Panasonic DMR-XW350

The Panasonic DMR-XW350 DVD recorder is similar to the XW450 in that you can watch Picasa and YouTube, but features a smaller 250GB hard drive.


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Panasonic has unveiled its newest Blu-ray and DVD recorders, and the company's best new feature is the Viera Cast function &mdash letting users browse YouTube and Picasa. This alone makes the DMR-XW450 (full review) at AU$1,319 and DMR-XW350 at AU$1,099 the most feature-packed DVD recorders on the market.

Upside
The best way to think of these products is as an HD PVR with DVD backup. Both models feature dual-HD tuners which means you can watch one program in HD while recording another. While TiVo and Foxtel also let you do this they don't have on-board backup, and TiVo wants you to pay AU$199 to move your recordings off the machine, you can't backup on-board.

The difference between the DMR-XW350 and DMR-XW450 is that the former has a 250GB hard drive while the latter has 500GB of space. Panasonic has given both players a more efficient H.264 encoder and so the DMR-XW350 can now record up to 120 hours of content. If you have a lot of DivX movies, you can now watch these via the on-board USB slot or when burnt onto a DVD.

One of the key differences between the Panasonic Viera Cast system and the LG BD370 is that Panasonic is able to upgrade its service without the machine needing to be updated — it's all server-based. Panasonic hinted that further services will be made available, but wasn't able to provide details. Can anyone say "movie downloads"?

Downside
We had some problems with the previous Panasonic DMR-XW300 model, namely that you couldn't watch TV while you transfer programs to the DVD drive. We're hoping that Panasonic has fixed this, but somehow doubt it.

One difference between this recorder and a normal DVR like Foxtel iQ2 is that it doesn't buffer shows by default, and so to "Rewind Live TV" you have to start recording it first. Panasonic says it does this for disk drive reliability, but we think it's just annoying. How many times have you said: "What did they just say?" and wanted to check? Panasonic makes it harder to be able to do this.

Also missing is the ability to program your recorder from the web, which is one of the best features of competitors Topfield, TiVo and Foxtel.

Outlook
Without competition from other manufacturers, the DMR-XW350 and DMR-XW450 are still unique in their field. They have access to the free EPG, can playback YouTube videos, and should be able to playback your DVD collection with some degree of authority. They are also arguably better value than a full-fledged Blu-ray recorder like the DMR-BW750 or DMR-BW850.

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brucesh
1
Rating
 

"Bitterly dissapointed"

brucesh posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Recording programs to HDD

The Bad:Overpriced, techical rubbish

I purchased the xw350 about five years ago and during that time I have never been able to master this machine, at the time I spent almost $1,000 for a machine that records programs ok, but will not play back either copied DVD or video on USB. I have given up on using this system as a playback device and purchased a simple DVD player for $99 and guess what it simply and easily plays recorded video through to my TV. I should have purchased TIVO or similar and saved myself the stress and angst of trying to get this useless and very expensive piece of rubbish to work.

 

LyndalG posted a reply   

Sorry you have had this experience. I bought mine on Ebay in Jan 2009 and have had none of the trouble you mentioned. Did you contact Panasonic? Your warranty should have covered this fault. I love my unit and have just tried to find another on Ebay but they rarely come up so I have bought a 390 for $356.00 for the family room. I always buy Panasonic and have had no problem.

rcarvosso
3
Rating
 

"DMR-XW 350 programme recording quality issues"

rcarvosso posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Good user experience during first 12 months use.

The Bad:Very poor user experience since first 12 months, just after standard warranty expired!

A really disappointing experience after 12 months use of DMR-XW 350 version, we now get really bad digital video and audio jitter / distortion / break-up during programme recording mode. Not during normal programme viewing, just during programme recording. Ant similar experiences? Any fixes?

 

Vic posted a comment   

Can someone help? Have one of these and can no longer play DVD's on it. Wont switch between HDD and DVD?
Tried to reset to factory settings but nothign? Cant find anything in manual to help me. It is 15 months old.

zag
9
Rating
 

zag posted a review   

The Good:stores all my music - random play all day

The Bad:how can I back up 3500 songs in case the machine fails

I love it but I can't figure out how I can back up the hard drive

 

Heather posted a comment   

My husband has no problem using it. He normally ends up throwing things as he gets frustrated. Have no faults with it.

Jo
3
Rating
 

Jo posted a review   

The Good:Easy to record TV show

The Bad:Problem accesting HDD

I can access or recording to the HDD does anyone know how to fix it?

 

sooshi posted a comment   

hi can anyone tell me what type of dvd disc is required for the dmexw350 when i put one in be it + or - it says to format disc. I haven't got a clue how to do this. Any advice appreciated many thanks

Traff
7
Rating
 

Traff posted a review   

The Good:a great player once you learn how to drive it

The Bad:not as simple to operate as it could be

I had the "HDD supposedly full yet it shows up as empty so I cant record anything and there is nothing to delete" problem - solution was to format the HDD via the function control button on the remote - select "other" then "setup" then HDD-disc" then "management" - I had to delete everyting from the HDD but once i had done that it gave me back 36:32 of time on the HDD and I can now record again

 

Diana posted a comment   

The Good:not much

The Bad:HDD was full but 'No titles recorded'

I had to reformat the HDD today and consequently lost a month worth of shows. I had 30:00 DR remaining on my HDD last night and then today I had 00:00 DR remaining. None of the shows I previously recorded were even listed yet it claimed the HDD was full & I needed to delete unwanted programs. I couldn't delete the recorded shows as the navigator said 'No titles recorded' and it said 'Not enough space on HDD Please delete unwanted titles'. Not happy at all, I bought it in November 2009 and an extended warranty for $1032. Yes I should back-up my programs but surely it should be more reliable.


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User Reviews / Comments  Panasonic DMR-XW350

  • brucesh

    brucesh

    Rating1

    "I purchased the xw350 about five years ago and during that time I have never been able to master this machine, at the time I spent almost $1,000 for a machine that records programs ok, but will not..."

  • rcarvosso

    rcarvosso

    Rating3

    "A really disappointing experience after 12 months use of DMR-XW 350 version, we now get really bad digital video and audio jitter / distortion / break-up during programme recording mode. Not durin..."

  • Vic

    Vic

    "Can someone help? Have one of these and can no longer play DVD's on it. Wont switch between HDD and DVD?
    Tried to reset to factory settings but nothign? Cant find anything in manual to he..."

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