Panasonic DMR-BW880 review: Panasonic DMR-BW880

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CNET Editors' Rating

5 stars Spectacular

Average User Rating

2 stars 1 user review
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Plenty of storage capacity; fantastic Blu-ray player; easy to use; stylish; network-sharing capability.

The Bad You'll have to sell a major organ to pay for it.

The Bottom Line The Panasonic DMR-BW880 is a superb piece of kit. If you want a Freeview HD recorder with ample storage capacity, and the ability to play and record to Blu-ray discs, then we can't think of a machine more worthy of your attention. Just try and get it when there's a sale on

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In the past, we've chastised Panasonic's personal video recorders for two reasons: their price and their lack of twin tuners. With the DMR-BW880, the company has fixed one of these issues. Can you guess which one? 

Well done. At £800, the DMR-BW880 certainly isn't the sort of machine we could describe as a bargain. It does, however, have twin Freeview HD tuners, for which Panasonic should be applauded, as well as a 500GB hard drive and a Blu-ray drive.

Freeview, Blu-ray, DVD bonanza
The DMR-BW880 is one of the first Freeview HD recorders we've seen. Its twin, high-definition tuners are able to record two channels at once, or you can watch one channel while recording another. Alternatively, you can record two shows at the same time, while watching something via either the hard drive or Blu-ray player. You can record to the hard drive, a DVD or a Blu-ray disc.

The display is basic but handy nonetheless

The machine offers a number of modes that increase the length of time you can record for. Unfortunately, they'll also reduce the quality of the finished recording. Panasonic's modes are very good, and will do a decent job of saving space on your hard drive, but we still don't think using them is a good idea. Frankly, Freeview looks rubbish enough at the best of times, without the further reduction in quality that results from more compression.

Retro display 
As is usually the case with Panasonic products, the compact DMR-BW880 is very well designed. It's not especially exciting to look at, but it's going to sit under your TV, not on the cover of Vogue magazine, so its appearance isn't exactly a deal-breaker.

On the front, there are a few simple controls, such as power and eject buttons. There's also a display that tells you how many of the machine's Freeview HD tuners are busy recording. There's also a clock that will tell you how far into a programme you are. The display is handy, if rather basic and dated.

Set-up is a breeze
To get the DMR-BW880 up and running, all you need to do is plug it into the aerial socket, give it some mains juice and turn it on. It will automatically tune itself in less than 5 minutes, and then you'll be ready to get on with watching Blu-rays, recording Freeview programmes and doing other awesome things.

The DMR-BW880 has some power-saving options that you might also want to pay attention to. You'll be asked about these as you're setting the machine up. Basically, the DMR-BW880 will switch itself off after making recordings or copying files, should you wish it to. You can also make it remain in standby mode until a certain time, at which point it will enter a power-saving mode. It's good to see these features, as they can really help to reduce your electricity bill.

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Where to Buy

Panasonic DMR-BW880

Part Number: CNETPanasonic DMR-BW880

Typical Price: £800.00

See manufacturer website for availability.