Pros Ease of use and copy quality is excellent
Cons Firmware is buggy...hangs on finalization and poor editing
Summary I am converting years of VHS and 8mm archived tapes to dvd. This unit seemed to have it all until...locking up once a dvd is copied but not finalized. Needed to unplug the unit to recycle. I am exchanging it to try AGAIN as most features work well and the copy quality is excellent.
But I think that Panasonic needs a firmware fix. I'd wait until a model upgrade is released. Must downrate from a 9 to a 4.
"Very disapppointing"on by mlurye
Pros Feature set
Cons Doesn't work
Summary This has been the worst experience with any electronics product I can remember. The first unit died after one use and I had it replaced. The second unit hangs when finalizing disks.
Panasonic customer service is abysmal. Wait times approach an hour. The rep had me reset the unit to factory defaults which didn't help. He was unable to provide further assistance and hung up on me.
Panasonic online support is inoperable - attempt to submit an online support request produces an error message. Terrible!!!
Pros Excellent play back, you can use dvd to record show off tv
Cons Only have had it a month now, still going to owners manual to see how to do stuff.
Summary Overall.. I love it, its just like a vcr.. I can tape shows off of HBO with the dvd, or i can tape shows from my vcr tapes to dvd. It won't allow me to tape copywrited vcr tapes.(first thing i tried)
Now i have to admidt, i have only used RW disc so far, and haven't had a lick of problems. After reading the reviews of the others, i might just stay away from the -R +R disc, and stay with the RW disc. Besides, who would buy a vcr tape you could only tape to it once forever!! Same with dvd's here, i want to be able to record over a program that i thought was going to be good, but turned out to be junk..
Overall, i would recomend this product to anyone.
Pros When it worked properly, the quality was good
Cons Too many to mention here; read my review
Summary I am a law enforcement officer in NC and bought this product for just ONE reason: to dub all of my VHS home movies onto DVD.
I wanted a machine that was easy to use, i.e. with the push of 1 button, and based on a Consumer Reports recent review of the DMR-ES30, I went to get one.
The ES40 was on the shelf so I figured this was an improved model, so I purchased it instead.
What a disaster!
1. The directions are terrible. The process called "finalizing a disk" is not included in the section about dubbing from VHS to DVD. You find it buried elsewhere in the manual. You CANNOT play your DVD on another player WITHOUT "finalizing" your dubbed disk.(GOD help those of you who are trying to read this manual for other purposes!)
2. Most of my dubbed disks would NOT finalize, therefore I wasted almost 2 hrs per disk, and with the amount of VHS tapes I want to dub, life is too short to waste on this sort of nonsense.
3. Some disks would not finalize because it said "there was not enough room to finalize". In other words, I recorded too much on it!! Why in the world is there not some sort of automatic function that would stop the dubbing so you could have enough room left to do whatever has to be done for finalizing a disk? So, you're stuck guessing how much is too much. I just started doing only 1.5 hrs or so, but what a waste of disk space.
4. For those disks that did finalize, the machine TOTALLY froze up after finalizing, and I could not remove the DVD unless I unplugged the unit and let it reset itself. This happened 100% of the time.
5. Customer service at Panasonic was terrible. The wait time alone was up to 1 hr, and then the poor rep on the other end didn't have a clue or passed the buck by saying it was "probably the media, i.e., the brand of DVD, I was using. Yeah, right. I tried Verbatim and Sony discs and I still get the same frustrating problems.
Therefore, buy this product at your own risk and be prepared for a frustrating experience. When I took my unit back for a refund, the only ES40's on the shelf at Best Buy were RETURNED units!!!!!!!
Pros Easy setup; great recording quality; finalizing worked so I can play my DVDs on all my DVD players.
Cons On power up keeps going into set up mode. VCR Dubbing for some reason wouldn't allow for greater than LP (4 hours). Editing the disk Title worked, but I couldn't get the edit chapter Title to work.
Summary I ordered the unit from the Circuit City Web and picked it up at the store. I was recording movies within hours.
The unit goes in to setup mode when you first turn it on and tries to recognize any channels automatically. I have satellite so it couldn't progress through it's auto set up function. I had to figure out how to get it to cancel that and I set it up manually. Unfortunately, every time I turn it on, it still tries to do the auto set up and channel recognition. This is a bit annoying.
The instruction book was adequate. The control is a bit wild, but I got used to it quickly. The unit comes with one DVD RAM disk, but I have been recording on +R disks and when finalized, they play on all my DVD players.
I tried the VCR dubbing and it was a bit disappointing. The image quality was worse (of course the source was pretty old to begin with) and although I set the recording mode to EP (6 hours) it stubbornly insisted on LP (4 hours).
Over all I am impressed and pleased with my purchase. I would recommend this unit to anyone who wants a mid-range DVD recorder that is fairly easy to set up and record with.