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Panasonic DMR-EX98V: VHS lives on

If you need to see your VHS collection in all its analogue glory, why not take a look at the new Panasonic DMR-EX98V VHS, DVD and Freeview upscaler

There's got to be someone left with some VHS tapes. While most of the world has upgraded to DVD, there's someone out there who is refusing to pay for another copy of Star Wars. If that's you, then Panasonic has a product it thinks you might be interested in -- if it can prise you away from your money.

The DMR-EX98V is essentially a VHS deck, DVD writer and HDD-based Freeivew receiver. It's the electronic equivalent of a Swiss Army knife. The EX98V promises to upscale both DVDs and VHS, which gave us a shock because attempting to upscale low-quality analogue recordings is a fool's errand.

We're amazed on an almost daily basis by how electronics companies attempt to polish the proverbial excrement by offering to upscale anything that they can lay their hands on. Of course, for the most part, we know it's a load of old rubbish, but that doesn't stop them from pushing on with it anyway.

Despite our scepticism with the concept of upscaling any old footage and presenting it in 1080p, the EX98V has enough built-in features to make it a really good choice for some people who have a lot of different media. We can see it being a popular choice with home movie enthusiasts too, because you can connect DV cameras to it and use it to copy footage. Plus, the addition of VHS means any old format, VHS-C camcorder tapes you have can be accommodated.

It also features a 250GB built-in hard drive, so you'll be able to store frankly ridiculous amounts of TV shows and even music -- the Panny can copy music from your CDs directly onto the hard drive, and get track information from its built-in Gracenote database. So we'll let Panasonic off its crazy VHS upscaling claims, as they seem to have created a box with a genuine use, even if we threw our tape collections out years ago. -Ian Morris