Panasonic are about to launch three Blu-ray disc recorders to the UK market in the summer. The reason for the change of heart by Panasonic, is that at last there is HD content available in the UK to make the market for a Blu-ray recorder viable. The advent of the Freesat HD broadcast service last year has now made it possible to record HD content without breaching any of Sky copyright protection.
Freesat for the uninitiated is the new satellite digital television service from the BBC and ITV which provides over 140 channels and HD content without the need for a contract or subscription payments.
Panasonic are now launching the three Freesat PVR models, Panasonic DMR-BS850, the Panasonic DMR-BS750 and the Panasonic DMR-XS350 all of which come with twin HD Freesat tuners, this allows for watching a programme from the hard disc whilst recording up to two additional HD programmes.
Panasonic models DMR-BS850 and DMR-BS750 are able to record to Blu-ray whilst the Panasonic DMR-XS350 is able to record to standard definition DVD only. The quality of the playback is as if you were watching the broadcast original this is due to the recording of the programmes as pure bitstream to the hard drive which eliminates the need for any decoding.
There are so many additional benefits to the new Panasonic recorder including the ability to record your music to the integrated hard disc including all the Gracenote track information. The DMR-BS850 and DMR-BS750 also have the ability to transfer HD camcorder footage to Blu-ray disc allowing for safekeeping but also for sharing with friends and family. Panasonic have also thoughtfully added an Ethernet connection, USB and SD ports.
Cost for this latest technology sting a bit the DMR-BS850 is just shy of £1,000 with the BS750 being about £100 cheaper, it may be as well to wait awhile to see if the price goes down a little after the initial launch.