I am looking for a high end DVD recorder + hard drive with the capability of playing back both NTSC and PAL. Does this model do so? Some advertisement claims that it does, but some other ads don't mention it. Besides, there is no reference to PAL playback on Panasonic web site.
I am talking here about the US version of this DVDR.
I can't speak specifically for the E-100 (mine arrives later this week) but I have two other recent Panny players that play back PAL just fine, once they had been modded to region-free. The problem is that no-one to date is marketing a region free mod for the Panny burners, and given the price and complexity of these, they may never.
Follow-up: Now that I have my E-100, I tried experimenting, and the results weren't encouraging. As expected, when I tried to play a PAL disc on teh E-100, I got a region block message. So, I then tried just feeding the PAL signal through the E-100 from another (region-free) player, and the output indicated that the E-100 could only see this input as NTSC and tried to re-send it as such, i.e. picture rolled 1/3 down the screen and a B&W picture with all chroma info turned to shimmering rainbows. It was definitely the E-100 that was doing this, since the plasma always auto-sets to whatever system comes in.
So unless or until someone comes out with a region-free mod for the US model, you'll have to get one of those Asian ones.
Region free is separate from hacking the recorder to play and record PAL. You actually need to revese engineer so PAL recording will probably never happen on US machines unless Panasonic will make it that way.
I know region-free has nothing itself to do with playing PAL, but based on the evidence of both a CP-72 and XP-50, I'd say that most Panny DVDs have the ability to play either PAL or NTSC inherent in their design, and the only thing standing in the way using them for both is the region block system.
Note that I said playing back, not converting, (and not progressive. Both of the above decks will NOT output PAL progressive, since that requires some non-trivial processing to deal with the chroma phase reversal every line.) As long as you're dealing with composite or S-video, the difference between de-compresing and transmitting a PAL vs. NTSC video stream is somewhere between small and non-existant. Therfore, it would seem to be far simpler for Panny to build all their decks to one design than to have different hardware configurations for different parts of the world.
Recording in both systems is maybe a bit more complicated, but I'd bet that the difference is firmware only, and the firmaware in most Pannys can be easily updated from a disc.
I just received a disc from someone in the UK (PAL) recorded on an E80. When I tried to play it on my E80's it simply gave a 'cannot play' message. Unless the E80's record region information I would think this indicated the E's won't play PAL over here .... I'll check when I get home to see if it has a region-code embeded in it..
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