Good Performer but slightly Over Priced by some retailers.
This Unit has replaced an older TOPFIELD DVB and the Panasonic is equivalent in all aspects and can handle the New Formats of HD TV and the Differing Digital Sound Outputs of each Station, MPEG, AAC, Dolby Surround. The Only problems encountered initially were that the Unit Initially produced bad picture jitter on the connected TV but after I did a software Update as per the Operating Instruction Book, Page 92,95 the jitter reduced on the cheap 10yr old BAUHN 47" 100hz HD TV. The DVB Operating Menu takes awhile to get used to after a TOPFIELD unit but it all works quite well, with a few minor problem areas such as trying to re designate recorded programs and the fast forward function on recorded programs isn't as good as Topfield because this unit doesn't show how much more of a program is left. Netflix and UTube works well via WiFi and that is better than TopField.
The Programming and Recording of Channels is very good in both SD and HD TV.
Overall the Unit is quite Good but you need to shop around to get the right price.
Advertising Agencies Hate This Device
Given the frequency, length and inane content of TV commercials it is impossible to watch commercial TV in Australia without one of these devices. We record all programmes on commercial TV that we want to watch and, the moment the ad break looms, we hit forward to the next chapter mark and you're back with the show having skipped the dog food / nappies / shampoo etc. etc.
We bought this Panasonic to replace our aging Sony unit which did not receive all the HD channels in the new format. Never really bought much Panasonic gear before but am really pleased with this unit.
The set-up is easy and all menus are intuitive.
Given it's advanced features I am able to watch recorded shows remotely via my smart phone due to the units interface with my home wifi network. I am also able to set up record, delete programmes etc in a similar method.
I can also use Windows Explorer to drag and drop recorded shows from the Panasonic to my PC for archiving purposes if required. Although in tts format they can be watched via VLC player or converted to a more common format with Handbrake or similar software.
The unit also performs well streaming video via a DLNA device on your home network and handles other video streams (YouTube / Netflix) well, provided you have NBN or a fast ADSL connection.
The only issue I have come across with an otherwise top notch piece of kit is that the sound on playback occasionally stops for no apparent reason. It will then restart again but is out of sync with the video. I haven't yet been able to isolate the cause of this and it may well be an issue with my amp. If I determine that it is the Panasonic I'll return it under warranty to resolve this issue. At present the workaround is to stop play, restart the unit and then click on "play from last stop point".
Aside from this annoying sound issue I can highly recommend this unit.
A great recorder, but some Manual info a bit sketchy
The straight forward stuff is well explained and easy to follow. I love it. However some instructions are a little hard to find or follow. Recording a programme on every Monday to Friday I know is possible, but have yet to discover how to set it. For the moment I'm working around that and my overall impression is favorable.
Three Tuners: the Way to Go
Panasonic's DMR-BWT955GL is a powerful and versatile home entertainment hub. Its standout feature is its three tuners, which enable recordings of three free-to-air programmes at the same time.
Keyword Recording is a new feature, which supplements Timer Recording, giving users a range of recording options.
Because BWT955 is a Blu-ray disc recorder it can copy shows and movies from its HDD (hard disc drive) to blank BD-Rs and DVD-Rs for archiving. But it can also playback Blu-ray discs, DVDs and CDs, a boon for those of us who have built a library of pre-recorded discs.
Picture reproduction is excellent.
Operations in BWT955 are snappier than in some previous Panasonic models.
Some controls are in place when watching live TV such as Pause Live TV and Rewind Live TV, both of which work well.
Time-shifting benefits from buttons that instantly move playback of a recorded programme any nominated number of minutes forward and back (plus a 10-second rewind button), a pleasant relief from fast scrolling frame by frame. Because 95% of my TV viewing is time-shifted this capability to flash forward and rewind is much appreciated.
Once a programme is copied to the HDD you can edit-out commercials and unwanted bits for more enjoyable replays.
On rare occasions, some programmes set for recording may fail to do so due to channel blackouts, for which some of them, based on anecdotal evidence, BWT955 may be responsible.
Because heir-apparent, DMR-UBT1GL-K, is a twin-tuner I would suggest go with BWT955. The UBT1GL-K has true 4K capability but only two tuners; the BWT955 has only 4K upscaling but is a triple tuner. Because I'm not into 4K viewing as yet and because two tuners would not be kind to Keyword Recordings I've opted for the triple-tuner.
DMR-BWT955GL is a powerful and sophisticated machine that has many wonderful little touches, but above all it hands incredible control over free-to-air viewing into your hands.
LONG VERSION ----------------------------------- WARNING ------------------------------------------ LONG VERSION
Silly me to have waited for so long to upgrade from my twin-tuner Panasonic XW450 when the DMR-BWT955GL has been available since 2015. Because in 2015 the XW450 worked perfectly (in basic terms of recording and playback) I didn't have the excuse to spend the money ("if it ain't broke, don't fix it"). Well, come April 2018, the XW450 still works perfectly, but far too many times the twin-tuner system has been a let-down when three fascinating or at least promising TV programmes are on at the same time – when it rains, too often it pours. The BWT955's triple-tuner capability makes for a most handy umbrella.
The limitation of pre-recording 32 programmes at any one time with Timer Recording (TR) is somewhat overcome by Keyword Recording (KR), a search-and-record feature. Wow, I can record, say, "Father Brown", shown on two channels (ABC1 and 7TWO – correct as at mid-April 2018), just by inputting "Father Brown" in the keyword field and clicking Set. It's done. BWT955 will find all the episodes of the series and – most likely – record them, without adding to the 32-limit TR list.
"Most likely" because Keyword Recordings are not guaranteed. They are powerful but delicate. To be sure check for the blue marker next to the programme in the TV Guide. The problem is KRs are peripherals. If there is overlap between three Timer Recordings and a KR, the KR will be dismissed without warning, which is why regular checks must be made for the blue marker. If a TR overlaps a KR on the same channel, even by one minute, the KR will not record. There's also "cannibalism" among KRs. If there are two TRs in the same time slot and two KRs are vying for the third spot in the slot, the higher priority KR (higher in the list) will "eat up" the blue marker of the (lower) other. So, for example, a half-hour KR clashes with a four-hour KR (say a live telecast of soccer's World Cup), and we forget to lower the half-hour KR on the list, in relation to the four-hour KR, no part of the World Cup telecast will be recorded. With KRs it's all or nothing. If you wish for greater certainty of recording, convert the KR to TR. Then at least should it clash with three other TRs a dialog pops up to give you a chance to decide which one of the four competing programmes to remove.
Another example of KR's power is future-spotting. I've keyword-ed "The Relic", a film I have a hazy recollection of but would like to see again. BWT955 will search all free-to-air channels for the title with the intention to record it. However, as it is not presently listed in the TV Guide (true as at 23/5/2018), BWT955 will wait until the scheduling of the title comes within the TV Guide's 7-day range, even if it takes presumably months (or years) – as long as I don't delete the keyword. KRs are workhorses, saving humans doing repeated and laborious manual searches.
There's also future-proofing. Some time ago I keyword-ed "Dog with a Blog" expecting two episodes one after another to be recorded. Lo and behold, to my surprise, three episodes were recorded: 7flix at the last moment decided to run an additional episode. KR captured the moment wonderfully.
Like anything powerful, use KR judiciously. I keyword-ed "Everybody Loves Raymond" (Channel 11) and up to 48 episodes (as at mid-April 2018) were listed for recording in the next seven days, most of them repeats of repeats. "Everybody Loves Raymond" may be better suited for Series Timer Recording, a function that intelligently senses and excludes repeats of repeats.
Generically BWT955 is a PVR (personal video recorder), but it's also a Blu-ray disc recorder. Not only can BWT955 playback Blu-ray discs and DVDs but also export TV-sourced shows and movies from its HDD to blank BD-Rs and DVD-Rs for archiving. High-definition recordings can be copied from the HDD straight to BD-R discs, without the need to downgrade quality. (Warning: though BWT955 will copy to DVD+RW, it will not do so in high-speed).
The machine is versatile. No better is this shown when it is busily recording three programmes simultaneously, during which a user can playback a film from a Blu-ray disc or DVD or listen to music from a CD or watch a previously recorded programme from the HDD or – by accessing the TV's tuner via BWT955's remote – watch any fourth channel or, finally, playback any one of the three recording programmes. To the list may probably be added watching a streamed show or film from, say, Netflix (however, I haven't signed up to a streaming service so I'm not able to verify this).
Picture quality? Watch playback of what has been a live broadcast in high definition of Channel 90's night-time rugby league and few will doubt the superb reproduction of true-to-life colours – and in remarkable detail, such as glints on sweat from close-ups of players' foreheads.
The colour scheme for dialog screens has improved from XW450's, with the use of light grey background now highlighting the active (brighter – usually yellow) areas of an interactive dialog. Many dialog buttons are beautifully coloured in gradient yellow, but not all, those left out look bland.
Changing the name of a programme or entering text in a field is now efficient with the revamped "typing" screen.
Operations in BWT955 are snappier than they were in my XW450, with only few functions remaining a touch slow, those few mostly involving redrawing of thumbnails.
The BWT955 allows awesome control of one's viewing of free-to-air-sourced programmes. Once a programme has been recorded to the HDD, you can edit-out (by inserting chapter marks) commercials and boring bits for more enjoyable replays.
In the nearly sixteen weeks since purchase, the red "REC" light blinked seemingly endlessly seven times (not to be confused with the normal one-or-two-minute blinking prior to a recording). The first two instances have been fixed by switching off Guide Link from the programmes on the TR list that had this function active. The last five instances were due to "No Signal" messages on blank screens (channel blackouts). At first I thought cause lay at the point of signal transmission, ie with the TV stations, or along transmission lines, eg by inclement weather. However, cause may sometimes lie with BWT955: I'm thinking here a certain background operation takes place in BWT955 that interferes with the TV signal. Because these events appear to be random and unpredictable, my feeling is that Panasonic engineers may have not yet identified BWT955's possible role in blacking out a TV channel. Once identified, a software fix may be on the way. Whatever the cause, thank goodness it's rare.
Last year's release of Panasonic's beautiful-looking truly 4K-capable DMR-UBT1GL-K (heir apparent to the BWT955) is disappointing because of this spec: twin-tuner. First casualties will be free-ranging but vulnerable Keyword Recordings (even TRs have difficult moments with two tuners, for unrestrained and un-monitored KRs it will be a massacre). Though there is a trend in watching programmes by way of streaming (eg, Netflix) and because programmes obtained by such may not conflict with Timer Recordings and KRs, the reversion to two tuners may have been Panasonic's accommodation to the trend. Still ... I'm confused. How many of us enjoying three tuners would want to go back to two? A re-modelling of Panasonic's top-of-the-line audio-visual hub may one day see it become a 4K-UHD disc recorder, with four tuners and with the 32-limited list for TRs lifted to 48, perhaps doubled to 64. Instead, with UBT1GL-K, we're offered one step back (3 to 2 turners) and one step remaining on the spot (32 TR limit) for only one step forward (true 4K capability). A wayward product evolution if ever there was one.
DMR-BWT955GL should be a market winner for those not committed to true 4K viewing because of the incredible power it puts at your fingertips – and, of course, I can't over-emphasize the importance of those three tuners for Keyword Recordings. Having used the machine for nearly 16 weeks, I continue to be impressed by how everything has been put together. Except for BWT955's suspected involvement in some of the rare channel blackouts, in almost every other way it’s an improvement over my XW450. My one regret is not having bought the triple-tuner in 2015.
(Till Wednesday, 8 August 2018, JB Hi-Fi has 20% off ticketed prices on all Panasonic Blu-ray disc recorders, bringing BWT955 down to $558).
(Updated: 4 August 2018).
It works but overall disappointing for a premium priced product
I got the DMR-BWT599GL as a replacement for my old Humax 4Tune which gave up the ghost. The Humax had 4 Tuners and with it's 3 tuners, this Pana was the nearest thing easily available. Based on past brand experience, I was prepared to be blown away by the refinement of the Panasonic, compared to the Humax. Well, that didn't happen!!
General sound and picture quality is good but I keep seeing this comb pattern at quick changes of video content (reminiscent of badly done bob & weave deinterlacing). C'mon, Panasonic!
But surely, the Panasonic refinement of the user interface will shine, I thought. Nope! I thought the Humax could've done with some improvements but the DMR-BWT599GL seems decidedly clunky, restrictive and generally not very well thought out. It does work, it's just not very good and has some frustrating quirks. You probably wouldn't notice it so much if you haven't seen something better. ;-)
The Panasonic feature list looks really good on paper but the problem is that there are fine print conditions attached everywhere. Yes, it has a 4K logo but all it does is some upscaling. Yes, it has 3 tuners but once you are recording 3 programs (not out of bounds in prime time) than you can only watch one of those 3 programs. What the...?! Being restricted to 3 TV stations would be understandable but I was hoping the Pana could pull out programs from other subchannels on the same station. I could go on.
Programming is not as easy as on the other PVRs I have used. There is a lot of clicking required to access features and guessing where some features may be. Then, there are the inconsistencies. As one example, when you set your prerecording and you switch the unit off while recording is active, that's fine, you don't lose anything. However, if the program is running and you select live recording and you switch off, it terminates your recording. You can't just easily add time buffers to recordings. Sometimes it lets you, sometimes it does but limits how much you can add and sometimes outright refuses it. This means a lot of missing ends of programs. I know that stations supposed to mark programs accurately, but at least in Sydney, this is not always so. There is heaps other annoying stuff. In hindsight, my much derided old Humax UI runs circles around the Pana...
The remote is OK...ish. It's weirdly balanced though. Both my partner and I often grab it in the dark back to front. It's to do with the shape and weight distribution of the remote. Not a big deal but I've never had the same problem with other remotes (including Panasonic ones.)
I must give to Panasonic that they have one brilliantly good feature (also present in previous Panasonic products). In the slowest fast forward mode, you can hear sped up sound while preserving pitch accuracy. It's like fast talking but doesn't sound like chipmunks. I often use it to run through less interesting bits of programs and not missing anything.
Ultimately, the few strengths are not enough to outshine the weaknesses. This may be acceptable at budget gear, but the Panasonic DMR-BWT599GL commands premium price where such weaknesses are unacceptable. I probably would've stretched the rating to 2 1/2 stars, had it been possible. It's just not worth 3 stars.
Overall, I'm quite disappointed!
Edit: During the 5-6 weeks since I got it, I had some strange shutdowns. The unit would be motoring along happily, recording a program, us watching a program and it would just power off by itself with no user input. It only happened a couple of times and I can't reproduce it at will. Very annoying. On one of the occasions, I had trouble restarting it. It would power up and go right off. Puzzled, I waited a couple of minutes and it was fine again. At least, the background recording was OK, no interruption occurred.
Another black mark from me!
Near perfection. Without something like this, watching commercial TV is plain impossible.
Quality speaks for itself, this is why I have Panasonic.
First I had the DMR-XW480 (2 channel DVD recorder w/o blue-ray). Already great.
But since it could not play blue-ray, and since the DMR-BWT955GL's HD is way bigger, I bought that one, too.
The remote controls of both units are identical, and on the same frequency, thus I had to design a "high-tech"-solution ;) ... to be able to control one but not the other at any one time: A bit of cardboard in front of the infrared-receiver of the recorder, which I do not use at the moment...
Great huge storage space!
Great quality of the recordings.
Unit does not miss a beat, i.e. always works.
Can't remember which of the 2 recorders plays up once in a blue moon. Solution: Pull the plug, wait 30 sec. and plug in again (just like in IT-Crowd... ;)
Watching live-commercial-TV would be simply impossible without a device like this.
If the only way to watch TV in Australia would be to watch it live, I would not have a TV at all and my life would be totally different...
The coolest feature on that recorder: Do do not know how it works, but after completing a recording the recorder placed automatically markers, which are most of the time where ads start and end, thus, watching a movie has been made possible...!
Sometimes the marker, however, are all over the place, e.g. when Big Bang Theory is being broadcast.
7flix sets no markers at all. That's bad.
Btw.: my old recorder does not set markers automatically at all...
I could find only one negative on the new recorder:
An important function, which was in the old recorder, does not exit at the new one:
After burning a DVD, one can choose a thumbnail picture for the index-page of the DVD with the old recorder, but not with the new one.
My solution: Burn w/o finalization at the new one, then place in old one, choose thumbnail and finalize.
Oh, and one important maintenance-advise:
Like always, CD-players, DVD-player, DVD recorders could after some years make the impression that they are broken, because the DVD is rattling and shaking and neither playing nor recording...: This is the time when you have to pull the plug, open the device, take a few cotton-tips with a few drops of alcohol or white spirit and clean the rubber-pad, which is meant to adhere to the DVD, because there will be dust - and with that dust there are simply no longer sufficient adhesive forces at work to hold on the the fast rotation DVD. While you are at it, also clean carefully the laser-lens. I had to clean the older DVD-recorder already at least twice.
Also a great plus: Key-word programming. however, when you see the blue markings in the EPG where the recorder spotted a keyword-broadcasting, make sure to extend the time-span it records for, as TV-Channel hardly ever finish a movie at the give given in the EPG. Same with manual programming: Always program recordings longer, especially, if the is a movie after some people "played with a ball" ;), as the movie may start up to 2 hours later!
Coming to terms with losing Tivo.
I read reviews of a number of PVR's that I initially found from Choice magazine. This Panasonic did seem to have some difficulties for some reviewers here on productreview.com.au, but overall did seem to be the best.
I'm happy to say it has worked flawlessly for us in the 3 or so weeks we have had it now. It was easy to set up and has not been hard to learn how to control and run from the remote.
So far the only criticism I can make is that the volume control on the remote does not work on our Samsung TV. We have to use the Samsung remote to change the volume.
Our Tivo was hard to beat. Even though this Panasonic is not a perfect replacement in terms of exact function for function, the 3 tuners instead of the 2 on the Tivo is a great improvement. The extra storage so we can opt to record HD programmes is good too.
Great when it works
I love this recorder when it works. With 3 HD tuners I never miss a show and can watch all my catch up without adds. I don't know if it's just my one but every few months I've had to reset it as it's stopped recording. As I said I love it but could work better.
Panasonic fantastic recorder.
This Panasonic DMR-BWT955 GL Blu-Ray Recorder is just great,it has 3 tuners which allows for more recording options, the editing feature is so good and easy to use, the up-scaling to 4K is also great, it produces a great 4K like picture. You can also set serial recording and so easy to setup from the TV guide feature.
This machine is almost perfect
Fantastic quality recordings, huge amount of recording space (2GB), plays Blu-Rays and region free DVDs. Recording through the Guide is so easy even Mon-Fri recordings. Can record three programmes at once. Be sure to update the firmware immediately on purchase, this solves a few problems recording through the Guide. Haven't tried 4K as my TV is not capable.
If only it worked the way it should
The recorder does not always record the TV program from the TV guide. Selecting a TV program to record every week the unit will not record the TV programme if it does not obtain the information from the TV guide, which is often. The recorder has a problem obtaining (reading) current TV guide from the various TV channels. Also beware the recorder only up-scales to 4k which means it will not play 4k dvd's
Excellent unit and has not missed a beat so far
I recently purchased this unit as a newly acquired last gen Samsung Plasma had horrible problems with recording via the freeview EPG.
I am really impressed as usual with the quality and user friendliness of Panasonic devices.
The reliability so far with timing recordings has been superb and the triple tuner is great-Amazing how often the best programs of the day are scheduled at the same time.
Setup was extremely intuitive and fast-probably took me 15 minutes to connect the unit to the TV and tune in the channels and connect to the network.
The remote has the usual Panasonic format and is also easy to use.
The recording quality in DR mode is superb.
Also the unit looks pretty smooth as well, I like the mirror finish and it really feels substantial as well, another Panasonic sign of quality.
The Blu-Ray recorder player works really well playing discs and the 3D stuff I own looks great.
Overall I give it 5 stars and recommend it highly, thanks again Panasonic.
Dave from Oz
Unable to do basic things
NOT a TIVO alternative. Can not pause live tv unless you are recording it. Can not pause a recording and watch another channel. Very bad control. To many basic hic ups to list. I believe that all the great reviews are submitted by Panasonic staff. Third Panasonic purchase. Tv is ok. Home theatre product the worst I have ever bought.
BEWARE - DOES NOT PLAY 4K DVD/VIDEOS - Despite 4K Badge!
Bought this unit and 4K OLED TV to watch 4K Videos as the clear BOLD 4K badging on the unit and tech data showed that it was 4K ...but it will not actually play 4K Videos as expected.....".cannot read this..."
I feel quite unimpressed by this deception and feel mislead by the Panasonic presentation and marketing information. Accordingly I cannot recommend it as a 4K device.
Can't live without it
Love the slick style and protection of the DVD player opening mechanism. Recording quality great with lots of options. Very reliable unit and it has NETFLIX
Value for money, easy to use, 4K upscale
Wow this one exceeds my old Panasonic by far (DMR-BW880). Triple HD Tuner, 2TB hard drive which I can record 1000+ hours, 4K upscale, blu-ray recorder and media player. Record up to 3 channels and watch a disc at same time. Programming is easy with preview box in EPG. A must have for an all one one device.
It's early days but so far excellent.
We bought this a week ago so it's early days. Just some issues and maybe another reviewer can help me out. When we set a program to record, even if we don't choose the "Keyword" option, it records every repeat and every showing on every channel eg, ABC1, ABC2, etc. so you end up with 10 recordings. Also, maybe someone can tell me how to add time to the recording because a movie just squeaked in the other day and we got no credits. But apart from that I find it easy to navigate and a huge improvement on the last box we had which was a Topfield. When I've learned to drive it properly I'll report back. :)
I purchased this for Christmas Dec 2015 from JB HIFI on special for $598. I started using it January 2016. I had been looking for a replacement pvr as I had an old Panasonic model that only recorded 1 program. Wanted an all in one blu ray & pvr. Big mistake.
Next time I will be buying separate units. This is essentially an all in one yet separate unit. Really disappointed. No more Panasonic for me unfortunately.
-Cannot play a bluray disc & record tv at the same time. It is essentially two separate units in one and that is just ridiculous.
-Cannot save recorded programs to usb hdd.
-EPG data updating is slowly becoming more unstable and problematic e.g "Series information is not available for the next 7 days" yet I'm only looking four days in advance. Channel 9 is particularly bad. My sister has no issue with this problem with her Humax using the same search.
-Keyword searching is a pain. Sometimes I want to search for title only but sometimes I want to search description as well. If you want to search description you have to go into PROG/CHECK THEN press the blue Keyword Search button THEN open a free slot THEN type the word you want to search for THEN scroll down to Search Target THEN toggle to Program Name and Information THEN set it and save it and back out to previous screen THEN press the Red button to "activate" that specific keyword THEN press the Yellow button to search... Bored yet? Yeah. I've got it down pat now but it is such an archaic and time consuming method. It sucks.
-There are no options to search for additional times of a title while looking at it in tv guide. I hate foxtel but they got so much right with their system.
-You can only have 32 pending timer recordings at a time. Considered how large the disc space is, I feel it falls far short of what I consider reasonable. 32 timer recording spaces is simply not enough these days especially with series link.
-I am constantly checking to see if the program timer recordings are correct. If you use the Blue button for Guide Link alot you sometimes find random recordings at weird hours pop up in video menu.
-You have to be careful when recording certain programs and make sure the time that is showing when you are in record mode matches the time you want to record. Sometimes the details do not match.
-It looks good. It's a really expensive ornament.
Bells & whistles
Looks pretty, does what it does within it's capabilities.
Has an on/off switch.
Tells the time & connects to the Internet.
I like the dvd tray, it goes in and out at command.
You can watch stuff anytime you like.
Perfection and can use ext drives to expand teh storage
Been using Panasonic recorders since 2003. The first was the DMR-E30 with no internal hard drive then the EH60, EH55, EX75, the 720 BD twin tuner and now this one with 3 tuners to record 3 channels at eh same time.
Must go into setup, basic and set the chapter points to off which I strongly advise. That way one can edit out ads and create your own chapter points or set it to auto or a chapter point every 5 mins.
The USB option you'll need to go into usb management to set the drive up to move any video from the internal hard drive of the recorder to the ext drive. I strongly recommend WD USB3 2TB Element drives which are about the only ext USB3 that connect 100% of the time to the PC or anything else.
This recorder will play MP4, MKV, AVI's etc....
Many I know in the DVD authoring world and blu ray authoring will use these panny recorders for editing as they are that powerful.
This model will up convert to 4K and with all panny recorders they do clean up the recording image quite a bit.
Anyway done a far more in depth review on my own facebook page along with my own tech stuff facebook page which has millions of people that follow my postings. I won't post that here.
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