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  1. hi all, just wondering if any one can help me make the right decision.

    i am looking to buy a new hard drive recorder and i also want it to play discs and copy to an external usb hard drive.

    does any one know which would be the better buy:
    LG HR939M @ 289.95p
    PANASONIC DMR-PWT635 @ 269.99p

    or maybe someone knows of a better option?

    both have a 1tb hard drive but i cant make up my mind which is the better machine.
    i had hoped to get one that would also burn to recordable dvd and blu-ray discs, but it seems that the only machine available that will do this is the PANASONIC DMR-BWT735EB, and this is 399.99p, way too expensive.

    thanks for your help.
    Last edited by postie1392; 27th Jan 2014 at 09:17.
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  2. Neither is considered an especially good unit, based on UK consumer reviews. They are OK for simple TV recording on their hard drives, but DVD/BD playback can be troublesome, and getting videos off the internal hard drive and onto your external HDD is difficult (sometimes impossible).

    The Panasonic on the whole appears more reliable and has MUCH better compatibility with commercial BluRay discs. However it does not let you copy recorded videos directly onto a USB drive: you can only play videos from a USB drive. If you set up the DNLA networking feature, you should be able to send videos from the Panasonic to your PC, but be aware this DLNA gimmick is one of the most unreliable, tricky-to-set-up features ever promoted to consumers. It may work for you to transfer videos, or it may not.

    The LG is largely considered garbage: the hard drive recorder is unpredictable, and the DVD/BD player utterly useless. Its only advantage over the Panasonic is its alleged ability to copy videos from its HDD directly to any USB drive you connect. Given LG's past history with this feature, I wouldn't count on that ability to always work correctly, but it seems LG is the last brand still offering direct USB video copy so you may not have much choice. If you opt for the LG, I'd suggest buying from a shop with generous return/refund privileges.

    Note the DLNA networking feature of both units seems limited to SD (standard definition) recordings only: you may not be able to send all HD (high definition) recordings to your PC.
    Last edited by orsetto; 27th Jan 2014 at 16:02.
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  3. Thanks for your input orsetto,

    another option would be to get the Panasonic DMR-HWT230 which is just a hdd recorder without blu ray,
    and buy a seperate blu ray player. do you think this would be a better idea, as this unit appears to copy to external usb devices?

    thanks for your help
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  4. No current Panasonic recorder (with or without optical disc drive) will permit making "normal" copies to external USB devices (thumb drives or hard drives). The USB connection is designed strictly for playback from various USB devices, and to permit making up to eight proprietary expansion HDDs. The expansion HDDs are encrypted and locked to each specific Panasonic recorder: you can record on them and copy to them but they will not be recognized by any PC or media player: only the Panasonic recorder they were formatted by. Of course, hackers being hackers, nothing is totally impossible: if you are a geek with unlimited free time and the patience of Mother Teresa, you could find ways to get the data off the proprietary format and into a PC. But don't expect it to be easy, logical, quick, or remotely convenient: the process is similar to salvaging video form old DVD/HDD recorder drives. Multiple threads on European/Australian AV forums will explain how to do this, but again: it does not work anything like any sane person would want. Strictly for geeks with no life, no job (and no girlfriend).

    The LG, however, does allow normal file copy between its internal HDD and external USB HDD. No proprietary formatting required. The biggest drawback of the LG HR939M is its stunningly dysfunctional DVD/BD player: odd, because far cheaper dedicated LG BD players work reasonably well. If you MUST have unfettered ability to copy videos from your TV recorder to a standard HDD, you may need to buy this LG for its HDD recorder and supplement it with a separate BD/DVD player of known-good reputation. Perhaps you will be lucky, and LG will have worked the bugs out of the HR939M you purchase. If not, just buy a competent BD/DVD player later.

    If you are located in UK, you should probably investigate other FreeView HDD PVR options on offer from Humax, Goodmans and August: one of these might have the same USB feature as the LG, but be less expensive because you wouldn't need to pay for the useless LG built-in disc drive (LG apparently does not offer a HDD-only recorder). Accurate details on USB copying features is something best investigated in person at a dealer: websites, even those of the mfr, can be riddled with errors (Panasonic's own web page for the PWT635 claims it can record BD and play DVD-RAM, neither is true). You might also consider getting a FreeView PVR accessory for your PC instead, and eliminate the "middleman" altogether: if you record directly to your PC hard drive, the video files are available immediately to do whatever you like with.

    BTW, I took a closer look at the DLNA media server features, and none of these units seems to allow video transfers via this method: only playback. I suppose they could be hacked to capture the stream somehow, but it seems pointless: better to look for a unit that lets you do standard USB transfers.
    Last edited by orsetto; 28th Jan 2014 at 12:52.
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  5. thanks orsetto, i look into the other brands that you mentioned, although i will need them to play avchd files from my camcorder which the lg unit claims to do, so if i cant find a humax unit or other make that will do this then i will probably take my chances with the lg.

    i was also looking at the Samsung BD-F8500 as according to the user manual it will transfer to usb device, what are your thoughts on this machine?

    Last edited by postie1392; 29th Jan 2014 at 11:05.
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