Panasonic DMR BWT 720 EB - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-15-2012, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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I am a long time follower of this particular forum as I have a Panasonic DMR 85 and a Mag 515 and love both of them. The Panasonic has been one of favorite pieces of gear. Has anyone imported or considered importing any of the available European spec Blu Ray /HDD recorders? I realize that this endeavor would be fraught with both technical and logistical challenges and questions. The DMR BWT 720 EB particularly appeals to me as it is a Panasonic. I am old school when it comes to recording, use my recorders as slaves[line in] downstream from the video source STBs, Roku etc. Dont use timer recording function or the recorder tuners. Evidently there is an outfit in Dublin that ships to the States. I am sure there are other vendors as well. Questions that occur to me are PAL to NTSC conversion, dual voltage, import duties, lack of warranty etc. I am curious as to whether anyone has attempted this. Thanks
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post #2 of 13 Old 12-15-2012, 12:29 PM
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AFAIK no one on AVS has purchased one of the BD/DVD recorders from Europe. Several including myself have purchased a International Panasonic on the grey market, models like EH-59 and EH-69. Those models while made for Europe and the Middle East function quite well here because they are dual voltage and have a setting for line input NTSC recording and playback.
I'm not sure if something like the Panasonic BD players would have a NTSC(60hz) setting as apposed to the PAL(50hz) setting. While the internationals aren't listed on the back as being 120v-220v 50/60hz compatible they are indeed. I'd be inclined to think something like the Panasonic BD players would be dual voltage I just don't know for sure. I wouldn't be to worried about plugging something rated as 220v into a 120v supply but I wouldn't want to go the other way around, that is plug something rated at 120v into a 220v socket, if the device wasn't truly rated for 220v doubling the voltage would be sure to instantly fry things. OTH 1/2 the voltage probably wouldn't fry things, worse case and it just wouldn't power up. It's also quite easy to get 120v to 220v converters(and visa verse) so the biggest obstacle I see is if the BD recorder would have the NTSC or 60hz recording setting. If not I see no easy way around that.
If you could get a hold of the online manual for the BD recorder your interested in I would think it would be relatively easy to see if it had a setting for NTSC/60Hz operation(it should be under the FUNCTIONS/SETUP menus. Again the specs may say 220v50hz for power but personally I'd try it on 120v60hz before purchasing a converter.
If you do get your hands on one please post back, many around here would be interested to see if such a recorder would work here in N. America.
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-15-2012, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
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jjeff

Based in part on your review and my own experience with Panasonic I ordered an EH 69 and await its arrival. I like the Mag 515 but miss the Flexible recording feature of the Panasonics.
Thanks
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post #4 of 13 Old 12-15-2012, 04:59 PM
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I know that will work and it's probably the safest way to go smile.gif

The EH-69 will have several upgrades over your E85H:
Ability to burn DL media(only HS from the HDD)
Full resolution LP(and all FR modes up to 4hrs)
HDMI output(1080p upconvert)
NO TVGOS to mess with
Faster operation including disc ops
Sharp clear thumbnails before finalization(after finalization the thumbnails will be just like your E85H)
Ability to record on playback PAL material(note you must have a multi system TV, many cheaper LCDs are even though not advertised as such).
Ability to burn + media(although other than +R DL I never use + media because Panasonic records a slightly off spec discs)
SD, USB and DV inputs
Gracenote for music(I've not used this feature) along with Divx playback(which again I've never used)
Phrase save feature, where you can save up to 20 common disc names and easily recall for disc name or title(thumbnail) name.

On the downside would be it's lacking one set of AV inputs(without the use of a SCART to S-video converter, <$10 on the net).
No IR blaster
While build quality is quite good it's probably not as heavy as a pre '06 model like your E85H.

I was kind of hoping someone would take the leap and try a Panasonic BD player but I can understand you not wanting to risk it, after all it would be a gamble as to whether it would work in the US.
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post #5 of 13 Old 12-15-2012, 05:50 PM
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Some Australian models are very similar to UK. and some places here would ship to you. Generally the difference between UK and AU models is that they have a extra set of scart connectors and we usually have none or an extra set of composite/s-video connections instead. All i think theres usually have Freeview branded firmwhere/EPG but we have generic. All i know is that Freeview is all over the UK stuff bit not ours.

Gernerally a lot of stuff will be only 220-250v 50hz but some will be 110-240v. You can change your voltage in USA but you cant change the frequency and i dont know how sensitive a DVD recorder is for that. But also some 220-240v gear is 50 and 60hz compatible and not just 50hz. All the manuals list all this stuff in the back specs pages.

The easiest way to find out what these models can and cant do for you is to download manuals here
http://www.panasonic.com.au/Support/Customer+support/Downloads+and+documentation

or the UK /euro sites.

Allmost all of the time our units are compatible for both NTSC and PAL recording and playback with no issues at all.and you wont need to worry about trying to output NTSC or 480i .For the units with component out look at the specs as some are restricted to 480 and 576 only. No 720 or 1080 on component.

All units come region coded from Japan but in Australia the importer (panasonic au) makes them region free for all of australia.. Now that is fine for DVD's but i THINK all outr blu ray players are only made region free for DVD and not Blu ray.but i am not 100% sure for that. When ever people ask for region free blu ray no one suggests Panasonic. Its always Oppo or some cheap brand. I am fairly sure you could probably make a region locked panny region free though. However since you are talking about a recorder i would just get a region free player and leave the expensive recorder for recording only.

Shipping from Australia is pretty expensive. Its way cheaper to get stuff sent from USA to Australia than it is to send stuff to you. Having said that its not as extreme as getting stuff sent from Canada to Australia.

So bottom line is it would not really be a gamble if you did research first and read through the manuals first.
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post #6 of 13 Old 12-15-2012, 11:50 PM - Thread Starter
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After perusing the user manual for the DMR BWT 720 it appears that the recorder can be switched from PAL to NTSC in the same way as the EH 69.
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post #7 of 13 Old 12-16-2012, 04:35 AM
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Yeah i would have to say probably all major DVDR's and VCR's sold in Australia for at least the last 10 years have always been NTSC capable. Probably because most of the content (DVD's/VHS) come from USA so they make the players/recorders NTSC capable for us. 90% of my DVD's are R1 NTSC. On all my equipment i can manually set it to output PAL or NTSC or leave it as AUTO. Many will also output a PAL60 or NTSC50 signal too. Its pretty safe to assume modern PAL gear will handle NTSC aswell but as always double check with the manuals.

So really the main consideration is 50/60hz i reckon. I was told that this would not matter for a VCR. I still have not got a 240 to 120v step down transformer to try it out with my 120v 60hz VCR i got from USA but i am sure its going to be fine for that. From what i read the frequency is mainly problematic for things like grinders, drills, kitchen blenders, air driers and things like that but maybe it may be problematic for a DVDR/BDR/HDD?

Probably one of those 110/220v specialists would know. World Import? who knows exactly how knowledgable they actually in that area though but since they are selling transformers to people moving to another country with their gear they should know.
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-16-2012, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Here in the States demand for DVD/BD/HDD recorders has been coopted by the availability of cable company DVRs and TIVO. They have successfully figured a way of putting a meter on video recording. I don't buy that it is a conspiracy by the studios and the cable companies , it could be a small factor but...if demand was here you can bet Panasonic, Sony, LG, Samsung et al would rush to meet it. The DMR BWT 720 looks like a great piece of kit. I'll investigate further. Thanks
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-16-2012, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
DMR BWT 720

Yeah i need to look at that one. I heard it can burn dvd and blu ray? The tuners would be no use for you of course and i am not sure if it has s-video in?
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-16-2012, 08:58 PM
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Several members here have looked into importing the Panasonic BluRay/HDD recorders, and gave up on the idea for several reasons, foremost being dismal price/performance (you really get absolutely no advantage over buying a garden-variety EH59 import at half the price). Also, it is damn near impossible: Panasonic dealer contracts forbid shipping of country-specific models to customers in other countries. Panasonic is very strict about this in Europe, all requests to ship to North America have been turned down. AFAIK, no one has asked an Australian dealer, so it is possible a dealer there might agree, but doubtful. (This refers to official authorized Panasonic dealers, not third-party vendors or eBay.)

The EH59 and EH69 "grey market import" DVD/HDD recorders easily available in USA/Canada are "unofficial" imports that Panasonic is not happy about but not particularly interested in preventing sales of, either. These two units are generic models not restricted to the dealer channel of any specific country, so Panasonic looks the other way and allows them to be sold pretty much everywhere. However, sales in North America are not officially supported so there is no warranty and if it breaks no repair service at all, even if you're willing to pay, because Panasonic has not sold an equivalent recorder in USA since 2006 or Canada since 2008. There are no repair parts and Panasonic DVD/HDD repair service went from top-class to non-existent by 2010. Most buyers are willing to risk this situation, because the EH59 is very reasonably priced and not prone to defects or failure.

The BluRay/HDD models are something else again. Even if you could import one, they are too expensive to risk with no repair service available. They are also sort of pointless, since they're incapable of recording North American TV sources in high definition. They depend on their internal PAL-only DVB-T and satellite tuners as sole HDTV signal source, external line inputs are limited to standard-def composite. Some models include S-Video connections, but only the most expensive top models had analog component input via SCART connections and that feature may have been dropped altogether for 2013. Certain camcorders can be connected via USB2 or DV inputs in HiDef, but not external tuners for off-air, cable or satellite. For all practical purposes, a Panasonic BluRay/HDD PAL model imported to USA/Canada would offer no capabilities beyond the EH59 except playback of BluRay discs.

Those in USA/Canada wanting a BluRay/HDD model would likely be happier with one of the semi-pro JVC models like SR-HD1250US. These are officially distributed in North America with mfr warranties. They have the same HDTV recording limitations (from camcorders only), so unless you need to make a lot of BD dubs from HD camcorders you're probably better off with a much cheaper Panasonic EH59 or Magnavox DVD/HDD.
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post #11 of 13 Old 12-17-2012, 12:06 AM
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Those are very good points when you put it like that. I reckon JB Hifi ships internationally, plus some of the AU ebay sellers. But yeah when you think about it, theres no much point to a North American importing one because you can only feed it SD via line inputs theres no advantage to having the blu-ray recorder. Kinda feel sorry for you guys but we will be in the same situatuons soon anyway with good brand disc recorders going out alltogether and being repalced with HDD/PVR's that only have HDMI out and composite in if your lucky. in6 months time we will have a better idea of whats going on but i would say there will be no Panny DVD recorders here unless they want to drag out the XW390 for another year and they may be a Blu Ray recorder still if we are lucky all though with more cut backs on features/connections.
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post #12 of 13 Old 12-17-2012, 05:47 AM
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If you want to record in HD from a US or Canadian cable or satellite box to a stand-alone BluRay/HDD recorder you need to spend around $4,000.

JVC SR-HD2500 Blu-Ray Disc & HDD Recorder with HD-SDI input.
with this
HD component analog to HD-SDI converter
This should ignore HDCP
or this
HDMI to HD-SDI converter.
This may not work with HDCP encrypted signals.

Just like a Hauppauge 1212 or Hauppauge Colossus the above set up converts the signal. This setup is cablebox to stand-alone HDD/BluRay recording in true HDTV In/Out resolution.
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post #13 of 13 Old 12-17-2012, 06:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Best solution for the US of A is a HTPC which I am considering.
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