Following the victory by Blu-ray in the high definition content war we have seen a slew of new Blu ray products to hit the market during the past 6 months. One of them is the Panasonic DMR-BW500 which is the first 500GB dual tuner Blu-ray recorder in the world outside of Japan.
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There is one thing that I will agree on and that is that Blu-ray is the ultimate in content quality but having said that it is very hard to pick the difference between a 1080i HD recording to a hard drive and one recorded to an expensive Blu-ray recorder similar to the BW-500.
The core features of this Blu-ray player are dual TV tuners that allow you to record two programs at one, a 500GB hard drive that delivers around 72 hours of HD recording and the ability to record directly to a Blu-ray 25GB removable disc.
It also has the ability to pause live TV at the push of a button and replay within 30 minutes.
The seven-day electronic program guide (EPG) is pretty ordinary as it is the one broadcast by the TV networks. However, it does have an ability to capture captures which is excellent if you want to run the TV without sound.
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However, 1.1 Blu ray profile supports additional content like the making-of documentaries, and cast and crew interviews. This means that any player with the BonusView feature supported can process two audio streams at once (for overlayed interviews during movies). In addition, this means that menu sound effects and other incidental noises can be played during the soundtrack of the film if needed.
For those who want to use the player as a storage system you simply plug in your SD card into the player however you can only transfer AVCHD format only discs to the device. Transferred content can then be edited using the supplied remote.
The Blu-ray burner allows any recording stored on the hard drive to be transferred to a disc in both Blu ray quality and downscaled to traditional DVD quality.
The DMR-BW500 from Panasonic is a standout performer however for me it is way overpriced for what you get. For example, a basic Blu-ray player can be purchased for less than $600 add a 1TB hard drive to your network or entertainment system and for less than $1600.
Or alternatively, there is the Beyonwiz DP-P2 which at $900 comes with a 320GB HDD. It also allows users to pause and rewind live HDTV and record over 30 hours in HD or 80 house in SD. It also has the Ice TV electronic program guide.
A new line input capability allows users to connect almost any AV device including their Foxtel iQ or iQ HD as well as a Tivo unit and record to the DP-P2’s internal HDD. The benefit of this say DPG is that when a viewer is using their PayTV service via the Beyonwiz “Line Input” the Beyonwiz will automatically hold a buffer of up to 2 hours so you can pause and rewind Live PayTV.
The Beyonwiz DP-P2 also doubles up the amount of storage available allowing users to offline storage to the Beyonwiz. Users can also connect the DP-P2 to their home computer network and playback movies, pictures and music directly from their PC, External HDD or from a variety of supported memory cards. If a user owns more than one Beyonwiz unit they can even playback recordings from one unit to another, so if you record a program in the Lounge Room on your first Beyonwiz you can play it back in the Bedroom on your second.
So at the end of the day, the issue comes down to price VS what your naked eye picks as the difference between Blu-ray and a Full HD file which is 1080i Vs Blu ray 1080p. For me, the difference is not worth $1,000 and $119 for 3 25GB discs. For those who don’t have a problem with price this is a monty of a product.