"Mostly A Success"on by sfniceguy
Pros Does everything as advertised.
Cons Software occasionally locks up, and you have to reboot unit
Summary I have been using this unit (okay, actually a slightly different model, the DMR-485VK, an essentially similar if not identical model I believe made exclusively for Costco; I paid $240) for a couple months now. DVD recording quality of broadcast/cablecast television in it's 1-hour "XP" mode is excellent. Other modes 2-hour, 4-hour, and 6-8 hours recording modes are okay, but pixelation and compression artifacts become more obvious, particularly in complicated and/or fast moving scenes. And it's QAM digital tuner is excellent at recording SD and HD signals if passed through by your cable company. (I use cable, but don't have a cable box. I just subscribe to basic analog cable, but my cable provider Comcast includes local digital unscrambled channels in this package as well, such as FOX, NBC, CBS, and ABC, something I didn't realize they did until I bought this digital recorder and an HD TV set).
I love using RAM discs to record TV programming. RAM discs allow you to simultaneously record one program while watching another program already recorded on the disc. This makes watching an evening of television very easy, and being able to skip through all the commercials. And not having to wait for the recorder to finish all the evening's scheduled recordings before starting to watch. DVD-RW and DVD+RW discs do not allow that feature -- only DVD-RAM discs.
I'd give this unit even higher marks (a 9 or 10) were it not for it's buggy software driving all of its features. The unit occasionally gets "confused" and locks up -- not responding to buttons on unit or on remote control. You have to unplug and re-plugin to reboot the software. This happens about once a week. This is only a minor inconvenience (takes about a minute to reboot), and re-powering it does not make it lose any of its stored channels setup or scheduled recordings memory.
The unit (and interestingly two other Panasonic DVD recorders I have) also suffered a problem with recognizing what date it was for a while if left set automatically. I had to set the date manually for a while (a couple weeks). But now automatic date seems to be working again. I suspect some software bug.
The other problem I have occasionally, is that it occasionally fails to record a scheduled program, for no apparent reason (there's still room on disc). I have not been able to figure out why (although the manual suggests it could be due to digital rights management issues on digital broadcasts, but I'm not convinced of that).
"Just what wanted"on by tomkato
Cons EPG would make it perfect
Summary This is a handy unit that does just about everything I want. I was pleased with the ease of programming the unit and the recordings are really good. Digital channels are amazingly clear and sharp on this unit, even though this does not have an HD tuner. EPG would be nice, but I have digital cable, so I can get by without it.After a year of using this unit, it's dead :-( It was a good unit while it lasted.
The VHS VCR picture quality doesn't seem any better than my old 1993 JVC 4-head VCR, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.
Updated on Jun 22, 2009
Pros Great for burning VHS to DVD and making DVD's from tv shows.
Cons Clock won't set automatically and loses 30 seconds per week.
Summary I have an EZ47v and an EZ48v. The EZ48 will make DVD's from tv programs and VHS tapes that will play on other DVD players. I can't get the EZ47v to do that. Neither unit will set time automatically and both lose 30 seconds per week. It is a small inconvenience to reset the clock weekly for the ability to convert my old VHS tapes to DVD and record tv shows on DVD. Very good unit overall.I have had the unit for 19 months and after using the unit for about 400 hours of VHS to DVD recording, I get heavy pixelation in the DVD playback. I experienced the same problem with the EZ47 (a refurbished unit) after about 4 months of use. I emailed Panasonic for information on the expected life of the lens but did not get a good response. I called the technical support center and did not get a good response from them. They wanted me to send it in and get a refurbished unit. After my experience with the EZ47, I stated that that was not a viable option for me. Based on my experience with the two units and with Panasonic's Customer Support. I would now rate the DMR-EZ48 a "one" star. My advise is to look for a different unit.
Updated on Dec 21, 2009
Pros Records HD
Cons Records HD widescreen, but only on DVD-RAM; DVD-RAM is proprietary, very few drives recognize; system locks up once a week, misses scheduled recordings because of it; HDMI output to TV has intermittent signal
Summary Don't buy this recorder, unless you want a bunch of headaches. Sure it records HD widescreen, but only on DVD-RAM. DVD-RAM is proprietary to Panasonic. Most other computer DVD drives are not compatible, so you can't share the recordings with others. The system locks up solidly and randomly once per week. We've lost a lot of scheduled recordings because of it. And the HDMI output to the TV is inconsistent, the TV says there is no signal even though the Panasonic and TV acknowledge an HDMI connection exists. We have to power down the Panasonic and power back up to actually watch what we wanted on the TV. I've called Panasonic numerous times. They said they would send a disc with the latest firmware. They did not ever send it. I downloaded from the web site and put on disc. Apparently the Panasonic already had the latest, because it wouldn't accept it. But, there is no way to check what version you have, no magic buttons to press. So, now we are stuckwith this inadequate, $400 waste of money.
"Too darn fickled"on by denny004
Pros When it works it works exceptionally well.
Cons It very sensitive. Once you set your schedule, if you change it the unit gets flaky. The disk acts like its full. it freezes. sometimes it will record and sometimes it wont. it takes a while for the channels to catch up to the button pushed.
Summary I'd be hard press to buy another panasonic DVD-R