Panasonic DMR-EZ48VK DVD Recorder / VHS Recorder
Outstanding DVD-recording quality, with a best-in-class LP mode; flexible recording speed; chasing playback with DVD-RAM discs; USB port and SDHC card slot for playback of MP3, DivX, and JPEG files; upscales DVD to 1080p; VHS-to-DVD dubbing for home recordings.
VHS operations are a bit slow; expensive; no Blu-ray compatibility.
Did not have any trouble getting the Panasonic to record on all disc types, including DVD-RAM, DVD+R/-R, and DVD+RW/-RW, and having it display in the correct aspect ratio on wide-screen TVs. VHS recording performance proved to be much more defined in quality levels. Obviously, SP yielded the best results, while VP rendered material that was barely watchable. We'd recommend taking advantage of the Auto setting and allowing the device to calculate the best setting for the amount of tape you have. We do have one complaint about the speed of the VHS functionality: seems a bit slower than VCRs we have used in the past. But the picture quality and performance of the DMR-EZ48VK surely outweighs its lethargic operation.
DVD player performance:
Testing pure upconversion performance, we once again started off with HQV. The Panasonic did fine on the first test, demonstrating its ability to handle the full resolution of DVDs. The Toshiba, however, fell apart right away. It could not render the 1080p section, washing out the vertical lines into a flicking box. The Panasonic had middling performance on the next jaggy tests: it had trouble handling the third of the three shifting lines, and the rotating white line had more jaggies than we'd like to see. The Toshiba failed this altogether. On the flag test, the Panasonic also produced quite a few jaggies. Despite handling the resolution test well, the DMR-EZ48VK had some trouble with the detail test, as we saw curved lines known as moire in the white marble steps. On the other hand, it did an excellent job on the 2:3 pull-down test, successfully kicking into film mode in a fraction of a second.
The bottom line:
Outstanding recording quality, tons of features, and a built-in digital TV tuner make the Panasonic DMR-EZ48VK an excellent all-purpose DVD and VHS recorder.
Thanks to the rise of Blu-ray, DVD can no longer be considered cutting-edge technology. But with Blu-ray recorders still not a reality--not in North America, anyway--DVD still has the edge when it comes to archiving home video. And because many of those who compulsively record TV shows have a pack rat mentality that dates back to the days of VHS, many of the DVD recorders currently on the market are combo DVD/VCR models. The DMR-EZ48VK also adds some step-up features, such as a USB port and SDHC card slot for playing MP3s, DivX video files, and JPEG picture files. More important is the DMR-EZ48VK's top-notch performance, which gives crisp recordings even in 4-hour LP mode. The unit also includes our favorite feature, flexible recording, which automatically optimizes the video quality of the content to fill a DVD. While the DVD/VHS combination recorder is surely a dying breed (for the most part, anyway) in today's increasingly digital-only media world, I am comfortable recommending the Panasonic DMR-EZ48VK to those who still need a VHS presence and DVD-recording solution in their home theater systems. Overall I have enjoyed this recorder very much and would highly recommend it to anyone in the market for a quality DVD/VHS recorder. :) thumbs up