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Best PVR and set-top box brands: which should you buy?

Panasonic PVRs and set-top boxes rated

By Callum Tennent

Article 8 of 9

Panasonic is nearly 100 years old, and is one of the most prolific, most popular electronics manufacturers in the world. But can you trust its PVRs and set-top boxes to last?

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Brands don't come much bigger than Panasonic, the Japanese powerhouse responsible for literally thousands of TVs, cameras, headphones, PCs and more. But should you blindly place your faith in it simply because you recognise it?

On the one hand Panasonic clearly has a consumer electronics pedigree but, on the other, has it perhaps cast its net too wide? How can you be sure a Panasonic set-top box or PVR will genuinely last?

We've tested all of its major releases over the past three years and can tell you all there is to know about them. We pay no attention to reputation or price when testing our TV boxes, so you can be sure the conclusions we draw give you an accurate impression of what using a Panasonic device is really like.

Want to see other brands, too? Head over to our PVR and set-top box reviews.

Not only that, but hundreds of Which? members have had their say on just what its like to own a Panasonic PVR or set-top box. It's the second most popular brand on the market with our readers, who have told us just how reliable they found their model to be – as well as how happy (or unhappy) it's left them.

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Panasonic PVR and set-top box overview
Panasonic PVR and set-top box overview
Number tested in the past three years 6
Number of Best Buys
Average test score
Brand reliability rating
Customer score (%)
Loyalty score
Typical spend
+
-
Should I buy one?
Table notes Average test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 30 August 2017) that are still available. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey conducted in July 2017 of 2,531 PVR and set-top box owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated 30 August 2017.

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How much do Panasonic PVRs and set-top boxes cost?

It's good news if you're looking to buy a Panasonic PVR or set-top box, because there's a model at almost every price point. We've tested fairly basic models that cost a reasonable £180, as well as super high-end devices priced at over £450.

There aren't any Panasonics at the entry-level, sub-£100 range, though – so if you're someone who very rarely watches or records TV then perhaps you'll be more comfortable going with another brand. Just be sure to double-check the Which? review before deciding on anything.

Choosing the best Panasonic PVR or set-top box

The names of Panasonic PVRs and set-top boxes can be a little intimidating, but it's not so bad once you get to understand them. For starters they all begin with 'DMR', which stands for digital media receiver – be sure you're not browsing the wrong products in the shops as Panasonic Blu-ray players look quite similar and all have names beginning with DMP (digital media player).

All Panasonic models use Freeview rather than Freesat, and will have a hard-drive between 500GB and 1TB in size. Only some will have wi-fi, though, so if you only have a wired internet connection in your home then be sure to double check before making your buying decision. Some will also have higher levels of power consumption, so check our reviews to avoid bill shock and buyer's remorse.

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