I have a Panasonic DMR-ES46V (same as a DMR-ES45V but manufactured for Samâ€™s Club) which has been freezing up on me ever since I got it new a year or so ago. The freezes always occur either while I am playing back a program that is still recording (I believe this may be called â€œTrailing Playbackâ€) or while playing back one program in DVR mode while another is still recording in DVR mode. The problem never occurs if I am recording one program in VHS mode and playing back another in DVR mode (or vice versa).
Also, the problem is quite predictable. It always only happens while I am manipulating the playback in some form (fast forward, reverse, pause, etc.). I can pretty much guarantee that it will occur eventually if I take those actions during the recording and playback situations I described.
I am always using Panasonic DVD-RAM discs (the recommended blanks for use with this recorder) and the problem has occurred with numerous different Panasonic blanks purchased at many different times. For that reason, I donâ€™t suspect that the problem is caused by a bad batch of blank discs.
Also, once the problem occurs, the device will stop recording (and playing back as well) and stay frozen until I power it down and back up. The minimum amount of time for one of these â€œresetsâ€ is almost always 3-4 minutes (or more) to cycle through the power down and up sequence and during that time, no recording is taking place. For that reason, the problem is quite frustrating since it has caused loss of recording of at least several minutes during many important programs.
I have contacted Panasonic but they had no suggestions. I did download the latest level of firmware for my recorder from their site but my machine said it was already at that firmware level when I tried to install it.
Finally, I noticed another thread on this forum regarding what seems to be the identical problem but on a Panasonic DMR-ES15 (â€œDMR-ES15 Freezes During Trailing Playbackâ€). I donâ€™t know how similar that model is to mine but the problem described seems identical to mine. There apparently was no resolution to that problem.
I am suspecting a design problem more than a defective unit at this point and since the device is out of warranty, I am about at the point of retiring it for use as a spare and replacing it. Before I do however, I am wondering if anyone else has experienced this problem and successfully resolved it or otherwise has any suggestions for something I haven't tried. Needless to say, the experience is leaving a bad taste for me regarding Panasonic DVD Recorders.