Until now, DVD recorders didn’t integrate a HD tuner, ostensibly because you couldn’t record HD broadcasts to a DVD. That meant that even those models equipped with hard drives were limited to SD quality recordings.

Panasonic’s DMR-XW300 ($1,329), changes all this, becoming the first DVD recorder to ship twin HD TV tuners for the simultaneous recording of two programs to its 250GB hard drive.

Playback of HD recordings from the HDD is, of course, in high definition, but recordings copied to disc are converted to standard definition. The unit supports the seven Day Electronic Program Guide (EPG), where available, and the 250GB hard drive gives you capacity for up to 441 hours of recording, depending on compression level.

Standard PVR functions are provided, including Pause live TV, as is a ‘Direct TV record’ function that prompts the machine to start recording the show you’re watching while you go looking for the snacks.