"You will regret buying this product!!!"0.5 starson by nclawman
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!!!!!!!