Official Panasonic DMR-EZ28K thread - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:03 AM
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Yes, unscrambled channels, so it seems like wajo's solution will work. I haven't purchased the unit yet; I want to make sure it can do this. I feel like I'm missing something --- doesn't everyone want (or in some case need) to do this? Unless you live alone, you can't tune in a channel on the STB for a recording several hours later and expect it to remain that way. Someone (wife, kids, maybe even me) will tune to another channel (and leave it there), turn off STB (accidently or otherwise). It seems like this is an unusual feature (requiring 2 tuners, etc) --- not sure why --- VCRs could do this 15 years ago.

wajo's solution looks similar to setup instruction on page 9 (coax in to unit, then RF out to STB, STB's RF out to TV RF in). Then AV out on unit to AV in on TV (makes sense). What I don't understand is the other connection: AV out on STB to AV in on unit --- what does this do? Why does the unit need another input of the same signal it already has via coax from the wall?
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:09 AM
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That other connection, back to the DVDR, is for recording Scrambled channels or things the DVDR can't tune by itself (each cableco protects different stuff).

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Old 03-25-2008, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgazzara View Post

Only if there are unscrambled channels coming through the RF input. If all the channels are scrambled, then no can do.

In that case, you would need 2 STBs.

Well, let me tell you what I do. I use a combo of Wajo's and dhjellen's approach. I split the cable coax signal, with one feed going to the cable box and the other going to my new Panny EZ28. From the Panny, I use the RF out to a VCR. All the boxes feed their audio and video into an AV Receiver. I use the line out (audio and video) from the receiver and connect it back to the Panny's line inputs. This suits me just fine: 99% of what I record is from the big 4 networks, and my Panny tunes to the clear QAM channels from the cable company (nice recordings that way!) or from the 70 or so unscrambled analog channels. If there is a second simultaneous show I want to record, I do it through the VCR. There is a way to set up the system so I can record a scrambled channel from the cable box, with the signal being sent to the Panny via the receiver, although I rarely do this and it tends to tie up the rest of the system. I have a Harmony remote that sets everything up with one button press.

So, getting back to the original poster's question, yes, you can record something on the Panny and watch something else - I can do it through the VCR, the cable box, or OTA. But you need to bundle other tuners into the system and be willing to get creative.
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by waynez View Post

It seems like this is an unusual feature (requiring 2 tuners, etc) --- not sure why --- VCRs could do this 15 years ago.

Because 15 years ago you had unscrambled analog video coming out of the wall and all TV's and VCR's had cable-ready tuners that could receive all the channels that you were paying for. You simply ran the cable from the wall into the VCR then back out of the VCR into the TV. The signal was passed through the VCR and so fed both it and the TV's tuners so both could operate independently to receive all channels.

Now with the digital age, the cable co's are encrypting (digital scrambling) most of their channels and have thrown us back into the dark ages of 35 years ago when no TV's had cable-ready tuners and everyone needed a cable box to tune in the channels. No DVD recorders or TV's have built-in tuners that can tune in these encrypted channels -- these tuners are only available from the cable co as an external STB (back to the stoneage). The tuners in present day equipment can only tune in the unencrypted channels. Depending on your cable co there may be many or few unencrypted channels, but guaranteed to become fewer as time goes by.

So if you run the cable from the wall to the DVDR then back out to the TV, you will only be able to tune legacy analog channels and unencrypted digital channels (and there may be problems with that) which is a fraction of the channels you are paying for. If you want access to the encrypted channels as well you have to rent their tuner (STB) to go between the wall and the device(s).

What needs to be made very clear is the following: If you want to operate the devices independently (i.e. watch one encrypted channel on your TV at the same time you record a different encrypted channel on your DVDR), each device needs its own dedicated STB. One for the TV and one for the recorder.

- kelson h

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Old 03-25-2008, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

Because 15 years ago you had unscrambled analog video coming out of the wall and all TV's and VCR's had cable-ready tuners that could receive all the channels that you were paying for. You simply ran the cable from the wall into the VCR then back out of the VCR into the TV. The signal was passed through the VCR and so fed both it and the TV's tuners so both could operate independently to receive all channels.

Now with the digital age, the cable co's are encrypting (digital scrambling) most of their channels and have thrown us back into the dark ages of 35 years ago when no TV's had cable-ready tuners and everyone needed a cable box to tune in the channels. No DVD recorders or TV's have built-in tuners that can tune in these encrypted channels -- these tuners are only available from the cable co as an external STB (back to the stoneage). The tuners in present day equipment can only tune in the unencrypted channels. Depending on your cable co there may be many or few unencrypted channels, but guaranteed to become fewer as time goes by.

So if you run the cable from the wall to the DVDR then back out to the TV, you will only be able to tune legacy analog channels and unencrypted digital channels (and there may be problems with that) which is a fraction of the channels you are paying for. If you want access to the encrypted channels as well you have to rent their tuner (STB) to go between the wall and the device(s).

What needs to be made very clear is the following: If you want to operate the devices independently (i.e. watch one encrypted channel on your TV at the same time you record a different encrypted channel on your DVDR), each device needs its own dedicated STB. One for the TV and one for the recorder.

Yes, I totally agree - those set top boxes really complicate things and I try to minimize having to deal with them. The system that I described in my previous post is my solution to my particular situation and habits. But if my cable company ever decided to encrypt a whole bunch of channels that are not encrypted now, I might consider the DVR route either through the cable company or more likely switch to a satellite provider. My Panny would then go from being my primary recording device to being an archival recorder - stuff dumped off the DVR.

Let me also add that the reason why I've stayed with my cable company is that I have TVs and VCRs throughout the house that don't need STBs for the channels we care about (including several HDTVs with QAM tuners). As soon as I'm forced to get STBs for them if they encrypt, they will lose me as a customer and I will switch to satellite where I can get a better deal.
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Old 03-25-2008, 11:02 AM
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I wish there was a system here like in Japan, where the DVR/DVDR's use a smart card for encryption. So, no STB is needed. Sure, there is cablecard here. But, the cable companies made it so difficult to implement, that you don't see in TV's anymore, and only in Tivo S3/HD models.

ALL of the Panasonic DVDR's (which are also DVR's, btw, and some with dual-tuners) include a smart card (BCAS), as well as analog and digital OTA tuners, and two types of satellite tuners (BS and CS110). You just phone whichever providers you are interested in, give them the card number, and voila!

Along those lines, I wish they sold the DVR's here. Not as good as Tivo. But, no monthly fee. I guess they felt they couldn't compete with Tivo, plus the providers' own DVR offerings. (In Japan, the providers don't offer DVR's, as far as I could tell. So, all of the CE companies offer them.)
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Old 03-25-2008, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by garypen View Post

ALL of the Panasonic DVDR's (which are also DVR's, btw, and some with dual-tuners) include a smart card (BCAS), as well as analog and digital OTA tuners, and two types of satellite tuners (BS and CS110). You just phone whichever providers you are interested in, give them the card number, and voila!

Wow, sounds like a free market. Wish we had one here.

- kelson h

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Old 03-25-2008, 12:25 PM
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Wow! Lots of great answers --- thanks to all. Next step for me is to purchase the unit and give it a try. I'll report back later.
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:26 PM
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Greetings all, I have the Ez17, which I have had for some time. It was put aside for a while as cox cable offered me a free digital box for 3 months. When Putting the panni back into service, I have now lost all but one of the music choice channels. it only gets the bluegrass one and it comes in strong and clear. All the channels lock on when I do a new channel search, but still, only the one works. Does anyone have any ideas? Is it a weaker cable signal perhaps, or something other.
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:38 PM
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If you push the display button there is a option for signal strength meter. That would tell you if it was indeed that.
As far as the music channels I wonder if Cox has began encrypting them since the last time you tried? Do you have another device which gets the channels, other than a Cox STB?
I wonder if, when they took back there digital box if they didn't also turn off something so you cannot get the music channels anymore?
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Old 03-25-2008, 03:13 PM
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I was unaware of a signal strength indicator on the EZ17. I will look into that. Regarding cox having done something, it may be, though I do get one music channel.
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Old 03-25-2008, 03:16 PM
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I wasn't aware the Panny had that either. That's an excellent feature to have. At least they did something right.
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Old 03-25-2008, 03:30 PM
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Yes it started with the EZ-x7 series and has carried on to the EZ-x8 series. It's one of the nice ones with numbers, 0-100%, not just a bar graph like on some.
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

Wow, sounds like a free market. Wish we had one here.

OTOH, a single-tuner DVDR/DVR goes for over $700 at the mainstream retailers. (Although, we paid around $500 from a discount shop.)
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Old 03-26-2008, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by garypen View Post

OTOH, a single-tuner DVDR/DVR goes for over $700 at the mainstream retailers. (Although, we paid around $500 from a discount shop.)

Is that SD? They were around that price here back when they were actually well built - a few years back (a lot of those old models are still running for many, in contrast to the cheap, flimsy, throwaway, Chinese crap we have now. Most were Japanese). They were worth the extra dough. Wish we still had 'em.
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:05 AM
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It's HD, and includes both OTA and Satellite tuning capability. The newer model also uses HDAVC (mpeg4), so the hdd holds a lot more HD recordings.

It's made in Japan, as well. iirc. Other than people looking for the cheapest stuff, many, if not most, Japanese still prefer things that are made in Japan. And, I don't blame them.

OTOH, my new Panasonic US plasma seems to be made in Mexico (I'd almost prefer China), and the EZ28 is made in China, if memory serves.
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Old 03-29-2008, 12:05 PM
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Called panasonic, the signal strength meter on the EZ models is for an OTA signal and does not work for a cable signal.
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Old 03-29-2008, 12:48 PM
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Now that I've been playing with this unit for a couple weeks now I thought I'd post my observations in regards to Picture Quality:
Just so you know I have a 32" Panasonic 720p LCD which I believe is about the best TV in it's class(ok Sony could be a little better, but I didn't want to pay the $300 premium for the Sony, and I'm not totally convinced it would be any better). My EZ-28 is hooked up via HDMI and OTA only.

First watching live 720p channels through the EZ-28 produce a picture that at times can actually seem sharper than watching the same program on my TV's built in tuner. I know it sounds hard to believe but I've tried switching back and forth hundreds of times during varying screen conditions and for the most part I prefer watching live TV through the EZ-28's tuner.

1080i channels are a different story they are much better watching through my TV's tuner. Watching 1080i channels through the EZ-28 produces a slightly annoying pulsing or occasional fuzzy frame. Anyone familiar with my posts may remember I have commented on this before with a previous EZ-17 and EZ-27. On both those the pulsing was much worse and even effected 720p channels. On the EZ-28 the pulsing is very slight. I have to get 4 feet from my screen to see it, and even then it's only during very clear and stationary pictures. Most noticeable in hair or something with fine horizontal or vertical lines. It doesn't seem to bother my wife in the least, and I'm sure some people may never notice it, but it's there. Also when watching something like Basketball the round line near the basket tends to be slightly jagged watching through the EZ-28, but is perfectly smooth with the TV's tuner.

Recording 720p channels produces a very very good picture when played back on the EZ-28, but I've noticed one annoying fact. When I play the DVD-RW back on my Sony DVD player(hooked up via component to the same TV) the picture is "too hot". By that I mean too sharp, or too much noise. If I turn on the DNR on the Sony it helps matters, or if I turn down the sharpness on my TV it also helps, but it's odd. I guess I'd rather have a picture that's a little too sharp than fuzzy but I have never noticed this effect on any of my other Panasonic recordings. It is very livable after making adjustments but then when I play a commercial DVD on the Sony I need to readjust things. Not ideal. When the disc is played on the EZ-28 it's just fine.

Recording 1080i channels produces a very good picture that only has the slight pulsing which is slightly noticeable on both my Sony player and the EZ-28 itself. Note the 1080i recordings do not seem to exhibit the overly sharp problem on the Sony like the 720p recordings do.

Overall I am very pleased with the recordings made by the EZ-28 from HD channels. I've compared recordings made from non EZ machines off of 1080i channels and while they don't have the pulsing they are also not nearly as clear as the EZ-28. Personally I would rather have a picture that is sharp 95% of the time than one that is fuzzy 100% of the time.
Same goes for macroblocking on speeds above 2hrs up to 4 hr mode. Some people complain that since Panasonic DVDR's retain their full resolution up to 4 hrs they produce blocky pictures in fast moving objects. If they were to cut the resolution as most all other mfg's do it would lessen the macroblocking.
I guess I'd prefer the occasional macroblocking if it meant full resolution all the other times. Just personal preference and others may disagree.

All and all I've been quite pleased in the weeks I've had my EZ-28.
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Old 03-29-2008, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shivaji View Post

Called panasonic, the signal strength meter on the EZ models is for an OTA signal and does not work for a cable signal.

Can someone else with cable confirm this. It's not that I don't believe Shivaji but I know Panasonic support does not always provide the correct answer
I searched in my EZ-28 manual and it said "Allows you to check the strength of digital broadcast signal. Only the strength of the digital broadcast recieved through the antenna is displayed accurately." If by antenna they mean OTA antenna it's cut and dry, but they also refer to the coax input as the antenna input, which is why I ask. It's there for me, OTA but I can't verify for cable, but I can't see what the difference would be. Doesn't make sense, but sometimes things dont
Again to access the signal strength meter push DISPLAY button and arrow down to OTHER MENU. Then select signal strength meter.
Thanks to anyone with cable and a EZ recorder.
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Old 03-29-2008, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

Can someone else with cable confirm this. It's not that I don't believe Shivaji but I know Panasonic support does not always provide the correct answer
I searched in my EZ-28 manual and it said "Allows you to check the strength of digital broadcast signal. Only the strength of the digital broadcast recieved through the antenna is displayed accurately." If by antenna they mean OTA antenna it's cut and dry, but they also refer to the coax input as the antenna input, which is why I ask. It's there for me, OTA but I can't verify for cable, but I can't see what the difference would be. Doesn't make sense, but sometimes things dont
Again to access the signal strength meter push DISPLAY button and arrow down to OTHER MENU. Then select signal strength meter.
Thanks to anyone with cable and a EZ recorder.

OK, my Panny DMR-EZ28 is hooked up to my CATV. I push the Display button, select Other, and I only see one submenu choice - Position. So no signal strength meter.

Now I unhook the CATV and hook up the coax cable from my rabbit ears antenna. I have to now do a new setup and select "antenna" and not "cable" and do a rescan of the channels. OK, it is set up now, so I press Display, then Other...and...wait for it, wait for it...voila! A signal strength meter! Hey, the OTA tuner is doing a good job in locking into digital channels and is picking up some analog channels I didn't get before!
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Old 03-29-2008, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jtso View Post

OK, my Panny DMR-EZ28 is hooked up to my CATV. I push the Display button, select Other, and I only see one submenu choice - Position. So no signal strength meter.

Now I unhook the CATV and hook up the coax cable from my rabbit ears antenna. I have to now do a new setup and select "antenna" and not "cable" and do a rescan of the channels. OK, it is set up now, so I press Display, then Other...and...wait for it, wait for it...voila! A signal strength meter! Hey, the OTA tuner is doing a good job in locking into digital channels and is picking up some analog channels I didn't get before!

Pardon my stupidity, does the EZ28 output 1080i on the HDTV channels over HDMI? So it can be used as a set-top HDTV receiver?

Has anyone yet tried the EZ28 for recording premium feeds on D* or E*?
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Old 03-29-2008, 04:08 PM
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Thanks jtso, you've verified it.
rdgrimes-Yes the EZ-28 outputs 1080i but it is only upconverted 480i. Not the same thing. Although as I noted above I've noticed at least in the case of 720p channels that the internal tuner of the EZ-28 did a excellent job. At times better than my TV's internal HD tuner. This was not the case with 1080i channels though.
Sorry I don't have Sat, but it would be my guess the EZ-28 would obied by any CP schemes used. That's what I would use my Sima CT-2 for, again if I had Sat. or cable. Maybe someone with SAT can give you a better answer.
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:25 PM
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Thanks jtso, you've verified it.
rdgrimes-Yes the EZ-28 outputs 1080i but it is only upconverted 480i. Not the same thing. Although as I noted above I've noticed at least in the case of 720p channels that the internal tuner of the EZ-28 did a excellent job. At times better than my TV's internal HD tuner. This was not the case with 1080i channels though..

So it tunes HD channels but in SD? Then upscales them to 1080? That's pretty worthless.
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:15 PM
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So it tunes HD channels but in SD? Then upscales them to 1080? That's pretty worthless.

That's what every single DVD recorder does. Doesn't look like it will change because they only can record in SD, so why would they add the extra expense of an HD tuner.

- kelson h

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Old 03-30-2008, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

That's what every single DVD recorder does. Doesn't look like it will change because they only can record in SD, so why would they add the extra expense of an HD tuner.

Maybe to offer something people can actually use and need? Lots of us don't have monitors with HD tuners. This is being done for reasons other than financial, it's part of the paranoid anti-copy conspiracy.
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Old 03-30-2008, 08:42 AM
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Though it upscales the 480 signal only, the picture is quite a bit better on the HD channels than the SD ones, so I wouldn't call it worthless. When I record directly from my OTA HD box, the picture is really good, even on my 106" screen.
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

I searched in my EZ-28 manual and it said "Allows you to check the strength of digital broadcast signal. Only the strength of the digital broadcast recieved through the antenna is displayed accurately." If by antenna they mean OTA antenna it's cut and dry...

Yes. It is cut and dry. You have found the answer to your question right there in the manual. Of course "antenna" means OTA. No need for anyone to call Panasonic. Also, multiple posts seem to confirm it, as well.
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

Now that I've been playing with this unit for a couple weeks now I thought I'd post my observations in regards to Picture Quality:
Just so you know I have a 32" Panasonic 720p LCD which I believe is about the best TV in it's class(ok Sony could be a little better, but I didn't want to pay the $300 premium for the Sony, and I'm not totally convinced it would be any better). My EZ-28 is hooked up via HDMI and OTA only.



Hmmm. I have a Panasonic 32" LCD, and it is far from best in class. (Mostly due to uneven backlighting, which was common with Panasonic LCD TV's) I'm very glad to have moved it up to the bedroom after buying a new Pansonic plasma.

As for the EZ28's tuner, I could never use it, except in emergencies, such as recording a 3rd show, if both tuners on my Comcast DVR are already in use. The lag between changing channels in unbearable. I don't understand it. The tuners in my two Panasonic TV's change channels just fine. But, the EZ28 takes forever. And, judging from other posts, this is normal for it. How can you stand it?

As a manual DVD Recorder and Player, which is what I use it mostly for, it works great. Playback of retail DVD's look great. And, recordings made from DVR playback look like the originals. It's also easy to use, and shares the same basic onscreen menu structure as our Japanese DVD/DVR, so no huge learning curve for the missus.

For those that do not need a digital tuner in their DVDR, I'd recommend the EZ18. Or, buy the EZ28, but only use the tuner as a backup, or for timer recordings. For everyday use, this tuner will drive you crazy.
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:36 AM
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Maybe to offer something people can actually use and need? Lots of us don't have monitors with HD tuners. This is being done for reasons other than financial, it's part of the paranoid anti-copy conspiracy.

Yes. It's annoying. But, it's SOP. It is done that way for copy protection. I'm sure we'll be seeing Chinese knockoffs soon that don't adhere to this. (I wouldn't let my kids put it in their mouths, tho.)
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Old 03-30-2008, 12:28 PM
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Hmmm. I have a Panasonic 32" LCD, and it is far from best in class. (Mostly due to uneven backlighting, which was common with Panasonic LCD TV's) I'm very glad to have moved it up to the bedroom after buying a new Pansonic plasma.

As for the EZ28's tuner, I could never use it, except in emergencies, such as recording a 3rd show, if both tuners on my Comcast DVR are already in use. The lag between changing channels in unbearable. I don't understand it. The tuners in my two Panasonic TV's change channels just fine. But, the EZ28 takes forever. And, judging from other posts, this is normal for it. How can you stand it?

Actually I really love my Panny LCD. With the exception of maybe Sony LCD's I haven't seen any better LCD's. I get no backlight bleed and the blacks are 100% black, like the TV is off during totally black scenes. It's one of the reasons I bought the set. As far as plasma's, Friday I was 10 min away from scoring a Panasonic 42" z700u (1080p)for $1099!! Costco had them online and just as I was going to put it in my cart it said, OUT OF STOCK!! Man I was ticked. Never had a plasma before but for that price I was going to give it a try. People say how good plasma's are for contrast ratio and color and to me that's all about what I want in a TV.

About the tuner I agree 100% with you. I basically NEVER watch live TV through the DVDR. It's so slooooooooo to change channels it drives me nuts. I was only making the comments for people who wanted to use the unit for that purpose. Not me, I always watch live through my TV tuner, even if I thought the 720p broadcasts look a little sharper through the DVDR, it was very minimal.
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