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Christmas Gift Guide

When Panasonic announced last month it would be bringing Blu-ray recorders with built-in freesat to the UK, we were over the moon -- finally, we could cram all our set-top box needs into one handly little device. But it's not all good news -- as we said at the time, these recorders are far from a bargain, starting at a breathtaking £900.

However you feel about the features and cost, we're happy to announce they're finally starting to arrive -- and we've got a look at the DMR-BS750, which features a 250GB hard drive, twin freesat tuners and a bunch of other awesome stuff. Its brother the BS850 bumps the memory up to 500GB, but is otherwise identical.

Although this isn't the first time we've seen the machine, it's the first time we've been able to get our grubby paws over it. We have to say, for a machine that does so much, it has an impressively small footprint. If we didn't know it was a Blu-ray freesat recorder -- and if it wasn't festooned with stickers proclaiming its abilities -- we might just assume it was a normal Blu-ray player.

The DMR-BS750 costs around £900, but despite the high price tag we're very excited about testing this funky little machine -- expect a full review of its skills soon. In the meantime, have a look at it in detail with our technoporn hands-on photo gallery.

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Blu-ray media is still reasonably expensive, but for backing up HD material it's the only really practical storage medium.
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SD cards offer a good way of getting video in and out of the DMR-BS750. You can use the built-in card reader to look at photos or listen to music. You can also copy video to cards from the hard disk, as long as they don't have any copy protection (HD is always protected).
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The box is festooned with all sorts of logos explaining what the 750 can do...
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...and some dire warnings about what you should be wary of.
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Logo festoonment continues on to the machine itself, with the usual Blu-ray graphic and Panasonic's own Diga (pronounced 'digger') logo present too.
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We like the styling of the DMR-BS750 and we can hardly believe all the built-in functionality it offers -- albeit at a hefty price.
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Panasonic remote controls are much of a muchness. That's not to say we don't like them though.
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Scart, component video RCA jacks and the usual S-Video and composite inputs and outputs are all present and correct. Plus there's both optical and coaxial digital audio jacks.
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Twin tuners mean you'll need twin LNBs free on your satellite dish. If you have Sky+ already and you're switching to freesat, you'll be fine, as will people paying £80 for a freesat install. If you've only got one LNB input, which is common with communal satellite dishes, you'll be stuck watching and recording one thing at a time. Still, you can always enjoy one of those recordings you've made -- or a Blu-ray movie.
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HDMI is included, of course. Ethernet is provided to facilitate both BD-Live functionality and, hopefully, iPlayer when it comes to freesat at some point this year.
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Oh noes -- lasers!
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A chunky fan will ensure you don't blow up your expensive new toy with excess heat (or lasers). Thank goodness.
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Additional AV inputs are provided on the front of the machine...
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...along with DV, USB and SD card facilities. You also get some basic controls.
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There you have it. The Panasonic DMR-BS750 in all its glory. There will be a full review available very soon -- so stay tuned.
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