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Panasonic DMR-BWT700 review

Sparkling HD pictures make this this Freeview HD, 3D-compatible Blu-ray playing Skype box a treat

Our Verdict

Hugely impressive in some ways, the basics of the Panasonic DMR-BWT700 – speed and simplicity – have been slightly overlooked in favour of geek features

For

  • Sparkling images from all sources
  • All-in-one appeal
  • Extensive archiving options

Against

  • Freeview HD EPG
  • 320GB HDD too small
  • Fragmented user interface
  • No iPhone app

After witnessing the 3D greatness of its latest Viera plasmas, we shouldn't be too surprised to see the Japanese brand go on to deliver the cleverest hi-def machine yet.

Do we mean Blu-ray? Well, yes, sort of … the DMR-BWT700 does indeed spin Blu-ray discs of both kinds – 2D and 3D.

It even converts the former into the latter, and not just on Blu-ray but DVD and Freeview HD, too. The latter comes from one of its two DVB-T2 tuners that fetch (and pauses/rewinds) Freeview HD channels, but it's this deck's status as a HD recorder that's got us most excited.

It can't record from the Sky 3D channel, but anything else can be stored on its 320GB hard disk drive (here's the maths: one hour of SD uses 1GB, and an hour of HD uses 4GB – that's 80 hours in total).

That could be a tad small in the long run, especially for those who stick to a strict hi-def diet, but there's also the option of archiving to Blu-ray.

We say 'option', but there are actually a plethora of compression modes designed to allow the user to squeeze as much as possible on to a blank BD-R or BD-RE disc (bear in mind the 'copy once' restrictions, though it deals freely in AVCHD footage from camcorders).

Other features on this rather staid-looking, typically Panasonic-style product include an SD Card slot for AVCHD and JPEG display, a USB slot that adds AVI, MKV and MPEG video, and the option of adding a Skype camera that makes full-screen video calls (via some quite brilliant software).

Unfortunately the DMR-BWT700 lacks WiFi because as well as Skype and DLNA streaming, this product packs an online hub. In another sad twist, it's not the latest BBC iPlayer-sporting Viera Connect, but an older version, Viera Cast, that's onboard.

Aside from a 500GB hard disk, this machine's sister deck, the DMR-BWT800, adds features like WiFi, a second HDMI output for routing audio to a non-3D Ready AV receiver, Digital Tube Sound (a warm sounding six-sided mode modelled on vacuum tube amplifiers) and Pure Sound, which reduces the interference of the machine's rotating fan and HDD.

As a bonus, Panasonic is offering four 3D Blu-ray movie titles [www.panasonic.co.uk/avatarspring2011] when you buy this machine – comprising Avatar, Gulliver's Travels, Ice Age 3 and Animals United.

The same applies to the DMR-BWT800, DMP-BDT110, DMP-BDT210 and DMP-BDT310, as well as its Blu-ray Home Theatre systems.

Tech Specs

Product TypeBlu-ray Disc Player/Recorder
Scan Format1080p
EthernetYes
Digital TunerDVB-T2, DVB-T (MPEG2)
USBYes
HDMIYes
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
Media FormatsBD-RE, DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, CD-RW
Digital Audio Optical OutYes
Sound SystemDTS HD, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital
Number of Discs1
Brand NamePanasonic
Audio FormatsCD-DA, MP3
Video FormatsBD Video, DVD Video, AVCHD, DivX, DivX HD, MKV, MPEG-2, H.264
Scanning ModesProgressive Scan
Hard Drive Capacity320 GB
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
Operating Power Consumption34 W
Standby Power Consumption6 W
Maximum HDD Recording Time3 Week
Maximum DVD Recording Time16 Hour
Digital to Analog Audio Converter24-bit - 192 kHz
Digital Audio Coaxial OutYes
Maximum BD Recording Time4 Day
Video Signal FormatPAL, NTSC
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC)
Height59 mm
Width430 mm
Depth238 mm
ColourBlack
Picture ControlColour
Image FormatsJPEG, MPO
FeaturesBD Live, 2D-3D Conversion
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelDMR-BWT700
Product NameDMR-BWT700 3D Blu-ray Disc Player/Recorder
Input Voltage220 V AC
Manufacturer Part NumberDMRBWT700EB
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

Advanced 2D image technology accumulated over the years at the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory (PHL) has also been applied to 3D image playback, allowing high quality images to approach original film quality. Lifelike 3D images with dramatic leaping effects and enhanced depth, lustre and texture are beautifully reproduced. Adaptive Chroma Processing is a high quality image-processing technology developed to precisely process each pixel of the Blu-ray Disc video signal in vertical and horizontal directions. Compared with 2010 models, vertical color data processing has been increased by 1.5 times. This allows Adaptive Chroma Processing to faithfully reproduce color data.

Package Contents
  • DMR-BWT700 3D Blu-ray Disc Player/Recorder
  • Remote Control
Remote ControlYes
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)3.10 kg