Panasonic to launch Freesat HDD Blu-ray recorder in May

24 Feb 2009

Panasonic DMP-BD80
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Panasonic has today confirmed that it will launch a Freesat, twin HD tuner, 500GB HDD/Blu-ray recorder in the UK this summer. The announcement was made at the opening of the company's European press launch in Amsterdam this afternoon.

The DMR-BS850 Freesat recorder will include an SD card reader and Viera Cast internet connectivity, and is due on sale around May. The price is still to be confirmed.

It will be one of four new models in Panasonic's 2009 Blu-ray player/recorder line-up. The others are the DMP-BD80 (pictured) and DMP-BD60 – both players, not recorders – and the DMP-B15 portable player we first saw at CES in Las Vegas.

Prices will be approximately 400 Euros for the 'BD80, 350 Euros for the 'BD60 and 799 Euros for the portable 'B15.

The DMP-BD80 is equipped with Viera Cast internet connectivity, a 7.1 analogue output, SD memory card slot, USB socket and Viera Link remote control.

It also has a special 'playback information' function on the menu that enables the user to see the frame rate in mbps, type of soundtrack, quality of the video signal and other technical information on the Blu-ray disc being viewed.

The latter function, and 7.1 analogue output, are absent on the cheaper DMP-BD60.

Blu-ray home cinema in a box
As part of its Blu-ray strategy for 2009, Pioneer will also introduce four new Blu-ray home cinema in a box systems. The flagship model is the SC-ZT1 with wireless speakers. It's a 2.1 system as standard, but additional wireless rear speakers are optional to make it a full 5.1 system.

It will be joined by the slimline SC-BTX70 2.1 system, and two more conventional 5.1 Blu-ray home cinema systems – the SC-BT205 and SC-BT200.

All four systems will handle high-definition audio, have Viera Cast network capability, SD card slots for transferring digital media and support BD Live content. The SC-BTX70 also comes with a built-in iPod dock.

2009 plasma TV line-up
On the TV front, there are no fewer than five ranges in the 2009 Viera plasma line-up: X, S, G, V and Z models.

We've already reported on some of them here, and will bring you a full rundown of the entire range (hopefully with UK prices) tomorrow. But here's what we know so far about the plasma models:

Z1 series: flagship Neo PDP model, just 1 inch thick, Full HD/1080p wireless connectivity, aluminium finish, new V Real 4 Pro Driver processing, 600Hz intelligent frame creation, 54 and 46in, launches in June.

V10 series: Full HD, 42 and 50in Neo PDP models with 24p Smooth Film, THX certified.

G15 series: Full HD, Neo PDP, supports DiVX, DNLA networking and Viera Cast.

G10: entry-level Neo PDP models in 42, 46 and 50in sizes.

S10 series: Full HD plasma, V Real Pro 3 processing, 2,000,000: 1 contrast ratio in 50, 42 and 37in (not neo PDP)

X10 series: entry-level, HD-ready, V Real 4 processing, 100Hz double-scan models in 50, 42 and 37in (not Neo PDP).

We expect to get more details of the full Viera TV line-up, including the LCD models, and a demo of the Freesat HD/Blu-ray recorder tomorrow. More information to follow as soon as we get it.

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Excellent, I've been waiting for one of these to be produced!

Thats my next toy sorted!

Is anyone really that broke that they can not pay £2.50 a week for Sky HD?

Why not go back to eating cheap chickens, and watch Hugh Fernley Wittingstall whine about it on 4HD?

I have freesat in my bedroom and SkyHD downstairs and there is one HD channel on Freesat that is on all the time, and most of that is a loop of previews. Cheers BBC for not spending my license fee on HD programming.

Freesat need to sort this out if they want to be a viable alternative to Sky

We had a more in-depth briefing on these recorders this morning - updated story to follow...

Seems a shame not to have a larger TeraByte HDD seeing as they are so cheap these days.  

I've been watching Freesat through a PVR enabled HD satellite receiver for a year or so - love BBC HD (and ITV HD when it's on) and can't wait for more content. This Panasonic is absolutely the product I've been waiting for - means I can upgrade my satellite viewing and my upscaling DVD viewing in one swoop. If the picture and sound quality is up to it then £700 is probably not a bad price. Let's hope Sony and the others follow suit soon to creat a bit of competition in the market.

The recorder is a fabulous unit - it is designated the DMR-BW500 in Australia and I've had one since release in July last year.  Great piece of kit - so good in fact - and so easy to use, I convinced the in-laws to get one when they finally upgraded from their 25 year old CRT. I'm curious why they've gone Freesat rather than Freeview though?  Or will it do both?  No Freesat here of course so we have twin HD DVB-T tuners.  It goes well with BluRay too.  Although they were just over A$2,000 at launch, hey can be had for approx A$1600 here now - or roughly £700.


The reason they don't broadcast them in HD, is that they don't shoot them in HD - but as the cost of shooting and post-producing in HD comes down further, then maybe one day the populace will be able to enjoy them in all their 1080 glory. And although Sky is expensive they should be given their fair dues for bringing HD to a much wider audience than any other broadcaster. I have Virgin cable and they're as committed to HD almost as much as a banker is to honesty. So, I'm cabled up for Freesat and just waiting for the decoders to drop in price.

I have FreeSat HD and love the picture quality but I just wish there were more HD broadcasts. I'm surprised the BBC and ITV don't broadcast their big shows such as Eastenders, Corrie, X-Factor (not that I'm a fan of any of those) in HD, it would at least promote the format to the masses. There's no way I'm going to pay the price Sky charge for HD services, and any sensible people probably feel the same in this economic climate.

Any idea what the price of the DMR-BS850 will be?

This could change the world for ever.