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Panasonic's new DVD recorders: Diga this

Panasonic's latest Diga DVD recorders are packed to the brim with new features, with near-universal support for HDMI outputs, video upscaling, integrated Freeview tuners and dual-layer recording

There must have been a meeting over at Panasonic recently at which one enterprising creative type said, "DVD recorders -- they're a bit dull, aren't they? Let's just make a range that boasts every possible feature we can think of. That'll make our competition cry into its sushi."

Thankfully, the suits were listening, as the new Diga range from Panasonic is so good that we can't possibly think how they're going to improve on them next year.

All the new recorders feature an integrated Freeview tuner, HDMI output and video upscaling, universal recording support for DVD-R/RW, +R/RW and -RAM discs and even dual-layer recording too.

They also all feature an SD card slot for direct digital photo display. This suite of new features puts them way ahead of the current recorders on the market, something that's unlikely to change until they launch in June.

So what flavours will these world-conquering recorders come in? The DMR-EZ25 is the cheapest in the range, with vanilla DVD recording and a DV input for £249. The DMR-EZ45 is slightly more at £299, but it features a VHS deck as an old-school bonus.

Higher up in the range are the DMR-EX75 and DMR-EX85 DVD/hard drive recorders, set at £399 and £499 and with 160GB and 250GB hard drives respectively. The super-sized DMR-EX95V pictured to the right has everything, with a 250GB hard drive, a VHS deck and universal DVD recording. It isn't cheap at £649, but it is able to record from one format to another at the touch of a button.

Judging by these specs and previous experience, these look like the best DVD recorders we've ever seen. Wait till later in the year to find out if they're worth the hype. -GC