Originally Posted by ncaahoops
I don't know what your experience with the ES20 was, but I have burnt 600+ DVDs with it by now and in some days I had it running for 12+ hours with very little or no rest. While by no means perfect, and it did have its share of issues/bugs, my experience with it was nowhere near as negative as you describe above :-)
I had 3 Pannies ES20. On the first two, I made the mistake of doing a Firmware Update right out of the box (I know, newbie mistake). As far as I know, they could've been working great; and I just didn't know it. I also thought that a Firmware update would make the unit even better. No such luck. The Firmware made things worst. For instance, the x8 disc speed conversion to x16 activated a bug/glitch in the thumbnail system that prevented me, 9 times out of 10, from choosing the thumbnail I wanted for my finalizations.
The Firmware also activated/created a bug that would cause almost all of my extended recordings (i.e. movies longer than 2 hrs, burned using FR) to freeze when played on other recorders (almost like a region bug).
I think Pannasonic never caught on that their Firmware updates were doing this, and that's why we now have no eject button (and so many Finalization Screens). Apparently it was easier to think that us dummies didn't know how to finalize a disc, than to blame themselves for a crappy firmware update.
Anyway, I was kind of bitter because a DVD Recorder was to have been my Christmas present for December of last year. I bought the Lite-On because it got excellent reviews at cnet. It turned out to be a very, very, very bad recorder. That one would freeze just by playing a commercial DVD. I returned it, but had problems getting my refund (had to make 2 trips, one to be denied, one to argue that Black Friday purchases have a return policy extension that lasts until February)
My last ES20 I simply exchanged for an ES15. So far I haven't had any problems (knock on wood), I'm happy with it, and I've learned some valuable lessons in the process. So it's all good.
As far as a side comparison between the ES20 and the ES15; well I think the only advantage the ES20 has over the ES15 is in the gray scaling. Whenever a show I'm recording ends and "fades into black", the ES20 will give you a smoother transition while the ES15 black scale will show some noise. I don't know if this is the recorders fault, or if it's actually showing me the noise that's coming in through the analogue cable transmission. Who knows; but so far, so good.