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back to article Panasonic DMR-XW380 Freeview HD DVR

Unlike the current wave of Freeview HD recorders coming on stream right now, the Panasonic DMR-XW380 is not just a twin tuner hard drive recorder, but a DVD recorder too. Pay a fair bit extra and you can have opt for DMR-BW880, the Blu-ray version Reg Hardware reviewed recently. Panasonic DMR-XW380 Good all-rounder? Panasonic's …

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Adverts on the EPG?

I won't be buying any PVR that has adverts in the EPG. They're annoying at best, but taking up a large chunk of the EPG is unforgivable.

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FAIL

Yeup

That'll do it for me too.

Can't understand why they would alienate their customers like this. Madness.

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The price is a bit high...

...but what killed it dead for me is the advert on the guide screen.

Surely the main reason anyone buys a DVR is to be able to skip adverts, not have to look at them all the time?

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Anonymous Coward

the DVD/HDD recorder has some big UI issues

As the owner of the DVD/HDD predecessor, here are somethings people should check before they buy this toy, to see if the UI -which was clearly written for a DVD player- has improved

* does the box remember where you were playing back every single file on the HDD, or only your location on the last video you were watching.

* can a multiregion version of the box play back region 1 DVDs when it has a queue of freeview things to record to the HDD

* does it still take 30s to power up or down?

* can it burn to DVD at faster than 1x if you want to compress the data at the same time?

the box has features, but its weak UI gets in the way. Next time, MythTV for me.

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I wonder if they've fixed the BST/GMT bug?

Guide Plus? WTF?

I also owned the the predecessors to this gizmo. The first one had an analogue tuner and I could use Teletext to program the HDD recording. The trouble is it would always fail to adjust its timer for the BST/GMT changes, even though it was set to automatic. Move it to manual and back to auto and it suddenly sorts itself out.

Years later, as the digital switchover approached, I bought the next generation with a built in digital tuner. It has the same effing bug!

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GuidePlus

I started reading the review then you said "GuidePlus" so I stopped.

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250 Gigs of memory would be OK

But this comes with very little memory and 250 Gigs of hard disk at a time when most HDDs sold are 4 to 8 times as large. Unfailingly every hard disk recorder incorporates a disk size that is no longer selling but there are large stocks available at knock down prices in bulk. Pity these reduced prices never get passed on to the consumer.

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FAIL

What!

It pushes adverts at me?

No way would I ever pay for this product!

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WTF?

Err

*How* fucking much??

That is all.

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Anonymous Coward

GuidePlus

The words "turd" and "swimming pool" spring to mind.

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FAIL

Ads on the EPG....

Unfortunately this makes the device a massive "Avoid!". 0/10.

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Bronze badge

Re-encoding

If you're re-encoding, it's done in real time; it seems to me that it's pushed through the encoder chip in much the same way as, say, analogue video would be, rather than doing it on a main CPU (and the CPUs in things like this tend to be pretty slow compared to PCs). So, you have to wait while the re-encoding happens.

GuidePlus remains a pointless mystery to me; I've just published a statement from Panasonic about it on my own blog (GoneDigital.net)

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Read your blog entry

The Panasonic letter must have been written by some marketing wonk.

It is daft to think that I simply haven't understood how good 'guide plus' is, and that once it's explained to me I will be prepared to pony up and buy a pvr.

I don't want the adverts, I want as much information in the epg as possible. I *will not* buy a pvr with an epg that sacrifices screen space for adverts.

There, that's simple isn't it.

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So this is an Atom/ION-class PC...

... with a DVD writer, a DVB-T2 card and some PVR software.

And they think they can sell it for £550 *and* collect revenue from the EPG adverts? And it won't export HD onto DVD and doesn't understand AAC.

Is it only in the UK market that we get such rubbish DVB products?

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Bronze badge

No

It's not a PC. Like virtually every PVR out there, it uses dedicated chips to do most of the donkey work, rather than general purpose ones.

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I know...

.. it's not built from PC components, but it is for functional purposes the equivalent of an Atom/ION class PC with appropriate peripherals and software. I also know that just at this precise moment you can't actually get a DVB-T2 tuner card. However, the roughly-equaivalent PC is the price point and functionality point with which it can reasonably be compared. The fact that its embedded CPU is probably significantly slower and its component count rather lower simply makes the comparison even less favourable.

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FAIL

Rather predictably..

Adverts in the interface? Well, fuck that, unless they're giving me the unit for free, too. Idiots.

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title

Another post decrying the advert-ridden interface.

I wrote to pasnasonic and got a similarly non-comprehending response.

So listen up Panasonic: I WILL NOT BUY YOUR GEAR WHILE YOU PUSH ADS AT ME. NO DISCUSSION. NO "VIEWPOINT INTERCHANGE".

My money stays in my pocket or goes to Sony, etc, instead of you, you dumb, dim-witted advert hawking fools.

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Sony also suffers from GuidePlus

Sadly Sony TVs also suffer from GuidePlus. I tend to use my PVR (Topfield) to watch TV rather than the TV tuner, so it's not a huge problem.

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Anonymous Coward

They put it in the TV??!!

GuidePlus is awful. Thanks for letting me know that. I can now cross Sony off the list of possibles next time I buy a TV.

My worry is that with it now normal for TVs to receive periodic patches (via OTA, USB and network) you never know when this kind of thing is going to be Trojaned onto your set after purchase. GuidePlus was trojaned onto a freeview set top box I once owned. Completely out of the blue.

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Panasonic UI is horrible, and GuidePlus even worse

I own a previous generation Panasonic PVR - it has the advantage that it usually does what is asked of it, unlike a previous Philips PVR I owned for three horrible weeks - but the user interface is slow, clunky and just plain awful. And the images in this review show that sadly, little has changed.

But GuidePlus, with 1/3 of the screen taken up by nasty lo-res adverts I didn't agree to, is the worst part by far.

If anyone can recommend a PVR that looks like it runs software written in the last two years, understands HD, has a decent EPG, a non-plastic remote control designed by someone who cares about aesthetics and generally just works, and doesn't involve a monthly subscription to anyone, I'd be more than happy to do an Office Space on my Panasonic.

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eject

is away from the tray so the tray wont eject into your hand as you press the button?

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Behemoth

It's massive, twice the size of a mac mini or more.

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Anonymous Coward

GuidePlus, Not even with a bargepole

As with others I stopped reading at GuidePlus. Will never buy anything with this. The single most useful information shops can put up front about their recorder boxes is what the EPG looks like. Knowing it's GuidePlus style really saves one a lot of time wondering about anything else. Just cross it off without a second thought and pretend it doesn't exist.

Panasonic must be relying on people who don't know what's waiting for them, haven't tried them out in the shop (which rarely are set up to let you) and haven't read any detailed reviews like this one.

I had freeview set top box a few years ago. It worked nicely for about three years. Then an over the air software patch arrived. I tried to skip it and ignore it, but it just kept on pestering us about the upgrade, so we relented. It was a Trojan for GuidePlus. It was terrible with a "feature" that deliberately tried to trick you into switching to a sponsored channel instead of the one you thought you were selecting (honest to god - the only reason you're using an EPG is to select a channel and these evil marketing cocaine addled arseholes think it's acceptable to hijack that simple thing so that you had to stay alert, realise the danger and press extra buttons nearly EACH TIME in order to opt-out of their "let's go to the sponsored channel" trickery).

It superficially offered us the choice of original EPG style, but each time we switched back it would revert to GuidePlus next time and force us back to the Settings menu. Luckily the very old telly broke a few months later and we got integrated digital. Very satisfying to junk the GuidePlus box. As far as we are concerned they have completely blown their chances with us. Never again, no matter how they tweak it.

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Anonymous Coward

Panashodic

I have a pana tv and have been waiting ages for something that will connect up and use the vierra link to keep it all simples.

I gave up waiting last month, bought a IPVision FetchTV SmartBox 8320HD and haven't looked back. So it wont do plastic discs... but everything else AND wifi and direct access to my Twonky NAS Box and has a webpage so I can access (and move) the recordings, and via registration remote recording and IPTV services. Dont forget iPlayer (channel 'BBC' 222) and skyplayer (channel 'sky' 759) and it'll export to, or play from, USB. oh and programmable remote so I need only one for the box and TV. oh and its not got guide+ and it doesn't mute when you want to check whats on. and its got PiP support too.. so I 've only got 320gb for recording in HD from two channels at the same time, or pausing / rewinding live tv.. but as I have a 2TB Nas its not a problem.

And the best bit... it cost less than half of a panashite.

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New Approach

In future reviews, why not open with whether it uses GuidePlus? It sounds like that will save a lot of readers from bothering. :)

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FAIL

bloody hell

At that price, I could slap another 2gb ram, a 1tb HD, another capture card & a Blue ray burner into my myth box - where do they get off with such a ridiculous price?

It's entirely possibly to build your own, or get an off-the-shelf mythtv box for half the price.

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