Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
9 March 2009

By way of background, I have been thinking seriously about switching to Freesat (our house can’t receive Freeview). In addition our DVD recorder appears to be dying, and our TV set is at least 22 years old so it surely has to die soon, which would mean going HD. Knowing that HD is the future it seems silly to buy a new device that only played and recorded at standard definition. So logically a box which offers Blu-ray recording and built-in Freesat recording would be a sensible purchase, since both functions would be useful now or in the future. Imagine my delight when I heard that just such a device was about to arrive here – the Panasonic DMR-BS850. So what would I expect to pay for that? Well the Humax Freesat DVR is £300 and a Panasonic Blu-Ray player starts at £180 or so. I’d expect to pay another £100 or so to be able to record onto Blu-Ray as well but I’d also expect a little cost saving for buying everything in a single box. So maybe they’ll charge £550? Nope – it seems Panasonic plans to charge nearly double that sum for their new gadget. Bah!

I guess what I’ll do is buy a Humax box, possibly a cheap replacement DVD recorder (£130) when this one flakes out and wait for my TV to die and for Blu Ray pricing to become rational…


  1. here in Canada, we are able to pay roughly 25 pounds a month, get a digital feed and through the box provided by the provider record 200 hours of programming. We can set up to record months in advance as well. Surely TiVo is available? Here a Blue ray is available from Sony at $169 but only about 20% OF The dvd’s IN THE RENTAL PLACE are bLUE RAY so it is worth waiting a while longer. Regular DVD recorders (wont do HD) are $89. do you want me to buy you one?

    Comment by Russ — 15 March 2009 @ 10:58 am

  2. We could get what you describe but that would involve staying with Sky (c. £17 a month) and paying £130 for their box and I don’t think we watch enough TV to pay for all the channels. That’s why we’re thinking of switching to Freesat. We’ll pay more up front for a freesat box but the cost difference will be repaid in less than a year because we won’t be paying a subscription. Impressed at the cheapness of your DVD recorders. Ours still kinda works (plays back but doesn’t record any more) so we’ll wait until it dies and see if replacements are any cheaper. You can play with the new toy when you arrive…

    Comment by David Brake — 15 March 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  3. Since the DVD replaced the CD it appears that no one can manufacture a 5″ drive mechanism that keeps working for more than thirteen months (i.e. one month past the end of the warranty). I have a large pile of defunct DVD players, recorders and internal PC units to back this claim.

    So how long do you expect a Blu-Ray recorder to last? Building it into any other piece of kit has to be a bad plan, as in thirteen months you’ll be cursing your over-sized DVR with pop-out cup holder.

    Panasonic has done you a favour with its pricing.

    Comment by Frank Leonhardt — 31 August 2009 @ 11:40 pm

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