Panasonic DMR-BS750
Panasonic will bring a second Freesat/Blu-ray hard disk recorder to the UK in the spring; we have all the details

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

More after the break

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 modesHG 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.