Pros The remote
HQ widescreen recording with all media
Double Layer disc recording
HQ 2 hour recordings
USB music and pix
SD cards compatible
S-Video in front and back
CD and CDrw playback
Cons no eject on remote
no component in
HDMI out ony
price might be a bit high
no Divx playback
no hard disc recording
Some computer recordings cause the unit to freeze and require an unplug and restart meaning the clock must be reset
Summary After trying and returning lesser DVDR units (some more expensive too) I am more than thrilled at the quality of the recordings I've made. Widescreen recording IS possible in every DVD format using a S-video cable if your cable box allows it. My cable box allows me to set the aspect ratio 4:3 or 16:9 (or 480P, 720P, 1080i/P) Yes, those pricey HDMI and component cables are only allowed for video out, but not video in. I almost didn't buy the Panasonic DMR-EA18k DVD recorder because of the 2 star review that claimed that HQ widescreen recording was possible only using RAM Discs. Wrong, despite what the manual says. I've used DVD-/+R, DVD-/+RW and DVD-R DL discs with excellent widescreen results. I record widescreen programs off of Comcast Cable's HD DVR with HQ results. Here's how: connect the S-video cable to the S-vid out on the cable or satellite DVR then connect the other end to the S-video in on your HDTV. Choose whichever recording mode you like from 1 hour to 6 (8 hours with DL discs ) 1 to 2 hours has the best quality IMO. Make sure the aspect ratio is 16:9 and the 720P or 1080i/P is correct. Choose the program you want to save and then press the record button on the remote or the unit itself. Be sure to press pause to filter out commercials and unwanted programing then press pause again to restart recording at the proper time. I use the HDMI out from the DVDR to the HDMI in on the TV (no audio cable needed, of course). This connection upconverts the 480i/p standard TV output as well to look even more fantastic on a HDTV. The EA18K also upconverts homemade DVDs and TV signals using the component cables (though not commercial DVDs). Most other DVDR's don't do this directly for TV programs using HDMI or component cables! That's a major plus in my book. I have not tried to record directly from the TV.
To review my connections, the Panasonic EA18k is connected to the HD cable box using the S-video cable and RCA composit audio cables with HDMI connected to HDMI 2 on my TV. DVDR must be turned on to view TV when not recording. On my TV's HDMI 1 I have a direct connection to the HD cable box HDMI out to get the full 1080P viewing experience when not recording.
Pros Good recording and playback quality. Loaded with great features.
Cons Will not record in widescreen format to anything except to a dvd ram disc.
Summary This product could have been the bang for the buck dvd recorder if Panasonic had not left out the one thing that most people will want in a dvd recorder; the ability to record widescreen broadcast to a dvd-r disc in this era of widescreen viewing.
Pros Tons of options. Upconverting looks wonderful whether it's a DVD or recording from HDTV via DVR. Clear manual.
Cons Put in a CD to listen to music and it takes about 30 seconds before you hear anything and then it comes in partway through the song. This could be due to my home theater setup, but it seems they could have optimized the start up process more.
Pros Nice features and an overall nice design.
East of programming.
Cons Seriously - this is not that much better than VHS.
Summary Unless there's something I'm missing, or I just have higher expectations, I'm very dissapointed with the quality of recordings. I have an HDTV (and yes, my DirectTV is HD) and it never looks all that great unless I'm in the fastest recording mode. Even then, it's not all that great. I'm open for suggestions, but as it stands now, saying this device has outstanding recording quality is a huge stretch.
"DON"T DO IT..."on by Tongabound
Pros Good picture quality, nice features others don't offer, nice design.
Cons VERY poor quality, loud, slow loading dvd's, confusing screens
Summary Sent back twice in six months. Will not buy another Panasonic DVD Recorder. Very disappointed that it received high ratings.
This unit has a software problem that runs across all models. My father has the EA48 and has the same issues.
It ruins every DL DVD I record. Unit resets for no reason and ruins DVD that was being recorded, Unit spontaneously shuts off ruining DVD that was being recorded.
I have too many CON's to mention.
This units does record a great picture, has many novel features, but these are all outweighed by it's poor design and tendency to ruin DVD's.
I had a SONY DVD recorder prior to this unit. It lasted three years and recorded hundreds of DVD without problem. I think I will go back and get a SONY.