In 2007, I purchased a Panasonic DMR-EZ27 DVD recorder (August 2007 factory date on back) with a built-in NTSC-ATSC tuner. When connected to my local cable service, the tuner picked up all available unencrypted digital channels as well as the analog channels.
In mid-2008, I noticed that the digital channels on the Panasonic were no longer coming in. Shortly after this discovery, I purchased a Sanyo LCD HDTV (which replaced a 17-year-old CRT TV) and discovered that it could pick the digital channels while the Panasonic DVD unit could not.
I then ran a couple of experiments. First using an indoor antenna, I found that the Sanyo TV picked local digital signals but the Panasonic DVD unit would not do the same. Next, I tried running the cable directly through the Panasonic DVD unit rather than through a 3-way splitter (DVD/TV/Cable Modem). Once again, the Panasonic DVD unit failed to pick any digital signals. Meanwhile, the TV picks up digital cable signals either via direct hook-up or thru the 3-way split.
ALSO - I tried a firmware update, as well as turning off the automatic daylight savings time setting as suggested in another AVS-Forum thread. Those measures didn't help either.
So, as it stands now, my Panasonic DVD unit can tune in only analog TV signals. Since I am on cable, I should not be affected by the "Big Switch" on Feb 17th (or whenever, if not then). However, if I want to record something off a digital channel, I will have to attach an external digital tuner to the Panasonic.
At the moment, a Channel Master CM-7000 is being used to tune in OTA digital stations. Sure, the picture resolution (480i output thru S-Video/composite), isn't hi-def, but the CM-7000 lets me choose picture size, a blessing since my local cable company re-transmits the local stations digital signal in 4:3 fullscreen. Kinda glad the Panasonic doesn't have to tune in that nonsense.
Comments and suggestions RE the DMR-EZ27's tuner are welcome.