Panasonic's 2012 Blu-ray and HDD recorder line-up will no longer include Freesat models, but the Freeview HD products are boosted by an innovative DigaPlayer iPad/iPhone streaming app plus enhanced USB capabilities.
Users of the 2012 and existing Panasonic PVRs will also be pleased with the news that the irritating adverts are disappearing from the electronic-programme-guide (EPG).
Model numbers and exact specifications are still being finalised for the 2012 recorder line-up, which is due to launch in the UK in April.
At present, the DMR-BWT420 and DMR-BWT520 are 3D Blu-ray players with integrated, twin-tuner Freeview HD PVRs - 500GB and 1TB capacitiy respectively.
The DMR-BWT620 (not coming to the UK) and DMR-BWT720 add Blu-ray recording to 3D playback and twin-tuner Freeview HD recording. They also offer 500GB and 1TB capacity respectively, though 2TB was also mentioned as a possiblity for the flagship '720.
What's certain is that Freesat won't make an appearance, one suspects due to poor sales of earlier Freesat models in Panasonic's PVR range.
Use your iPad as a second TV
What the flagship Blu-ray recorders gain this year is Panasonic's new DigaPlayer app, which will allow users to stream live TV and recorded content to an Apple iPhone and iPad (Android app to follow).
As a Panasonic rep is ably demonstrating above, you can keep watching TV via one of your recorder's twin tuners while streaming live TV from the other over your home wi-fi network. You can also browse your recordings and any other multimedia content on your recorder's hard drive - even content on connected USB drives (of which more shortly).
The DigaPlayer system even supports streaming of HD content to your iPad, though we're guessing this would require you to have robust bandwidth on your home network. We'll test it out when we get review samples of the recorder and app.
Back up your recordings via USB
Enhanced USB connectivity also features in the new Panasonic recorder line-up, including the ability to back up the contents of your hard drive to an external USB drive, plus copy selected recordings on to a USB drive to watch elsewhere.
There are some copyright restrictions - for example you can register a maximum of eight USB devices with each recorder, and if you copy the entire content of your drive to a USB device then you'll only be able to playback from that unit.
We'll bring you confirmed model numbers and specifications - plus UK pricing - as soon as they become available ahead of that April launch.