I don't connect mine to an OTA source, I did pause on FR using line in and it worked.
I've been playing all night, here's a quick & dirty;
- PQ seems excellent. I hooked up my ES20 as a source to back up some DVDs thru CT200 and noticed a poorer PQ. When I switched back to the same Sony player I used for comparison and re-recorded, PQ was right back spot on.
- On my downstairs DVD player, I had some compatibility problems with -R and the Panny top menu (title menu) which have not been evident with the new 15 model.
- On that same playback unit (downstairs) there is a pseudo bitrate monitor with 1 to 10 bars indicating the level. The ES15 seems to manage its PQ with a lower indicated bitrate using subjective comparison. On a sub 4 hour FR test, I frequently saw 2-3 bars versus 4-5 with the ES20. I'm not ready to draw any conclusions, but the implication is that the new model is more efficient with its VBR recording. The ES15 still claims 500 line resolution in LP (4 hour) mode.
- One thing thats BUGGING THE CRAP out of me - the new ES15 remote doesn't have a tray open (Eject) button, you gotta use the console button to eject. Sure, you have to go to the unit anyway, but it changes the way I work. The ES20 remote seems fully compatible, and the Eject function works on the 15 when using the 20 remote.
- there are several UI changes in the menu and front panel with the 15 showing more info, such as the % complete on finalizing certain disk formats.
- the 15 takes you through a stepped format process for, and I'm hoping I recall correctly, +R discs. If I'm mistaken, then its -R. Once you load the blank disc, the machine prompts you to format and you get the joy of saying Yes a couple times. In one instance, I was prompted to set the "Playback Starts With ..." parameter at format.
- Audio seems outstanding.
- NO bugs found yet.
- I tested DV In recording with my Sony 480 camcorder. You don't get remote control over the camcorder. Upon detection of the DV, you are prompted automatically to begin DV In Automatic Recording. The Panny seemed to back up the camcorder a few seconds then synchro start - NOT a full rewind. A small nit, using manual recording via DV, if the camcorder is not playing, then the "start" will fail on the Panny and prompt you to start the camcorder first. On the ES20, it would simply pause and begin recording upon frame detection. This is a step back, coupled with the step forward of auto detection and less steps required vs the ES20. Full rate recording at XP speed worked fine with both 15 and 20 - (a defect in the Sony 315 model I have which can't keep up with the data rate).
- The chassis is a bit more elegant with soft moulded curves versus the older model.
- The new model DID recognize and play some old +RWs of mine done on the Sony, which is a newly supported format for Panasonic.
- The new remote (despite not having Eject) is a great deal faster to use with its rounded switch design for up/down/left/right versus the discrete 4 buttons of the older unit. I find it MUCH faster to perform text entry and menu nav.
That's tonights report. Work goes on though the weekend!