Wow. Thanks for the friendly response, Vic. :confused:
> I guess Panasonic made the mistake of assuming some intellegence on the user's part... <
If I didn't know better, I'd think you were calling me stupid. (And, BTW, it's intelligence.) This isn't your usual helpful style.
Just for the record:
1) Yes, I made a conscious decision not to use FR mode, because I wanted to see how the Panny actually did Relief Recording, vs. how they described it. And no, the program wasn't of huge importance to me, which justified the "risky" test. I wasn't upset by the loss itself, but rather by what I consider to be less than optimal design engineering on Panasonic's part.
2) It's not all that uncommon that I would have less than 2 hours free on the HDD. Maybe I'm the only one who's lazy, and tends to let things pile up on the convenient HDD until I'm forced to do something about it. :) Plus, it's nice to be able to pick shows to watch from those collected on the HDD, while recording other stuff. Before you know it, 36h27m of free space turns into less than an hour (and the alarm bells go off :D).
3) Yes, I would have preferred that it split the recording across the two media. Making it "a pain to recombine later" is an improvement over not having it at all, at least IMO. I think my problem was thinking it would work like the dual-cassette decks, which overflow to deck B, when deck A fills up.
4) Yes, at the very least it should be smart enough to select the destination with the most free space, in the event that neither one has enough.
5) "My personal preference is...". Thanks. We have differing opinions on this, which is fine.
6) "...cover the most likely case of someone setting a fixed mode recording like SP to DVD-RAM without realizing that the RAM is either nearly full or that there is not disk in the tray." Yes, I agree that this is most likely, and the Panny handles it well. The common analogous scenario on VCR tapes would be to forget to pop one in, or insert the wrong one with only 30 minutes free at the end. Automatic HDD fallback is great then, and would make a better description of what it actually does.
It's also smart enough to do timed recordings without having to be shut "off" first, like many VCRs. And it will interrupt a live recording to start a scheduled event on time. They didn't botch everything. ;)