Pros Being able to one touch record from VHS to DVD
Cons Size of unit, it is like a VCR was 20 years ago, BIG.
Summary This is my first DVD Recorder model and I have to say, I was cautious after reading about how terrible it is on this site. After using it to copy recorded shows, football games and Movies from my DirecTV Tivo directly onto this recorder, I must say the bad reviews are not accurate. The Panasonic model is easy to use, works perfect and hasnt had any trouble with the new 16x DVD-R Media, or the 8x DVD-R.
I have moved over 60 hours of recordings from my TIVO unit to DVD's and it has been painless.
Pros Panasonic reputation, DVD Player works well.
Cons Locks up, does not recognize recorded DVD-RAM media.
Summary Complicated instructions, Media use is confusing, +/- DVD format compatibility. Unit locked up three times in first 24hrs after writing to a DVD-RAM disc. Would not play media that had been transferred from VHS to DVD-RAM, says incompatible disk. A hardboot then recognizes the DVD but still no recorded material. Returning this unit today. This technology may still be too new for adequate reliability. Raz
Pros Easy VHS-to-DVD conversion
Cons Limited editing features, esp. when not using DVD-RAM discs
Summary I bought my unit from Circuit City last week for $259 + tax.
After reading other's reviews, I expected the setup to be difficult but it went smooth.
Copying VHS to DVD is very easy.
Quality looks very close to the original VHS source.
So far I have dubbed about 10 VHS tapes. I haven't finalized them all yet but the ones that I have look pretty good and work on all of the other DVD players that I have tried.
One thing that I notice however, is a band of artifacts along the bottom of the recorded DVD. If my tapes were of good quality to begin with this might be a deal breaker but since the picture was not that great to start with, I don't mind the band per se. Although, I will call customer service to see I can get rid of it (Note: there is new firmware for this DVD on the web, I haven't downloaded it yet cuz things are working pretty smooth so far)
I am using Sony 1X-2X DVD-RW and 8X DVD-R discs. I have had no issues with either yet.
I did a lot of research before I bought this unit and I think it is among the best for the money. And so far i would still recommend it.
Pros it worked for four months before dying
Cons Panasonic unable to fix dead unit after 6 weeks (so far)
Summary I purchased this unit in December 05. It's imperfect, but I was basically satisfied, and didn't even have problems with the directions that so many reviewers seem to dislike. Then it died in April. It was a complete and sudden failure. It would not read discs or play VHS; the clock and all programming features went screwy and could not be reset. I called Panasonic and they sent me to a service center. Eventually the service shop gave up, and they shipped it to Panasonic about 2 weeks ago. Panasonic still has it. I spoke with customer service today (exactly 6 weeks after dropping it off for service) and was given no information as to when I could expect a fixed unit or a new unit. Apparently there is a necessary part that cannot be obtained, by anyone, anywhere. Based upon other reviews, it appears that Panasonic produced a flawed product. That happens even to good companies. But it also appears that Panasonic has no idea how to fix it, and refuses to acknowledge its failures. That is unacceptable. Panasonic customer service representatives are all very polite and they are good at apologizing, but they cannot get anything done, and have no authority to do anything except to promise more delays. Stay away.
Pros One touch dubbing really works on non-copyright tapes
Cons Instructions weren't clear on need/how to finalize DVD. Instructions somewhat confusing in general.
Summary After reading other opinions I almost didn't buy. I am glad I tried it. My main purpose was to copy my old VHS tapes to DVD. Had tried doing through my computer, but the process took 6-8 hours/tape and then failed. With this device it takes just the actual length of the tape plus 15 minutes to finalize. BUT, I failed twice (I thought) because my DVDs wouldn't play until I found the "finalize" instructions; the 2 DVDs I had done finalized perfectly and now play great.
TIP: If your tape is more than 1 hour 55 minutes long, I recommend you stop dubbing at that length, finalize, then dub the rest of the movie to a second disk.
NOTE: Only my older tapes are not copyrighted. But this is getting about half my collection on DVD, and that is making lots of room in my storage area and preserving the movies.
Quality of DVDs recorded is great. This is so simple when you do it right! Just what I wanted.