capsule review

Panasonic DMR-EH55S

At a Glance
  • Panasonic DMR-EH55S DVD Recorder (DVR, 200GB Hard Drive, HDMI)

    TechHive Rating

Panasonic's $500 (as of 10/27/06) DMR-EH55S features a spacious 200GB hard drive, a simple-to-use design, and the TV Guide electronic programming guide for easy scheduling of recordings. It's the only recorder we reviewed for our recent chart that will play DVD Audio discs. Like the Toshiba RD-XS55, it has a G-Link port for attaching an infrared blaster or controlling a cable or satellite box, and it includes an HDMI output (though it lacks the Toshiba's ability to upconvert to 1080i).

The DMR-EH55S has a bit of a 1970s look. I liked the recorder's big buttons, large and easy-to-read LCD text, and quick access to inputs--no reaching for the light switch in order to change discs. The included remote control wasn't my favorite, but it's relatively simple to use and has a commercial-skip button, which for me is a must-have feature.

The on-screen interface is quick to navigate and its color scheme is high-contrast, which makes it nicely readable from across the room. I didn't even have to open the manual to get up to speed with this unit--a good thing since the user guide is Panasonic's typical fare, being slightly too technical and oddly translated in spots.

The overall quality of the DMR-EH55S's recordings earned a score of Very Good. The device opts by default for a slightly higher-contrast, darker video signal than most of the competition (some owners might prefer to soften the black level). The recorder also records and plays back already recorded content simultaneously, a feature found in all the recorders we looked at recently except the Philips DVDR3455H.

Oddly enough, the Panasonic failed to play our test SVCD, though it was fine with VCD. But that's a minor quirk in an otherwise outstanding product.

Jon L. Jacobi

This story, "Panasonic DMR-EH55S" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • Panasonic DMR-EH55S DVD Recorder (DVR, 200GB Hard Drive, HDMI)

    TechHive Rating
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