Panasonic DMRES15: Dual-layer on a budget

The ES15 is Panasonic's cheapest DVD recorder yet, but it features progressive-scan video and universal disc compatibility, including support for dual (count 'em) layer discs

Guy Cocker

We got rather excited about Panasonic's latest DVD recorder range last week, and the company has already started delivering on its lofty promises. The ES15 is slightly different from the rest of the range as it doesn't feature an integrated digital tuner or HDMI output. However, its USP is a high-value price tag, with interesting features that include progressive-scan video and support for dual-layer DVD recording.

The ES15 is actually the first sub-£200 dual-layer recorder we've seen, meaning you can fit up to 1 hour and 50 mins of highest-quality XP video on one disc. The recorder also supports every other format available, including DVD-R/RW,-R/RW and -RAM discs. Panasonic's RAM format is the most versatile choice, as it allows you to timeslip recordings and watch them as they're still being written.

The recorder also has component video outputs, so if you have a flat-screen TV you can get a progressive-scan video signal sent to your display. The recorder also features 1-second recording, so it gets up to speed almost instantaneously. Unlike many budget recorders, the ES15 also features a DV input, so you can make digital backups of all your home movies from a camcorder.

The ES15 lacks the frills of a Freeview tuner, DVD-Audio/SACD support and video upscaling, but it's one of the most fully featured budget recorders we've seen. We'll have a full verdict on the site very soon. -GC