Pros Easy to record, I did record on +RW with ease
Cons Connection directions not great, not intuitive for a new user
Summary I have never used a DVD Recorder before and consider myself to be a novice in the electronics arena. I had a lot of difficulty with installation because I did exactly what was in the instructions. I have digital cable and it didn't work. I was able to go to the Panasonic web site and find a configuration that worked. I still can't get my 6-channel sound working, even with the correct fiber cable.
The recording, labelling, etc is pretty easy and I figured it out quickly. Unlike the review, I had no difficulty recording and re-recording on a DVD +RW. The LP quality is very good for my needs.
I know from reading the manual that this unit can do a lot more than I am doing with it. However, I find that it's not all that intuitive. I feel like my grandmother trying to set the clock on her VCR. But I also find that spending some time with the manual and testing it out helps. Perhaps someone more familiar with the technology won't have the same learning curve. I think the major flaws are my limitations, not the unit's.
Pros records all formats of dvd's
Cons could'nt find any
Summary I just purchased this unit and right out of the box I recorded my first movie from VHS and did'nt have to read any manual. This unit is easy to use to say the least.I want to note that the pro's who tested this machine made claim that it had problems recording on DVD +RW DISC'S.I recorded my first movie using this disc and had absolutely NO PROBLEM AT ALL.It has many usefull features and I will give another review after I have used it for awhile.I do recomend this unit as panasonic has a good reputation with most of it's video equiptment. The price was also reasonable (circuit city's online) price was the lowest. Buy this unit.
Pros DVD-RAM features are TIVO-like; easily records to all formats, great value for price
Cons Many editing functions not available on formats other than DVD-RAM, takes some effort to learn
Summary The CNET review is right on the money for all features... drive select button confused me too. I did not have any problems with my homebrew DVDs and so far haven't had any compatability problems. Copying from my TIVO storage is supereasy. This was well worth the $169 at Circuit City.
Pros Compact. Reliable recording. S-Video "in" and "out" is huge!
Cons Large learning curve. Read your manual to get the most out of it.
Summary I've owned the DMR-ES15S which has no HDMI hook up so I am a little familiar with the Panasonic product line. Even though they are similar this unit was a perfect upgrade. If you have an HDTV LCD or Plasma screen but have standard satellite or cable you know the picture is lousy. Using the old addage, "you are what you eat", I ran the satellite box via the S-video out connection to the Panasonic's S-video "in" connector. Then connected the Panasonic to the LCD with an HDMI connector. Huge improvement in image quality – sharper, cleaner and better sound too. (the sound was piped in using the RCA connectors from the satellite).
Then the SD card connection and ability to copy its contents to a CD or DVD is awesome! Over you will not be disappointed.
Pros XP/SP/LP Image quality, Easy Interface
Cons Finicky, 'Piano' design make make higher than eye level awkward to use with eject button on the unit facing the ceiling(no eject button on remote).
Summary I have access to two other Panasonic DVRs, the ES15 and ES20 too. This is the most finicky of the three, having trouble intermitently with certain brands of DVD-R discs, SONY DVD-Rs are problematic, ocassionally Fuji and Taiyo-Yudens. No problem with TDK DVD-RWs. I would not rely on this recorder with important programming of time-shift recordings. The ES15 and ES20 do not share this problem and the latter has an eject button on the remote!The ES25 does have HDMI and Up-converting compared to the other two and an excellent price though. Panasonic offers an upgrading software on their website for this unit but I still have problems listed above after downloading the upgrade in the unit. I think owners need to inform Panasonic for the need to upgrade further if it is a software problem. Ultimately it's compatibility with certain discs(I have enough dvds turned coasters from this unit)that's the problem. Of course the unit doesn't tell you it has a problem with the disc until it is renederred unplayable.