I just got this unit this week. Actually I got the DMR-EZ27K not the 17K. So far I love the box, the tuner has much better range/reception than the other two ATSC tuners in my house (an Accurian and an old Toshiba SIR-105). I'm a long time DVD-RAM devotee
so I'm loving the DVD-RAM features! (I just ordered some more DVD-RAM discs) My software Sony Vegas Movie Studio + DVD imports the recordings using its camcorder import function. I haven't tried to author a DVD from recordings yet, but I'll try.
I'm running this TV into a 3/4 year old Philips 27" flat front 4:3 tube NTSC TV with component inputs. Unfortunately the TV does not have a 16:9 mode.
The Panasonic DVD-F87K 5 disc DVD changer that I got a couple years ago reads and plays the recorded DVD-RAM discs perfectly. However, my Technics DVD-A10 does not (it was a long shot), nor does my Sony SACD/DVD machine.
* Great reception both analog and digital!
* Super convenient DVD-RAM recording functions!
* Nice user interface. There are a few quirks, but overall the look and feel of the machine is quite nice. I have other Panasonic DVD players so it's a little familiar.
* Remote control has just what is needed for our TV. Channel switching, volume, and TV/Video. This means that we no longer need to ever use the TV remote. Perfect!!!! Absolutely perfect!!
* No zoom mode for 16:9 broadcasts.
* Records at viewing aspect ratio - the only way to get a 16:9 recording is to set the TV shape setting to 16:9. I guess I understand why they did this; they need to incorporate a scaler in order to change the HDTV/16:9 DVD content to a 4:3 TV. If they recorded 16:9, they would need two scalers, one to scale the 16:9 HDTV to 480i for DVD recording and another to scale the 480i DVD 16:9 to 4:3.
* It has trouble with my computer authored/burned DVDs. I make DVDs on my computer from camcorder and intend to make them from the files this box generates.
So far I'm very happy with this unit! Actually I think I'll probably not even bother bringing stuff into the computer and authoring DVDs. I don't care about slick menus and stuff, as long as I can watch the program that's really what I'm after. The MPEG compression is not as good as I can do with my computer, but my computer is not compressing on-the-fly! I'm very impressed with the on-the-fly compression quality!