I apologize in advance for saying this, BUT...
My international Panasonics can record in 576i/50, so they do not ALL record only 480i. Still, you need a PAL source, and those are hard to come by here in the U.S. unless you have some PAL DVDs and play them on an appropriate player.
Sorry again... Oh, and 576i/50 is NOT high def anyway, so the intent of your statement is still accurate. It is PAL standard def.