My EZ17 just bit the dust today, too! Seems like the spindle motor went. Put the disc in, makes some attempted access beeps, but no disc spin up sound. I agree, these Panasonics are junk, though. I probably got fair time out of it for a disposable caliber appliance...6 yrs maybe? It was a life fraught with buggy firmware behavior, as you may well know. I haven't had too many devices under the Panasonic name, but this one will no doubt stand out as the worst Panasonic product I've ever owned.
My Toshiba hdd/recorder, that I owned before the EZ17, continues to trooper on. She is a bullet-deflecting workhorse, for sure. The firmware was always dead solid to behave like it should, and perhaps the only thing worthy of complaint is its occasionally fussy handling of hdmi (which itself was in its infancy when this recorder came out).
Looked on Amazon just for kicks to see what else has been out there since then, and man is it a wasteland for recorders these days. It very much looks like technology froze for these kinds of devices somewhere around 2007, and the generously-featured, "built to last" looking models are pegged in a bizarro $700 realm. The $300 stuff doesn't even remotely look like it belongs at that price tier. I can't help but to imagine this is like a preview of what all electronics may look like in the future on the "America in decline" track... (quality has hit the floor in a sea of rebadged clone products with scattered examples of the "good stuff" at unobtainable prices because the $ has all but collapsed in value)
I need your sweet love, Rosetta Stone girl!