Enjoy a safe, convenient shopping experience.Learn more

Main Content

Customer Ratings & Reviews

Your price for this item is $234.99

Customer rating

Rating 3 out of 5 stars with 76 reviews

50%would recommend to a friend.

Write a Review

Rating Filter

50%
would recommend to a friend
Page 1 Showing 1-20 of 76 reviews
  • Rating 3 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Not for Neophytes

    Posted .

    My preamble: this is my fourth DVD recorder. I've had cheap DVD recorders, and I've had high-end DVD recorders. I keep buying them because I want to watch all of the cable TV I pay for--without TiVo or cable provider DVR monthy 'fees.' This one loads faster than any of the other three recorders I've retired to the dump/destroyed, the recording quality from digital hi-def channels is great (even at LP speed), and the setup was easy (keep in mind this is my fourth DVD recorder). The chasing playback with DVD-RAM is a boon (if you can find the discs), and the playback through HDMI is nice. The built-in USB and SD card slots are a bonus. However, I hesitate to give this unit a better than 3 rating, as I see so many negative reviews (which are all valid points). The typical lifespan for a DVD recorder in my house is about one year (they're recording constantly). I use a second DVD player for playback to (hopefully) extend the life. The setup would be difficult for someone who hasn't setup a herd of DVD recorders before; it's far from intuitive. The price is too high, even considering the bonus USB and SD ports. The DVD-RAM discs will have to be ordered, which is an unfortunate inconvenience. The menus are not inuitive, either. Do not buy this unless you are or have a techno guru on hand to do the setup and an endless supply of ibuprofen/patience. Spring for the Best Buy service plan; DVD recorders come to my house to die, but you may get better longevity in your home.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 4 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Highly Recommended

    Posted .

    I've owned a Pansonic DMR-ES-20 DVD Recorder for about 4 years and have had pretty good luck with it. So when I decided I wanted a recorder with a digital tuner, I decided to trust Panasonic again. Actually, there aren't a whole lot of models out there these days as most consumers are willing to overpay for DVRs from their cable company. I couldn't believe the picture quality through the digital tuner. Particularly on the HD Channels. Sure, the channels aren't really in HD, but using an HDMI cable (Or even composite cables), I really cannot tell the difference. The result may not be true HD recordings, but it's extremely close. I think having owned a DVD recorder before, my learning curve was pretty easy. If this is your first unit, it will take a while for you to master the basic operation. Many have complained about the slow startup time and the fact that this unit is slow to respond to commands. Think of it as a computer. Do you expect your computer to boot up instantly? Even my HDTV takes 10 or 15 seconds to turn on. If you are patient, I believe you will be happy with this machine.

    I would recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 3 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Better Product???

    Posted .

    This is the first DVD recorder I have ever bought from Panasonic. Their VCR's were great. Learning to setup and use the EZ28 is very hard. I don't know what to expect next. The user interface is really difficult to use. I would expect more from Panasonic. If you have to put "EZ" in the product name, are you hiding the fact that it is not EZ? At least it does record, I should be happy about that. Don't expect much help from customer service unless you want attitude and condescending treatment. They never followed through with what they stated they would do. Unit probably programmed by cheap labor from some first year university student. I'm hoping they can attain their previous level of quality as they seemed to have done with their VCR's.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 3 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Not all DVD recorders from same company created eq

    Posted .

    As other people mentioned SOME lower-end Panasonic DVD recorders suffer system lockups. I experienced it with other Panasonic models too. Haven't experienced this yet with this one, but I just started using it. One thing I noticed, the tuner is REALLY slow on this. After programming the channels, pressing CH + or CH - takes longer to tune than other digital tuners I've used , either on other recorders, LCD tv's, or digital converter boxes. What makes it even worse - it won't tell you it received your command by updating the channel number until AFTER it tunes to it. If you press the button 4 times thinking it didn't take, you'll find you're 4 channels away when it does tune and it'll drive you crazy. You're better off changing channel on your cable/sat dish box instead I bought this model because it was 10% off and it recorded RAM's. Otherwise I would have bought a different brand.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 3 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Decent Recorder With Some bugs

    Posted .

    I purchased this recorder to replace a broken Panasonic DMR-ES15, which had served me well for several years. This unit's main advantage is the built-in ATSC digital tuner, meaning it doesn't require a converter box to tune the digital channels that will be the only way to receive over-the-air in February 2009. The recorder has an excellent picture. It will record the channels that are wide-screen and play back in wide-screen mode on the HDTV, and the picture quality, even though only standard definition, is excellent - almost as good as High Definition. Using RAM discs enables a useful feature - you can view an already-recorded show while recording something else. Sort-of like you can do with a hard-drive equipped DVR such as a Tivo. I have read about some people having problems with this unit, but so far, I have not had any great difficulty. Twice it locked up and I had to unplug it to clear it, but otherwise, it does its job pretty well. The Panasonic unit this replaced had a feature that you could store Titles for frequently-recorded programs, but disappointingly, this one does not. You have to key in the title every time you record something. The recorder has several quality modes, from one hour per disc to 8 hours. I find that setting it for four hours per disc gives the best compromise between recording length and picture quality. In my location, rabbit ears are insufficient to get a recordable digital signal. I had to purchase a high-gain outdoor antenna http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=9119642&type=product&id=1218027044954 shows the one I purchased, for which I also wrote a review. Using this antenna, the recorder receives a very strong signal and records an excellent picture. I'm sure there are other, more expensive DVD recorders on the market, and this Panasonic does have some issues, but it is a good value for the money and does create some high-quality recordings that justify the use of an HDTV. It is a good compromise between price and features. Of course, if you absolutely must be able to record in HD, this unit is not for you. You will need a Tivo-like recorder with a hard drive.

    I would recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 3 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Does the job but I wouldn't buy again.

    Posted .

    Aside from the fact that the user-interface design is "quirky" at best, I've had this unit freeze up on me several times. What's worse is this only seems to happen during recording. I get a message that it's "checking the disc", or something along those lines, but it has never once been able to continue on with the recording. The digital readout on the unit displays a succession of round lights which I'm guessing indicates that it's processing ... something. At one point I let this go on for nearly an hour and nothing happened. Eventually I had to unplug the unit to force a reboot. If I'm recording a movie and this happens I either have to trash the disc or accept that the movie will be split into to two seperate titles.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 2 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Not recommended for simple off the air recording

    Posted .

    Features

    Ease of Use
    1 out of 5
     
     
     
     
     

    I needed a DVD Recorder with a built in digital tuner. (My other machine, a Toshiba D-R4, only has an analog tuner.) I chose this unit simply because I had Best Buy store credit that I had to use the day I got it, and this was the only DVD Recorder in the store with a digital tuner at a reasonable price. I use this machine for basic, off-the-air timer recording when I am not home or asleep. And yes, it does the job, and the disks look great. But compared to the Toshiba, it is a major pain to program. The unit takes way too long to start up, and the timer recording process is not easy. I have been programming VCRs to record shows since I bought my first BetaMax in 1976, and I can say without a doubt, this machine has the most user-UNFRIENDLY process for timer recording this I've ever experienced. On top of that, the process for finishing the DVD afterward is also a pain, especially compared to what I was used to with my Toshiba. Furthermore, when recording a show which is broadcast digitally in 16 x 9, the machine records it as 4 x 3 letterbox, and when you play it back, it appears in a window, so you have to zoom in to fill your screen. There's really no excuse for that. I can't speak to its editing capability or any of the more advanced functions because I don't use it for anything other than off the air recording. Therefore, I can't recommend this unit. There must be a machine that has a far better user interface than this has, so do your homework! (I wish I had!)

    Features

    Ease of Use
    1 out of 5
     
     
     
     
     
    No, I would not recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 2 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Not yet ready for prime time.

    Posted .

    I got one of these at the same time as I got one of the government-subsidized converter boxes. I have two TVs that don't have digital tuners and this was my first time trying to receive the digital over the air signals. I set up the Insignia converter box first since it was cheap with the DTV coupon and I wasn't going to return it. Great reception on all my local digital channels using only rabbit ears and good quality output to my Panasonic EDTV monitor. Great. I unplug the converter box and work on the difficult task of patching the new DVD recorder into the entertainment system. Same rabbit ears in the same setup but this DVD recorder couldn't receive all the digital channels that the cheap-o converter box could get! I tried for a couple of hours adjusting the rabbit ears and going through the autosetup. There doesn't seem to be any way to make it add just one channel that it doesn't pick up on its own and it definitely doesn't have a "signal strength" feature, even if you could. The autosetup goes through ALL the analog channels first and THEN the digital channels and you can't select "digital only" either. So it will be searching for analog channels even long after there are no more analog channels. Finally, it erases all the channels it previously found each time it searches again and I could never arrange the antenna so that I could even add all the local channels. It never did pick up a couple of channels. I had already compromised in purchasing this unit. It doesn't record the digital HD signals it receives - it records HD signals as standard definition. So, I was looking at a steep retail price for a unit that can't receive the OTA channels I want to record, and when it can, it doesn't record them properly. What do I need this for, exactly? I brought it back and bought one of the Samsung digital tuners (which works great, by the way.) I'll revisit the Panasonic DVD recorder when they get their act together because I really enjoy the older model I have. But I returned this one the next day. Just wasn't worth it to me. Just a huge waste of my time.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 4 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Good product

    Posted .

    I like this product. I have had it for four years and it still works good. I record daily. I have found that it does not like the -R dvds. I have had no problems with the set up or ease of using this. I am not tech savvy either. I do think it is over priced. I would like to caution anyone who has satelite, you must watch whatever you are recording. You can not watch one channel and record another. This is true with all dvd recorders. I would recommend this recorder to everyone. I want another for the den.

    I would recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 2 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Needs ALOT of work!

    Posted .

    I bought this to replace my dying Philips DVP5960 and was looking for a DVD recorder as an upgrade. I used the USB slot instead of the dvd player for most everything because I can get the entire series of futurama plus all 4 movies onto my USB drive. Saves me from having to juggle 20 (legally purchased) DVDs. That said, let me get to my review: *As a DVD recorder and player, it works great. Picture quality is superb, even with a no-name tube TV. That is basically its only positive feature. *There is no divx playback with the SD card. The biggest feature about this recorder is the SD card because I have a brand new 8GB SDHC card, which was set aside to be used in place of my USB drive. No more worrying about the kids knocking into the USB drive and breaking it off (or so I thought). You can view pictures on it, but this is a useless feature for me. *There is no successive playback of divx movies on a USB drive, a fact which is only stated once--in tiny letters--in the manual. I spent 2 days trying to make it play everything on my USB drive, just to find out it is not possible. It does not even let you use repeat when viewing USB movies. *Firmware updates are a joke. There is no way to check the firmware version before upgrading--just burn a cd with the latest firmware image on it, if it upgrades great. If not, you have the latest version and have wasted a cd-r. I would imagine a firmware update would fix my above complaints, but I seriously doubt Panasonic will fix those problems. *User interface is needlessly difficult to use. It could be so much simpler if someone at panasonic had sat down and tried to use it. As a computer technician (and technophile), I was having a very difficult time trying to figure out the interface and menus. *Definitely NOT worth $250! For that price, I would have expected much more functionality and a much better user experience. I would not recommend this to anyone who wants to play movies on anything but DVD or for anyone who does not want to read the manual a few times then spend a few days playing around with it in order to figure out all the features.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 1 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Function design and execution very poor

    Posted .

    This unit replaced an older non-Panasonic DVD recorder that died. It connects to a Panasonic 42" plasma HDTV and runs in parallel with a Panasonic Blu-ray player. The other two Panasonic units merit five stars. Initial setup was only slightly more frustrating than that of the previous DVD recorder or for VCRs. The first sign of user-unfriendly design is that, when you set up you channels and want to name them, go about five screens down: functions-setup-channel setup-set channels manually-name channels where you key in the name. When you save the name, it returns you to the functions screen and you drill down five screens to enter the next name. And as you use the up arrow of the navigation disk to select letters, it is very easy to hit the scheduler button to take you out of functions and everything you did is lost. That kind of poor function design shows up throughout the user interface. Initial use was more frustrating, mainly from trying to find out how to do the things the previous DVD recorder or older VCRs did. How do you eject the DVD from the remote? you can't. How do you mark chapters? It doesn't work at first, until you read the small print that it only works on DVD-RAM disks (which we could only find available online). There are a lot of functions only available on DVD-RAM disks. How do you append the rest of a show to one you have stopped? Don't think you can. You can't hide chapters. You can mark them and delete them, but then you can't get them back, so if you made a mistake in marking, all is lost. The key problem we have encountered is in scheduling recordings. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. I called the Panasonic help line and they were very responsive, but of limited help with the problem. They suggested that it was bad disks, though the so-called bad disk will sometimes record and sometimes not. There have been no problems with recording without scheduling, using the record button, on any of our disks. They also say that Panasonic recommends that the user format all disks, including the DVD-RAM disks made by Panasonic. After many tries, we think that the unit records on schedule after you have opened the drawer and inserted a disk. If you don't open and close the drawer before the next scheduled recording, when the time to record comes up, the unit either opens the drawer and leaves it open or it displays the dreaded U99 error code. Turning the unit off and on clears the U99, but you have missed the scheduled recording. As an old computer programmer, I suspect an error in the unit's software, but Panasonic does not admit to that. In any event, this unit is totally unreliable and a VCR replacement for time-shifting broadcast shows. Panasonic does admit to one unresolved software bug. In order to record several shows from several channels without changing the channel on the cable box in between shows, we have connected the unit directly to the cable, not through the cable box. That means the digital channels are numbered in the channel sub-channel format. One problem is that the unit only takes channels up to 134, so we miss many of the cable channels. But we do get our favorites for recording, so it is not a big deal. But when we use the channel-up/down button, we do not scroll through all the channels we get. Channel-up scrolls from 117-1 to 118-1 and skips 117-2 through 117-7, which happen to be our NBC, ABC, CBS, etc. affiliate stations in HD. Scrolling down keeps you at sub-channel 1 of whatever channel you are on. Known bug, no fix. This seems to be an unusually bad design from an otherwise good company. I suggested to the BestBuy salesperson that BestBuy remove this item from sales and replace it with a better machine. This is the only Digital DVD Recorder with tuner (and no VCR) that they sell.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 2 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    not so hot

    Posted .

    I'm on my 3rd one in less than in a year. I really do like the recorder but, it doesn't last very long. I would say it gets less than average use so I don't know why this recorder keeps breaking. It freezes up, tray won't open or close, unit will not shut off, navigator button doesn't work, etc. Luckily, my local Best Buy store just exchanged it for me rather than sending it back to the manufacturer (who had the 1st one for over 2 mths and did nothing to it). If I could find another one that has the digital tuner built in I would buy it in a minute but I don't want a combo unit. This is the last time though, 3 strikes and you are OUT!

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 5 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Awesome machine !!

    Posted .

    I am quite tech savvy and have had several brands of dvd recorders over the past 10 years or so (most have been like "back in the day" good name brand electronics only to find out they're all made by Funai Electronic Corp.). And like most, I've found they don't last as long as we'd like. I replaced a working Sony-2009 model with this Panasonic only because it has a built in tuner, but so far it has exceeded my expectations. It has the coolest function called "Flexible Recording", which allows you to set the actual recording time for whatever you are recording and it will fill the whole disc and still keep the quality at a higher level. You still have the option of 1,2,4,6 or 8 hour record settings. Playback picture quality is great from standard dvd's and recorded dvd's. It may take some time for beginners to learn how to use all the neat functions on this thing but it will be well worth it ! Many advanced and useful features. I have had absolutely no problems with this unit at all. I like it so much that I'm actually thinking of purchasing another just to have as a back up...just in case. Overall I am extremely pleased with this product and would highly recommend it. My only hope is that it lasts and functions for many years to come.

    I would recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 3 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    NBC Channel 7 boston whdh 16:9 with a 4:3 bug

    Posted .

    There seems to be some kind of bug with this unit. It seems that channel 7 Boston does broadcast in true 16:9 but anamorphic. So what happens all local content gets cropped to a 4:3 image. Example you know when your watching the local news and sometimes that put wallpaper on the sides of the screen for 16:9 TV well the wallpaper is not there. They do this so they can still crop of 4:3 TVs for cable. This problem is only with NBC Channel 7 boston whdh. FOX, ABC, CBS do not have this problem. I called Channel 7 boston whdh and left a message and the next day NBC broadcast come in at 16:9 but if it is a local broadcast like news I get the crop. The funny thing is CB 56 had channel 7 news whdh on at 10pm and I get the 16:9 broadcast. Channel 7 whdh broad cast I think on channel 42 or 43 and still have the problem.

    I would recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 1 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Absolute Garbage

    Posted .

    This is, without a doubt, the worse piece of garbage I ever purchased. When I got it home I hooked it up to my HDTV using component video cables. Setup went well, finding all my analog and digital OTA channels as advertised. The problems started when tried to delete the unwanted analog channels. Scrolling through the channel listing the unit would hesitate, sometime for 10 seconds so if I had hit the remote button 5 times it would suddenly jump 5 positions onscreen. I then inserted a regular, store bought, studio recorded DVD to see how good they looked, however, up convert only works via the HDMI connection. The picture kept cutting in and out or it would get a doubled, warped, side by side image onscreen. I tried several DVDs with the same result. Except for that, the picture quality was the same as on my DVD player. I then tried to make a recording using a new DVD+R disk and I got an error message saying there may be a problem with the disk. It started a self diagnostic exam that lasted 10 minutes. When it finished I thought the problem was corrected. I tried to record again, the same thing happened. When it starts this self-diagnostics exam you cannot, no matter what you try, get it to stop. I even unplugged it and when I plugged it back in the diagnostics exam continued. When it finished I thought maybe I had a defective disk even though it was a brand new DVD+R. I tried another disk. SAME PROBLEM! This time it took 25 minutes to get that disk out at which point I disconnected that piece of garbage, boxed it back up and returned it. This may have been a defective unit but I don’t know and I don’t care. I will NEVER buy another. I give it 1 star because you cannot give a zero.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 4 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Works fine as replacement for VCR

    Posted .

    We purchased this unit to replace an old VCR that had finally stopped working. We have limited basic cable, which we had been using with the VCR without a cable box. Since this unit has a digital tuner we can now watch/record digital channels (some are in even HD) as well as analog. Scheduling recordings is easier then it was with our old VCR. We are using DVD-RAM discs to record to and recordings are organized into a grid with each recording having its own video playing so you can easily see what it is. This is all way better than having to fast forward thru tapes. One really great feature is the chapter function. If you get part of the way through a recording and have to stop it you can just hit the chapter button. Then when you start the recording again you can use the skip button to go straight to the point where you left off (the chapter you created). The only negative about this unit is that the tuner is very slow to lock on to each channel. You can forget about casually “flipping”. If your TV has its own tuner then it would be best to use a splitter with one cable going to the DVD recorder and one to the TV. That way you can use the TV’s tuner when you want to flip.

    I would recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 2 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Not reliable

    Posted .

    I am disappointed in this Panasonic product. I have had many Panasonic products and when it records it does a fine job, no better than the Toshiba one I had previously. My beef is that there are days it just decides not to record the show I have setup, no reason that I can find for it not to record. Because of this fact I can not recommend this item. Another problem is I can't seem to figure out how to have it create chapters as it records, it wants you to create them after the recording, how dumb is that!

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 4 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Affordable DVD recorder that works

    Posted .

    This device works as a DVD recorder as an upgrade from the VCR with the successful transition to digital TV from analog TV. The benefit of this recorder includes a digital tuner for the price, has many input capabilities, HDMI output for ease of connection, fairly good upconversion to 1080p, records onto many DVD formats, and fairly easy to understand. This device is NOT intended as a digital tuner upgrade for analog TVs as it is EXTREMELY slow to switch between channels. The issues I have with this device includes the fact that the remote lacks an eject button, the remote lacks extensive control of the TV making it fairly useless as a multi-device remote, the DVD recorder freezes once in a while when faced with unsupported video formats with few user friendly remedies to reset the recorder (ie hold the ON button for 30+ seconds, hit the reset button with a paper clip, or unplugging the device completely), the player doesn't play MPEG format files, the SD drive and USB drive doesn't read media files ( only JPEGs ), runs hot and with quite a bit of noise during operation from the weak single fan that is mostly exposed at the back of the machine, utilizes quite a bit of power while in standby thus making it warmer than usual and should not be in close contact with other electronics, and slow start-up time. Overall the machine works well as a simple replacement for the VCR in this digital age and not a DVR (ie TiVo). There are a couple of upgrades that I hope Panasonic could have made to make this device even better. 1-having multi (5) disk loading/storage capability to increase the memory available to make the machine more similar to a DVR and reduce the need to ever having to exchange discs, 2- a better scheduling menu/software, 3-a better remote.

    I would recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 1 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    Not so great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted .

    Bought one of these units about 2 years ago as a backup,based on very positive expierence with dual deck vhs/dvd recorder from Panisonic. Having burned several thousand dvd on the old deck you can imagine my disapiontment when I went to use it a couple of days ago only to see the "no read" message on the deck.This unit has been used to view dvds very few times and probably only burned less than 30.DVD cleaner had no effect as the unit wouldnt recognize the cleanup disk and the owners manuel was useless in explaining what had occured.I have read that this is not a uncommon problem and repairs start at about $135 and go up from there.My advise to anyone considering one of these units,dont or buy a 4 year warrenty.BEWARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend
  • Rating 2 out of 5 stars with 1 review

    A lot of hassle

    Posted .

    I'm not a "techie" so understanding the manual was not easy. I thought maybe the Memorex brand was the problem when after only 8 to 12 uses, it started giving me error messages instead of recording the programs I wanted. But the same thing happened when I switched to the Sony brand of DVD. After about 18 months of using it, Panasonic said they would replace it if I shipped to their headquarters along with a check for $165.00. I told them no thanks since a new one would only be an additional $70 and I could have it in a day instead of 3 to 6 weeks.

    No, I would not recommend this to a friend