In this age of home entertainment, with competing high definition formats, huge surround sound systems, digital television and HDMI cables running everywhere, it's rare to catch a glimpse back in time to some of the simpler formats that we've used to over the years. Still, every now and then it happens, and Panasonic's DMR-EZ47V is one of the more interesting instances of this phenomenon that we've witnessed. It's essentially a standard DVD/VCR combo, but one that combines a very old, analogue technology like VHS with newer technologies such as HDMI and high-definition video upscaling. It's a great product in and of itself, but one that's definitely geared towards those that are yet loathe to throw out their old VHS collections.
- Great recording functionality, support for DVD-RAM, DVD upscaling
- VHS becoming increasingly rare, no high-definition digital reception
Although the DMR-EZ47V is a great option for anyone looking for a DVD/VCR combo, the gradual disappearance of VHS tapes means that this product is really only suitable for those who already have large collections.
Price$ 549.00 (AUD)
As a recording unit, it's hard to fault the EZ47V. Recording is a simple, one touch process, when recording from TV to either VHS or DVD, or from either format to the other. This makes the EZ47V great for backing up media onto alternate formats or for less cluttered collections (in the case of VHS to DVD, at least!). Although the unit lacks a hard drive, support for DVD-RAM discs still gives it a lot of the benefits that DVD/HDD combos provide, including the ability to watch a previously recorded program whilst recording another to the same DVD-RAM disc, or rewind through a recording that's currently in progress.
The inclusion of a single standard-definition digital tuner also helps to make this a great product for those looking to move forward with their technology without losing some of their older devices and recordings. It picked up the majority of local channels quite easily with a quick scan, although it failed to exclude high-definition channels (which it's unable to display), so you'll need to disable these or set-up a favourites menu yourself to avoid having to flip through blank screens when channel surfing. The lack of dual tuners though means that you'll be unable to watch any channel apart from the one you're recording, although you'll still be able to watch other recordings or tapes/discs on the drive not being used to record.
The design is standard for a DVD/VCR combo, with both trays on the front panel, and the range of connections, including HDMI, component, composite, S-Video and optical audio on the rear. The inclusion of a VHS tray means that it's larger than slimline DVD players, for example, but if there's enough room in your cabinet for a VCR already, you shouldn't have too many problems replacing it with this product.
DVD upscaling, available through HDMI, is an interesting addition to the product, being that it's a relatively new technology included with a product designed around a significantly older technology. Nevertheless, it works well, adding noticeably more detail and definition to DVD movies, sharpening edges and generally improving the image quality.
The DMR-EZ47V isn't the kind of product that will appeal to everyone. VHS tapes are already quite close to becoming a remnant of the past, but for those that still enjoy watching their old collections, this product delivers a great combination of the old and the new.
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