four separate recording modes, as well as an easy-to-use inbuilt editing tool further extend the usefulness of recording on the unit. In our tests, we recorded half an hour of commercial TV at the standard recording quality, and were able to quickly edit out the commercials, create chapters, and copy the file to a DVD within the next 15 minutes. This process was further facilitated by a fairly simple and easily navigable interface.
We did start to notice some problems with DVD upscaling when we came to test it though. Firstly, there was a fairly significant amount of noise, more than we're used to. Secondly, we also noticed some chromatic aberrations in certain areas, although these tended to be quite rare, and not overly overt. Apart from that, however, the upscaling definitely adds an extra dimension of clarity and resolution to the image, and makes DVDs a lot more viewable on high-definition screens.
The unit boasts a slimline design which is quite attractive, with the DVD tray and card reader on the front, along with easily accessible composite and S-Video connections. A full range of connections is available on the rear panel, including HDMI, with coaxial being the only notable exception. This shouldn't be a problem unless your sound system doesn't support optical audio input for some reason, though.
The remote control and inbuilt interface system are both quite simple and intuitive to use, and pleasingly, we didn't find ourselves having to rifle through manuals or guides to find simple options.
The DMR-EX77 isn't a bad unit by any measure, but its problem is that it has one foot on either side of the high definition/standard definition fence. While it offers DVD upscaling to 1080p, which is something that will only really appeal to users with large, high resolution TVs, it only includes a standard-definition tuner, which won't let users with such TVs get the most out of them. It's a bit of a problem, but if you don't mind that, then the EX77 is worth considering.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Kogan Agora 4G Pro review: the final word on Kogan's best smartphone
- 2 Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet (LTE) review: The tablet of choice for anyone on Android
- 3 Bose SoundLink Mini II Bluetooth speaker review
- 4 Apple MacBook Air 2015 review: Only better with time
- 5 Lenovo ThinkPad T550 laptop
Deals on PC World
- Networking, Wireless & VoIP
Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- Telstra TV will offer Netflix, Presto and Stan
- Sony's new whole-home speakers combine Google Cast and Apple AirPlay
- Google, Apple streaming devices shake up the TV market
- FreeviewPlus comes to Samsung TVs
- Watch Catch Up TV through the AerialBox T2100 set-top box
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTDesktop Engineering ManagerNSW
- FTField EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Network EngineerNSW
- CCMarketing Coordinator - World's largest search engine!NSW
- FTDevOps Consultant - Microsoft Experience - Digital ConsultancyVIC
- CCAccount Strategist | Sales Executive | Global Search EngineNSW
- FTBusiness Development Manager & Account ManagerVIC
- CCLead Generator - Software SolutionsNSW