Pros video capture quality is good.
Cons Firewire does NOT work. Un-flashed bios locks-up.
Summary First unit locked-up after one burn.
Second unit I flashed the bios with the latest upgrade. After that it worked well with vhs -> dvd dubbing. However, when I tried to do a firewire -> dvd burn... unit locked up at ~ 1hour into the burn.
Tech support acknowledged the issue and said I was lucky to get the hour. Their opinion was that firewire did NOT work most of the time.
NOTE: First call to tech support (On first unit) was to say the least LAME. He had NO clue... He read the script well, but his diagnostic logic was POOR.
Second call (on second unit) was better; she acknowledged the issue was common but couldn't offer any solution.
My opinion: I've used other Panasonic products and was well pleased with their quality. But the design flaws on this unit had to be know by Panasonic. This product was NOT ready for production. Panasonic has lost a customer.
Pros Looks good and competitive!
Cons Doesn't record or playback!
Summary Purchased in Nov 2005 quit in Jan 2006. Worked two months and quit recording and no playback on new commercial media as well as home-recorded DVD and VHS. There is not much more to add other than for the $320 cost at Best Buys I would expect a couple years service out of an electronic device. If you want a reliable unit don't waste your money on this one!
Pros Works well... when it works
Cons Wastes DVDs, locks up, missing features
Summary I previously had the ES30V which worked well, but broke. I replaced it with this ES40V when I needed to make copies of VHS tapes.
As others have reported, it has problems finalizing DVDs and will destroy them so that they are unreadable on anything. This wastes the DVD plus the time it took to record it. It also locks up sometimes, requiring one to reboot (hmmm....I didn't think this was a Windows machine!) I will probably end up returning this unit (I love Costco!) I did upgrade the firmware on this to see if that will solve some of the problems, but I have not had time to verify this yet.
My other complaint is that they removed a number of features that were on the older ES30V. The "phrase saver" feature was removed and now, for any timed recordings, the unit must be powered off or it will not record. This was not the case with the previous model and is now a real pain.
When the unit is working, it does work fairly well and makes good quality copies. The ability to create chapters on a DVD-R or +R does not exist and is probably the biggest drawback of this unit. Panasonic support is a joke.
Pros Great for one button dubbing VCR to DVD
Cons manual not user friendly- called Panasonic, waited 45 minutes and gave up
Summary I have been wanting to convert home movie video tapes to DVD for a long time but waited for lower pricing. I think for my main purpose it's excellent.Updated
I was pleasantly surprised to find the first time I converted a home video to DVD to find it automatically added chapters at every video stop/restart.Updated
The Editors' comment about chapters not being added is incorrect. I was pleasantly surprised when I converted my first home video to DVD. When I played the DVD back the chapters had been added at every video stop.Updated
The Editors' comment about chapters not being added is incorrect. I was pleasantly surprised when I converted my first home video to DVD. When I played the DVD back the chapters had been added at every video stop.
Pros Looks impressive, that's it.
Cons Not useful as a DVD player or recorder.
Summary Having been misled by expert written advice, I purchased this combo unit. I wanted to transfer to DVD from home DV movies. After struggling through the manual and wasting a few blank DVDs I was able to transfer one home movie to DVD. In total I was able to record about 12 dvds before the unit permanently locked up. What a waste! The VCR works fiine but the DVD processor is too skitzoid to be consistent. Unable to finalize discs, and unable to read discs that were recorded on the unit. But hey, the clock works fine. I expected more from Panasonic.