Panasonic DMR-EX769 review

No-frills DVD/HDD recorder but it does a fine job of the basics Tested at £240.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

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


  • +

    Smart styling, easy to use

  • +

    good tuner, faithful recordings

  • +

    decent 1080p DVD over HDMI


  • -

    Tired interface

  • -

    low on frills

  • -

    relatively small HDD

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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.

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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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