What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 9 Nov 2009, 11:00am

Panasonic DMR-EX769

Tested at £240
80100
4

We’re struggling to get excited about a no-frills DVD/HDD recorder but this does a fine job of the basics

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For

  • Smart styling, easy to use
  • good tuner, faithful recordings
  • decent 1080p DVD over HDMI

Against

  • Tired interface
  • low on frills
  • relatively small HDD

This past year has seen a real dearth of DVD recorders. In fact, our DVD/HDD recorder duck was only broken in November when we cast our eye over Panasonic's DMR-EX89.

That £400 machine came with a 400GB hard disk. The DMR-EX769 is its budget sibling, with a specification list that's suitably stripped.

No-frills in every way  
That all-important hard-disk drive weighs in at a smaller, but still manageable 160GB – this should give you around 35 hours of recorded content in the highest XP mode.

You'll find no USB input or SD card slot, so if you want to play MP3s or view images, you'll have to get them on to a CD or DVD. There's also no support for DivX playback or ripping content to the HDD.

The more expensive 'EX89 also has a built-in Gracenote music database, allowing it to deliver track, album and artist information which you won't find on this machine.

Bright, clear TV images
TV images are bright, clean and clear via the incorporated Freeview tuner, and features such as pause live TV and chasing playback are still here.

We'd stick to XP mode to get faithful recordings – drop to the lower modes and you get increasing instances of mosquito noise.

The EPG is intuitive enough but does look a little dated, especially with Sky's GUI as a barometer.

Using the HDMI output it's a decent DVD player, too, with Star Trek looking colourful, detailed and stable, though it's comfortably beaten by DVD performance from a similarly priced BD player.

But if you're on a budget and this does everything you're after, there's little to quibble with in terms of performance.

See all our 2009 Best Buys

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