In this tech-heavy company, we could understand if this straightforward looking DVD machine adopted the resigned look of a separated-from-the-herd, surrounded-by-peckish-lions wildebeest.
But this ain’t no ordinary bit of digital versatile disc kit: this DMREH60D is a fully loaded DVD recorder, complete with 200GB hard drive, on-board digital tuner, progressive scan video output ability and an SD card reader.
It also delivers digital surround sound via its optical out, and spins both DVDs and CDs. Oh, and this machine accepts all formats, including DVD-RAM. Not that you’ll use discs much – the hard drive can record up to 44 hours of TV in highest-quality XP mode, which looks practically indistinguishable from the original broadcast, or 355 hours in EP mode, which looks – let’s face it – extremely distinguishable from the original broadcast.
Crucially, the tuner’s a top performer and DVD movie playback impresses. But – and this is the ‘but’ that makes its test rivals slaver and Panasonic’s tail swish with a touch more anxiety – it’s simply not as intuitive as we’d like. Gulp… Not the gamers’ choice but get past the menus and the Panasonic serves up a fine palette.
Silver is fast becoming the finish of yesteryear, especially when it’s wrapped around a pretty uninspiring 4.5kg boxy shape. But, hey, it’s an inoffensive looking machine.
The Panasonic recorder is format-happy and accepts DVD-RAM, which is a decent format, but the 200GB hard drive means you rarely need discs.