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Panasonic EH55 vs. Philips HDRW720

442 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  bunu
I recently bought the Panasonic EH55 after my Philips HDRW720 stopped working. Since the Philips broke down just out of warranty, I can't even repair it - Philips supposedly no longer supports it.

I've barely tried out most of the functions on the new EH55 but already there are some key positives and a couple of areas where I think the Philips was actually better. As a user, I'm fairly unique for this forum since I'm currently living in the Caribbean and have poor picture quality on my analog cable feed that doesn't offer a TVGuide signal. So PQ and TVGOS are things I can't talk about. But there are some differences that are interesting, and only one disappointment with the Panasonic so far. Here are some observations:


Since I have no TVGOS EPG data, the feature doesn't work. The biggest problem I had with the Philips was that it would always search for EPG data when off. This meant that if I watched tv with the philips off, its IR blaster would constantly change channels on me. The only fix for this was to leave the unit on or to remve the IR blaster. Also, on the Philips when you turned on the unit, it would blast the worng channel when booting up meaning that timed recordings would not work unless you left the unit on while you are away.

The new Panasonic, on the other hand, tried for days to find the EPG data then eventually displayed a screen allowing me to choose to not search for EPG data. Problem solved. Also, Panasonic handles timed recordings flawlessly. Points to Panasonic.

*Power Management:

Since I had to leave the Philips on when watching tv, the unit and the hard drive were constantly working. I became addicted to the TIVO-like feature of being able to pause live tv on the Philips. No need to record anything to enjoy the feature, just pause live tv and resume or surf through hours of buffered content and start watching a show from hours earlier in the day. You could even choose to record some of all of what is in the memory buffer.

As far as I can tell, the Panasonic can't do the same (at least with my current hookup where my cable box only has an RF out option so my cable feed enters the EH55 via the RF in). I must say that this is the only disappointment I have with the Panasonic since I got addicted to being able to pause the Philips during a show to answer a phone, cook dinner or whatever then return to where I left off.

On the plus side, the Panasonic goes into a sleep mode when left on and the HD isn't being used. It also automatically turns off after sleeping for a while. Timed recordings work flawlessly even when the unit is turned off. I now suspect that part of the reason the Philips died was that the non-stop buffering meant the HD was constantly overworked and eventually gave out. It looks like Panasonic is better designed to last. Points to Philips for the automatic buffering and pvr pause live tv style, points to Panasonic for its smarter power management and flawless timed recordings.

* Speed

The Panasonic boots up MUCH faster, takes less time to change channels using the IR blaster. The Philips was so slow to start up and ridiculously slow to change channels on an external cable box. Points to Panasonic

* Ease of use

The Philips had horrible documentation. The Panasonic is merely bad. I think the menu systems in the Panasonic are generally better designed but both require a user to be familar with your setup and the quirks of the menu navigation. I.e not wife-friendly. I find it easier to use the Panasonic remote.

* Support

I haven't had to lean on Panasonic for support yet but I find it impossible to imagine that anybody provides worse support than Philips.


The Panasonic is a much better designed unit for my needs. I can't comment on PQ, but everything seems pretty impressive so far. Only drag is the apparent lack of ability to pause live tv without choosing to record. Thanks to people in this forum who steered me towards Panasonic. I don't regret it.
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