Review In the Twilight Zone between Blu-ray players and DVRs you’ll find Panasonic’s DMR-PWT500 that boasts a combination disc spinner and digital TV timeshifter. Space-saving convenience is main USP of this hybrid, so if you want one box that can do it all, it’s certainly worth an audition.
Box clever: Panasonic's DMR-PWT500
The DMR-PWT500 is derived from the brand’s DMR-HW100 and sports two Freeview HD tuners, the standard Panasonic ROVI EPG and uses a miserly 320GB hard drive (which surely means it should have been called a PWT320?). Still, this is enough to store around 80 hours of HD, delivering a recorded image quality in line with original transmissions.
The unit’s Blu-ray transport is 3D-compatible and appears to share DNA with the brand’s stand-alone DMP-BDT210/310. HD picture quality is predictably sharp and vibrant, upscaled DVDs look entirely respectable.
The back panel houses the essentials
In addition to telly and disc playback, the DMR-PWT500 also throws in media playback from USB and purports to do the same over the network. However, this deck is not quite the connected gad about town it likes to think it is.
Indeed, the USB option is the best way to watch media files. Video support from a stick or external HDD covers both AVI and MKVs, while music is limited to MP3. When you try and stream media across a network from a Nas, this deck appears dumbfounded. I managed to get an AVCHD file to play, but that was about it.
Clearly laid out remote
The deck also throws in access to Panasonic’s net portal – or at least a version of it. The Viera Cast destination here is subtly different from the band’s Viera Connect TV destination, even though they look pretty much identical. It’s probably analogous to multi-dimensionality string theory or perhaps not. With this version of Panasonic’s portal, there’s no BBC iPlayer, apps nor games, and streaming services have a distinctly European bent. You do get YouTube though – a constant regardless of what dimension you’re in.