Panasonic will expand its range of DVD recorders with built-in Freeview tuners, and introduce two new Hard Drive models, DMR-EX75 and DMR-EX85 (picture above). The former includes a 160GB hard drive, capable of recording up to 284 hours of footage (in EP Mode); the latter has a 250GB drive, capable of recording 443 hours of footage. Both models have an SD card slot allowing JPEG digital photos to be transferred to the HDD for storage and playback. Both deck’s can make high-speed recordings from the HDD to a DVD RAM (5 Speed compatible) or DVD-R (16x speed compatible) at the touch of a button; a one hour programme (originally recorded in the EP [8H] mode) can be dubbed from the hard disk drive to a DVD RAM disk in just 1.5 minutes, alternatively it can dub to a DVD-R Disc in only 42 seconds.
Both units also have HDMI digital outputs and can up-convert standard definition to 720p or 1080i. The user has to check the GUI (pictured above) to trigger the enhanced output. Once done, it conjures up the intriguing prospect of watching digital TV from the Freeview tuner up-scaled to 720p.
Also new this year is Auto DVD-R finalizing. To allow –R disks to be played on other compatible players, they have to be finalized. When Eject is pressed on the DMR-EX75 or DMR-EX85, the GUI (pictured) prompts the user to finalize on-screen, avoiding the possibility of forgetting to finalize the disk before sharing with friends and family. The DMR-EX75 and DMR-EX85 will ship into the UK market this June.