About the time of the digital switchover I bought a Panasonic digital television and a Panasonic DMR-EZ48VK combination DVD and VHS recorder. After using the machine for the past year or so I have some observations about the user interface.
This recorder has some annoying quirks that have become very frustrating. It takes a long time to start up, and while it's starting it buffers commands from the remote. When the power button is first pressed there is no audible response and only a brief "HELLO" displayed on the segment display of the recorder. If you miss that there is no evidence that the deck is starting up until you hear activity in the DVD transport between thirty and forty seconds later. If you've pushed the power button a second time the unit will shut down as soon it it processes the buffered commands.
If you have pressed several commands during the startup the recorder will be ponderously slow to respond. On a number of occasions I have had to unplug the unit to reset it when it became unresponsive. (Some sort of command stack overflow perhaps?) Best to turn it on and go pour a drink.
The recorder provides no visual or audible feedback to acknowledge a command from the remote. I've started the unit a number of times to record something I surfed into and never really know when it's ready to accept input such as channel selection. Most every time I want to record on the fly I have to press the record button seven or eight times before the command is acknowledged and recording starts.
Channel up and channel down selections on the recorder are so quirky as to be dysfunctional. How did Panasonic get this working right on televisions for decades and implement something bjorked up on the recorder.
The recorder will not start recording if there isn't enough space on the disc for the scheduled recording. It doesn't tell you why is isn't recording, it just never turns itself on. By inference I have deduced that what looks like an hour of scheduled record time (e.g. 8:00PM to 9:00PM) is more than an hour, probably because the unit stops recording when the clock time is greater than the end time which in the above example that would be 9:01. This was never a problem with VHS because the tapes had a few minutes of extra time on them, and a VHS recorder would start recording even if there wasn't enough tape.
Fast forward works OK at 2X and 10X. The fast forward speeds above 10X (30X to 200X) are not controllable.
On home recorded discs (DVD RW) fast reverse has a tendency to skip backwards up to ten minutes. I have not observed this on commercially recorded discs but rarely fast forward/reverse on these. The CM Skip command is supposed to skip forward one minute. I found this to be unreliable and slower than a simple 2X fast forward.
Apart from the hall of shame user interface this unit has been fairly reliable and it has taught me to look closely at the UI in any replacement I might buy.