Panasonic unveils a second Freesat/HDD Blu-ray recorder

25 Feb 2009

Panasonic DMR-BS750
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We've unearthed more details on the forthcoming Panasonic Freesat HDD/Blu-ray recorder we reported on yesterday.

There will in fact be two models available in the UK, the DMR-BS850 with 500GB hard drive, and the DMR-BS750 with 250GB capacity.

Panasonic remains coy about pricing, saying only that there will be a formal launch in the UK sometime in April/May when we expect retail prices to be confirmed.

However, having this morning seen both models at the company's European press launch in Amsterdam, here's what we do know.

Record to HDD or Blu-ray
Users can record high-definition programmes off the Freesat satellite tuner directly to the hard-disk drive - but not directly to Blu-ray disc.

High-definition recordings have to be compressed before they can be transferred from the HDD to a Blu-ray disc, otherwise the disc won't play in other Blu-ray players.

Also, some Freesat broadcast may have copy protection flags on them, so they will only record to the hard drive, and not to Blu-ray discs.

It takes about two to three minutes to record one hour of HD content from the hard drive to a Blu-ray disc, and four levels of compression are available.

Four compression modes

HG compression is the highest quality mode, at 12mbps, and Panasonic claims BD recordings done using this method are barely distinguishable from the original HD broadcast.

Users can also choose (in descending order of quality) HX, HE and HL compression levels, the latter being at a lowly 4mbps.

Up to 24 hours of high-definition content can be stored on a 50Gb Blu-ray disc, and 12 hours on a 25Gb BD disc, depending on the compression level used.

Both the new recorders are fitted with Viera Cast internet connectivity, BD Live playback, AVCHD playback from camcorders, Bonus View, a PHL Reference Chroma Processor and an SD memory card slot.

They're based on the Panasonic DMR-BW500 recorder already released in France and Australia.

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At the moment all Freesat HD content seems to be encripted so reviewers should pointing out that these machins are no good for archiving HD as most purchasers will not know. This is so all Freesat HD and Sky HD I think.  

sebpinski: if it has the same functionality as the model they released in Oz, then the answer is "yes". That's what I'm waiting for too. Smile

What I really want to know is: will it have the ability to take AVCHD recordings from an SDHC card and put them on a Blu-ray disc that can be playable on all players?