"Why no 16:9 widescreen record ability?"3.0 starson by stevensmail2
Pros: Ease of use.
Cons: Cannot record 16:9 widescreen on +R or -R media
Summary: I just got this item today and noticed in the owners manual that it will only record in 16:9 aspect widescreen mode if you use DVD-RAM disks. Since I plan to use DVD-R this is a big disappointment. I called Panasonic and after 20 mins on hold they confirmed what I already suspected. No widescreen. The Sony RDR-GX300 does record 16:9 on DVD-R's so it definitely has an advantage. I guess you get what you pay for. Since I have regular DirecTV I probably only receive a 4:3 signal, but when I upgrade to DirecTV HD I will definitely want to replace this Panasonic with a Sony. I researched this purchase for about a month and didn't notice. Hopefully this review will help some of you before it's too late. I look at it this way. In a year when I get HD (when they finally have a variety of programming), any DVD burner I buy now will be obsolete anyway. I'd rather replace this $189 unit than a $350 Sony.Updated
My previous review refered to the lack of 16:9 widescreen recording ability on +R and -R media. I've now recorded almost 100 DVD's (-R format) on this thing and I must say I am more impressed every day. My -R's play on even older DVD players. Picture quality is exceptional! I especially like the flexible record mode which allows you to record a 2hr 15min movie without having to resort to 4hr recording mode (losing quality). You simply set this recorder to 2hr 15min mode and it fills the media perfectly! If you want a great recorder and you don't have HDTV buy this! If you have HDTV you'll want one that can record in 16:9 aspect ratio (like the Sony).