DMR-BWT955GL versus DMR-UBT1GL-K — a re-evaluation (updated 6 April 2022)
In the nearly four years I've been using the triple tuner BWT955, certain perspectives have come to the fore.
BWT955's three tuners are fantastic if your primary viewing experience is confined to free-to-air TV. You can record three TV programmes simultaneously. Furthermore, you can store up to 2TB of movies and shows within BWT955's hard-disk-drive (HDD), which programmes can then be transferred to blank Blu-ray discs and DVDs for a nigh-endless collection of terrific films and wonderful shows.
However, in the nearly four years since I've wr...itten the first review, streaming services have grown astronomically: not only can one now subscribe to Netflix, Stan and some, but a dozen others. And the number of subscribers has also grown astronomically. The difference between then and now is that one no longer has to create one's own collection ... streaming services provide instant libraries for you — in many, if not most, cases, for a small monthly fee. If you're into streaming, but still wish to record the occasional free-to-air film or show, then UBT1GL-K, with its two tuners and true 4K, may just be the trick (if you don't have a smart TV, UBT1GL-K enables streaming). This perspective may explain why Panasonic has given UBT1GL-K, its latest model, only two tuners. Panasonic picked up on the trend towards streaming and did away with a third tuner. So what was a shock for some of us four years ago — the reduction from 3 tuners to 2 — may now possibly be justified. When Netflix can budget $12 billion for content creation (films and series), one perhaps need look no further for evidence of the enormous success many streaming services are having. So it comes down to this ... If you are happy with the content provided by free-to-air TV stations and are happy with DVD and Blu-ray playback and recording, then BWT955 is an incredible machine to have (once you have it, you'll truly wonder how you could have done without it). On the other hand, if you subscribe to a streaming service or two and desire 4K playback and recording, but nevertheless still wish to copy on occasions, to the HDD, worthy films and shows from free-to-air TV stations, than UBT1GL-K may just be all you need.
Purchased in April 2018 at JB Hi-Fi Retail Stores for $643.
I found it a good machine ( I would have added a half a star, if I could)
I have for the past thirty years only purchased Sony and Panasonic machines (be they VHS recorders/video cameras/radios/amps, ete..) and they did good work (indeed any machine that wasn't manufactured in China was good for me). Since Sony has seen fit to stop manufacturing DVD recorders, I've depended solely upon Panasonic for reliable DVD recorders and they have not let me down (thus far). Indeed over the past three years I have acquired 3 DMR-BWT955L machines (replacing my XW-385's); the only negative things I can say about them is the lack o...f multiple in/outlets (i.e. SVideo etc..) and the inability to actually watch the program that is being recorded to disk (which I loved about the XW-385's). Strange because this ability was available in all previous Panasonic DVD recorders. All in all I have not been disappointed. Having said that, I cannot comment on the Youtube/netflx/iview capabilities as I have never needed to use these.
I have 3 three Panasonic PVR's...ranging from 500g - 1T - 2T (3 Tuners)
My progressive buying has been from $2000 - $900 whilst the weight and build quality has changed...my love of these machines hasn't wavered. The 3T machine (around 5years old) the first of its kind, is used everyday...wonderful friend! It has 'Never' let me down...
Purchased at Harvey Norman.
DMRBWT955GL - transfer of data
had this unit for many years. recently its starting to drop channels requiring 're-tuning' and sometimes followed by power off reset - the message is 'invalid channel'. This also happens when there are scheduled recordings resulting in just a blinking red light and nothing else. if multiple recordings you may end up with one of three being recorded. NOT GOOD. you have to stop recording, manually re-tune and start recording which results in significant missing material. I am considering a new unit but am at a loss of how to transfer the recorded...material. I know you can add an external USB drive, but this drive is locked to the unit and you cannot copy material from it. Can it be linked to a new DMRBWT955GL so i don't lose the recordings? I rang Panasonic and ended up talking to someone (obviously not a technician as they had a significant lack of knowledge) and would not transfer me to a person with the requisite knowledge. Furthermore I emailed Panasonic tech support and after almost TWO weeks have not even had an acknowledgement let alone a reply. The question now is, since Panasonic doesn't seem to care, is how can I transfer the recordings, or should I abandon the unit an get a more modern PVR system (not Panasonic). Fetch Mighty has very bad reviews, what is there to turn to. what about a raspberry Pi media centre?
Purchased in January 2016.
Depends on what you want it for!
i highly recommend this unit. for
- time shifting programs from free to air tv
- for watching live free to air tv
- as an optical disk player
The unit is also useful as a:
- dlna player
- dlna server
Not recommended at all.... apps!
- the app library is simply not up to date, and almost any tv will have better apps...
Purchased in June 2018.
Disappointed in this unit especially as it cost so much and it's only two weeks old.
The most annoying feature on this unit, (apart from the cost) is that when you are using YouTube, ABC iView and other internet streams the picture appears to be shrunken or cropped with a surrounding black border of 2-3 cm depending on the size of TV screen. Mine is 40"/100cm. My $50 Roku box works so much better and I'll probably keep using it.
Purchased in November 2019 at JB Hifi Home for $669.
Hopeless for managing a video library
First the good - high capacity, multi-tuner recording, network connectivity, blu-ray.
USB-HDD additional storage was promising, but unreadable by a PC.
All of our recording comes via AV from a STB, but there is no way of categorising the recordings, like FTA recordings. But even for FTA, you are stuck with the Program Guide category - the category can't be edited!
When naming a recording, the older Pan. PVR had a user list of 20 titles we used for Series titles. For a new recording you selected from the saved list, then just add ep. no. and ...sub-title. The 955 doesn't have this functionality any more. The older Pan PVR allowed sorting the list of recorded titles, which made it a bit easier to find a title. The 955 doesn't have this functionality any more. In fact finding a title amongst 100 pages (700 titles) stored in order of date/time recorded is pathetic. It really needs some form of search function. What's the point of very large storage if its unmanageable?
Purchased in November 2017 at Harvey Norman.
Steep Learning Curve!
I decided to purchase a new unit for the BluRay facility. However, it seemed sensible to buy a "combo" unit that included three HD tuners and of course the DVD/CD player too. To put it bluntly, it is one of the most complicated PVR/CD/DVD/BluRay machines I have encountered. Playing discs is easy of course, but I was disappointed to discover the DVD player was locked to Region 4. I understand that units still under warranty can be sent/taken to a Panasonic Service Centre and they will convert it to multi-zone, but I live in the country, near...ly four hours away from the nearest city. Why couldn't they just make all Australian units multi-zone out of the factory? Anyway, I still have an excellent Pioneer multi-zoned DVD player connected to the TV to play discs from overseas! The PVR functions are not too complicated if you select the program you wish to record from the Electronic Guide, but remember to edit the schedule to add at least another 30 minutes on the end. We all know of the commercial channels being pre-disposed to running all their program schedules late! The extra buffer time at the end of the recording isn't an issue because there is a 2TB HDD with plenty of space for unwanted finales from The Batchelor/ette, Survivor, The Block, Masterchef, et al. I believe, if I could read through the instruction manual a couple of times, without glazing over, or nodding off, I could probably discover all sorts of facilities and tricks to enhance the pleasure of using this unit, but I've more or less got it to do what I want it for, so best to leave the menus and all those tick boxes well alone. I'm not a technophobe and have always been happy to embrace new gadgets as and when they come on the market, but as you get older in retirement years, you need to pick your battles! I would recommend this unit to a younger generation who enjoys the challenges built in this box of electronics.
Purchased in April 2019.
Updated from my old Panasonic SD Twin Tuner
I bought this two weeks ago to replace my trusted Panasonic SD Twin Tuner because I wanted to record programs in high definition. So easy to set up and has the same style remote control as my previous one which makes life easier. I installed the updated firmware as this often corrects any bugs that may have existed. It also gives you the option of switching off network connection. I love the new look menu list which is comparable to all the the latest new tvs. Recording two programs at the same time went without any hitches from the tv guide. H...aven't used any other of the fancy options like pausing live tv yet. Very happy the unit starts up quicker than my previous Panasonic recorder which was a little frustrating if you want to record something at the last minute. Overall, very happy with it so far. 25/6/2019 Another week has passed and I had the opportunity of taping three programs at once. Once I choose the three programs through the TV guide, I switched off the recorder and watched something else on my tv. All three programs played back perfectly the next day. So pleased with my purchase. Thanks Panasonic for a great product.
Purchased in June 2019 at Harvey Norman for $467.
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 r...eally 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.
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.
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...
Gr...eat 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... ;)
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 r...emote 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.
Questions & Answers
The original remote for our DMR BWT 955 is not working well, bought an universal remote and want to know the code.
Hi Christine, Please give our customer service team a call on 132600 and they will assist your further and help you.
Have just bought a Panasonic DMR-BWT955 recorder. When prerecording, it the preceding program is recorded. Is this a fault of the recorder & should it be replaced as it was bought only 3 days ago?
Hi Helen, Please give our customer service team a call on 132600 and they can assist you.
Thank for getting back to me. We have sorted out the problem.
How long does the please wait recovery typically take?
Hi John, Its best to give our customer service team a call on 132600 and they will assist you further.
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