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Feb 24 2009

Finally, after much rumour and denial, Panasonic are to release a Freesat PVR HDD Blu-Ray recorder from May, model number DMR-BS850. The announcement was made at the company’s European press launch in Amsterdam this afternoon.

Panasonic DMR-BS850 Freesat Blu-ray (front)
(image courtesy of Trustedreviews)

Little information is known of the new Freesat+ digital box, but what we can confirm is that it will be a twin tuner, with storage capacity of 500GB, plus Blu-Ray recorder. The receiver will also have a SD card reader and USB port for viewing images and video etc, plus Ethernet connection for future Freesat services such as iPlayer, as well as Panasonic’s own Internet content delivery system, Viera Cast.

Panasonic DMR-BS850 Freesat Blu-ray (back)
(image courtesy of Pocket-Lint)

A smaller capacity 250GB HDD version will allow be launched, model number DMR-BS750. Prices of either are yet to be confirmed, but the 500GB model is expected to retail for around £1,000.

Strictly speaking the combination of Freesat HDD and Blu-Ray should allow the recording of HD content onto Blu-Ray disc, although Panasonic do not wish to comment for obvious copyright issues.

If you feel either of these receivers might be a little rich for you, then Panasonic are also launching a non-BluRay version with DVD recover instead, model DMR-XS350. This will feature a 250GB hard drive.

Additional connections (certainly of the DMR-BS850) include HDMI, USB, Ethernet, Component Video Out, S-Video Out, SCART (TV and Video), Coaxial Digital Audio Out and Optical Digital Audio Out.

Panasonic DMR-BS850 Freesat Blu-ray (connections)
(image courtesy of Pocket-Lint)

Once again, well done Panasonic for taking the initiative and producing some pretty special Freesat products for us to drool over.

More details to follow as we have them, the official launch material has not yet been made available…

49 Responses to “Panasonic confirm Freesat HDD Blu-Ray Recorder”

  1. YellowSphere Says:

    Excellent news! I was expecting something like this to be announced mid-2009, just because it seemed like it’d be a good product. The word was that Panasonic Japan was unsure because of the lack of free-to-air HD content available here, but it looks like they’ve pressed ahead anyway.

    This should help the adoption of freesat, as great as Humax can be, I’m sure the relatively unknown brand will, rightly or wrongly, put some people off, and the Viera Link potentials with the popular Panasonic sets could be good, and with twin tuners should be working much better with other TVs without HDMI-CEC. Also very good as a one-box solution for recording and playback. If the 500GB model does come in at £500 that’s seriously good value, I reckon, and will probably sell.

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  2. Steven Says:

    Brilliant . . I know I keep going on about Freeview but if there were a combo version, Freesat and Freeview, I’m sold . .

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  3. Lee B Says:

    Excellent news, I might be able to get hold of one of these before the shops start to stock the Humax! Hope the DVD recorder version can save to Dual Layer discs or SD cards.

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  4. igiveup Says:

    This is great, a Freesat HD recorder, Blu Ray player, Photo player……….etc, also a Media Streamer and all for £500. That is a bargain!!

    I want one now!!

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  5. Malcolm Says:

    Great News! To be ideal though it would need to be possible to get HD content off my video camera onto blu ray and also be able to pull HD audio formats off commercial blu rays. Fingers crossed for those features.

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  6. Mike Says:

    It’s guess it’s a bit picky picky – but it’s a pity there’s no HDMI input for hooking up PC’s, DV camera’s, “other” sat boxes, etc. (Same issue on DMR-EX77.)
    Otherwise – can’t wait. (Sorry Humax.)

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  7. Matt G Says:

    electricpig.co.uk seem to think its going to be around £1000. If so, it looks like the Humax might be back on the menu .

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  8. Chris Guest Says:

    Last week, I was going to wait for the new TechiSat box – but given that the rest of my kit is Panasonic (one remote controls all), and the device offers everything (and more) than the Humax, I wait with baited breath – and wallet open.

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  9. Andy G. Says:

    This is very good news for freesat as a whole, and should promote it as a viable option for “free to air / free to view” Television.
    Costwise… As long as its under £500, I for sure will be out to get one as soon as they become available. any more than that in these tough times, and frankly its just worth waiting till they do become cheaper.

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  10. Ronnie Says:

    £500 to watch tv and record, not in a 100,000,000 years.

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  11. Till Says:

    @ Ronnie

    £500 to watch tv and record, not in a 100,000,000 years.

    Don’t forget if it has a BluRay disc player, you can also watch BluRay DVD’s and it should upscale your existing DVDs to 1080i. Also with luck you will be able to archive HD content. Personally, I think all that for £500 is damn good value.

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  12. Paul D Says:

    Its actually going to be £1000 as confirmed by Electric pig website.

    Judging by the pictures they have it also seems to have a freeview tuner in it.

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  13. Paul D Says:

    My mistake, i took the dvb sign alongside the freesat hd one to mean a freeview tuner and apparently it doesnt mean that.

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  14. admin Says:

    Sorry guys but it seems the top spec model is expected to retail for approx. £1,000!!! Not sure on the other model prices yet, will try and find out. I guess it’s the Blu-ray which is hiking the price, so the DVD version may be more in line with the existing PVR from Humax.

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  15. Jason Says:

    1) Why is there a copyright sensitivity implied by this post? Does the same apply to all archiving of timeshift recorded broadcasts?

    2) I started off thinking a media center PC can do all of this now for a lot less than £1000, but for £850 (see below) and the hassle in setting it up, perhaps the extra £150 will be money well spent. The other problem is the apparent lack of media center support for ITV-HD, which makes recording it a challenge (but possible). So does anyone know when a FreeSat EPG compatible/licensed DVB-S2 card/software for the PC might come about? Windows 7 beta’s media center, while improved, doesn’t seem to solve the ITV-HD problem so far.

    Ballpark prices below:
    Media Centre PC – £400 (already with DVB-T/freeview + 500GB,media center remote etc..)
    2xSatTuner – £300 (DVB-S2)
    BluRay Burner £150

    optional:
    3TB for £200 (2×1.5TB drives – how much would Panny charge for that?!)

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  16. Dave Says:

    Aha I thought £500 for a Blu Ray recorder seemed a bit cheap…£1000 you’re having a laugh though, still price will fall no doubt. But of course best to wait for a freeview HD / freesat version THEN it would be worth getting but not for a grand of course ! We’re not all minted, even less now !

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  17. AndrewM Says:

    @Jason: I think admin was being a bit over-cautious in saying that about “copyright issues”, after all when Sony et al were promoting the Blu-ray format many years ago, one of the uses they were designing it for was for archiving HDTV programmes.

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  18. Ash Says:

    These should also be launching with added extra’s which include wireless surround sound speakers, to be honest i’d think it would launch at approx £800. dont forget they are launching a non Blu-Ray which will be alot cheaper.

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  19. Ronnie Says:

    All these things built in. Its gonna have alot of glitches

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  20. Lee B Says:

    Don’t think they are going to sell many at £1000! I think £500 is the max price point i.e. £299 for the HDR and an extra £200 for the Blue Ray recorder. Maybe Humax should not be too worried just yet….

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  21. Tony Hales Says:

    Blu-ray blank discs need to drop in price from the silly level they are now (up to £35 for a single dual layer 50Gb) if this product is going to take off.

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  22. Al (Original) Says:

    Prices are ridiculous when you can buy a Humax HDR for £299 and put a Western Digital 1TB PVR drive in it for an extra £100.

    Or to put it another way, you can have a Humax with TWICE the storage capacity of the top Panasonic for £399.

    Only difference then is the Blu ray and its not worth an extra £600!!

    BTW I have the 1TB drive in my Humax and it works a treat. Can’t tell any difference apart from the storage capacity.

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  23. admin Says:

    Sadly at the moment Blu-Ray recorders are very expensive, and I believe this is actually Panasonic’s first Blu-Ray offering in the UK/Europe (might be wrong on that) hence the high value ticket. This is likely to be the reason for the non Blu-Ray DVD option to help maintain a competitive price, and that model should be considered as highly, it’s just not as ground breaking news for the sake of a news blog ;)

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  24. Matt G Says:

    I would think most of us out there have done the recording DVD thing and don’t want another. As said if you replace the hard drive and put the 320Gb in a Caddy you will have loads of storage.
    Now I would love the Blu-ray one, but its main use would only be to play Films.
    So when I can get one at a reasonable price, panny or not I will. Till then I’m using my laptop to play BD’s on the TV.
    Sounds like its out of date already, can’t see it having this Canvas thing.

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  25. Al (Original) Says:

    Sorry Ian, didn’t mean to rain on your parade. Its great news that Panasonic are launching the product, just a little bit disappointing on the price front.

    Whilst its true stand alone Blu Ray recorders are very expensive, for a PVR box which effectively has a lot of the electronics in it that are already needed to control the unit, ie its a small pc, its has memory and a processor so it shouldn’t really need to be that expensive. You can buy a Blu Ray recorder for the PC for £150, so why does it cost £600 to fit it into a PVR when the PVR is effectively a small pc? I concede a small memory and processor upgrade may be necessary but that still isnt a large expense as both are very cheap now.

    Also, Blu Ray is a rip off in my opinion. Anyone saying well its because the laser diodes are expensive is behind the times. I build lasers as a part time hobby and I’m a member of a major laser forum. We can buy Blu Ray Sleds ie Laser Diode, Lens and hardware controls for this award winning cutting edge 6x Blu Ray Re-writer:

    http://uk.lge.com/products/model/detail/bluray_ggwh20l.jhtml

    for $57 each for 100 piece quanities. So thats complete Blu Ray Re-Writer laser sleds capable of 6x Blu Ray re-writing for £40.

    All that needs to be added is a disc transport motor and tray costing a few pounds. So wheres the huge cost in Blu Ray Panasonic / Manufacturers???

    Slow it down to a lower power diode to maybe 2x write speed and you can get the price down to $15 a sled.

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  26. admin Says:

    No worries Al, would agree that the price is steep, it would have to be absolutely amazing for anywhere near that price, however, it’s only rumoured price, it’s still not been confirmed and whilst we’ve changed the blog to state £1k and not £500, that’s what I was originally told by Panasonic’s team, so maybe somewhere in between ;)

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  27. Duncan Macdonald Says:

    Very pleased to see Panasonic will be offering Freesat boxes as these guys have a good reputation for upscaling Standard Definition digital TV pics to clear images on full HD screens without too many digital artefacts.
    This is the area where most of existing boxes could be improved.
    Lets face it if you watch Freesat or Freeview as your main entertainment then most of the time you are watching SD.
    Most full HD TV’s do not yet come up to the mark for sd upscaling although fingers crossed new 2009 models of Sony and Toshiba sets will have improved sd upscaling.
    Freesat can help us obtain professionally upscaled sd programmes by asking the BBC to transmit a selection of upscaled programs on their HD channel when it is not being used for HD. (This would also provide a useful reference for testing how good a TV’s or Freesat box SD quality really is.
    A guy on another forum noted ITV had a problem with an HD football transmission and ITV switched over to upscaled SD on the HD channel while it was sorted and apparently the improvement over the TV’s regular sd channel was very marked!
    I will be interested in the Panasonic DVD box simply because it is hopefully affordable.
    Thanks for the good news.

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  28. Peter C H Says:

    I have been waiting some time for a Blu-Ray player/Recorder & HD Freesat PVR. Seems I will have to wait a bit longer if the price is to be in the order of £1,000. Combining two pieces of kit is going to be the only alternative.
    This has been an interesting site to visit and very informative. Thanks to all.

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  29. Nigel Whitfield Says:

    Panasonic does have a similar product for France, where there’s already terrestrial HD. My recollection from the presentations in Amsterdam (though at points I was chewing my own wrist to stay awake; I hate powerpoint) is that one of the factors in their launching is the availability of FTA HD in a territory.

    Talking with another of the Panasonic guys, I was told that the sales of Freesat equipment have been going very well for them, and they’ve sold around three times as much of it as they expected. That too has probably been a factor in the number of new Freesat products launched in Amsterdam.

    Incidentally, the Viera Cast technology in these (and just about everything else there, bar the fridge freezer) looks neat, though how useful will depend on the actual content they have available.

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  30. peterhb Says:

    Panasonic also have a similar product in Australia which I have seen working and it is excellent.
    While on this subject, Australian main stream TV has five national channels all have transmission on analogue and digital and three of these channels have a separate HD channel which co transmits all the programmes on the main channels. So although a lot of the material isn’t HD it looks a lot better when viewed via this route and when an HD programme is transmitted it’s there to view straight away – no messing with red buttons !!.
    If they can have three mainstream HD channels why can’t we??

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  31. Tony Hales Says:

    30. If they can have three mainstream HD channels why can’t we??

    Because were skint.

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  32. Francis Says:

    So when do you we will have all 30 ? we have only 2 @ the moment and not even full time channels, so i ask how do we have to wait until we have more.

    As oliver say’s ” I want some more “. what’s my chances!!

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  33. MikeB Says:

    @ peterhb 30

    I assume this is the one you are referring to:

    http://panasonic.com.au/products/details.cfm?objectID=4337

    Note the price. At today’s rates that is £994

    The manual for this is available from that site – an impressive spec.

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  34. ChrisK Says:

    Let’s hope the Pound does not devalue much more or else the entire prices quoted may need inflating by 50%.

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  35. Panasonic Blu-Ray HDD Recorder Update | Join Freesat Says:
  36. damo Says:

    Went into the PAnasonic shop yesterday and they stated £850 for the 250Gb option and £950 for the 500Gb option. More importantly they told me due to licencing issues you will ONLY be able to recording BBC HD. Any other HD channels will either block the record, or record in standard definition. So until the licencing issues are sorted (ITV soon apparently), paying the best part of £1000 to only be able to record one channel in HD seems bonkers

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  37. Derek Says:

    In the message archive you will find that this has already been discussed. You can record BBC and ITV1 in HD at the moment, and the BBC has said that it will adjust the flags on their output. We all know that ITV HD is in a bit of a muddle at the moment so I hesitate to comment on what they will do.

    If someone wants £950 don’t buy it!! They are already down to £840 on the links from this site, although the larger chains appear to be asleep and are still offering them for £999. I don’t think so (unless you are very badly informed or willing to pay an inflated price….).

    Any useful discount codes known?

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  38. Derek Says:

    And now they are down to £816 in the Amazon marketplace (and counting….)

    Does anyone fancy buying one for £999….. :-))

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  39. Derek Says:

    And now down to £799.95 (plus a small delivery charge) in the Marketplace.

    Hello… is there anyone awake at Panasonic or in the big stores??

    You might have got the price wrong on this one guys…..

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  40. Derek Says:

    See the comments on the product pricing page of this website for details of a problem with starting recording when using the EPG.

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  41. Al Catraz Says:

    now only £579.99 on playtrade (askdirect)! soon be time to buy one…

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  42. Al Catraz Says:

    oops, sorry – that’s only the bs750 at that price!

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  43. A Dobbing Says:

    Recording problems using the EPG should now be resolved with this frimware update to V 1.1

    http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/bd/download/bw850/uk.html

    Update InformationModel Number DMR-BS850EB/BS750EB
    Update Version Ver 1.1
    Update File Name / Size UK
    UPDATE_BS850_BS750_XS350EB_V11.exe / 47,144,819 bytes

    Update Date 2009/11/16

    Over the Air Download schedule From 2009/11/18
    Network Download schedule From 2009/11/16

    Improvements
    Date/Version Description
    2009/11/16
    Ver 1.1
    Stability of Timer recording function.

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  44. MYK Says:

    Recent big price drop on the Panasonic DMR-BS750EBK Twin Freesat Tuners 250GB HDD Blu-ray Recorder now only £439 at Amazon!

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Panasonic-DMR-BS750EBK-Freesat-Blu-ray-Recorder/dp/B001Y8Y7XI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1269088281&sr=1-1

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  45. Mike Woo Says:

    Now there is a box containing a freesat PVR and blu-ray player, does anyone know of anyone going the whole hog and biulding a surround sound amp into one? It will obviously need a HDMI imput to play from a PC as well.

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  46. Derek Says:

    Careful if you think you have found a bargain.

    This unit has been replaced and shops are dumping stock.

    The new model is the Panasonic DMR-BS880EBK 500GB HDD Blu-Ray Recorder with Twin Freesat HD Tuners.

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  47. brian m Says:

    Hi Derek
    I’m after a Panasonic DMR XS350 discontinued model, currently on Amazon @ 279.00, it has fallen over last 4 weeks from 291.00, do you know anywhere cheaper?
    thanks

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  48. Jas Says:

    Does anyone know what differences there are between the new DMR-BS880 and the old DMR-BS850?

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  49. Brett Says:

    is this recorder able to cut out the spam or advertising when recording manualy and press the pause button does it still record the advertising even when paused ? As most freeview recorders record even while you have paused the recording ? Thanks

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