The auto scan flawlessly found all the analog and unscrambled digital channels offered by Comcast in my area. It does not have an HD tuner but does capture the widescreen 16:9 signals. If you record on DVD-RAM (not -R, -RW, +R, or +RW) it will record the widescreen picture. Three added bonuses for using DVD-RAM are "Chasing Playback," which allows you to watch a program from the beginning while the machine continues to record the remainder of it; more editing options; and the ability to selectively erase individual programs from the disc and then record new shows in the deleted space. You can find 10-packs of Panasonic DVD-RAMs online (item #LM-AF120LU10) for about $19; Amazon has a 5-pack (LM-AF120LU5) for about $10. The discs are rated for 100,000 re-recording cycles, versus about 1,000 for R/RW! Don't expect to find them in stores (which baffles me).
I found the menus and remote control to be quite intuitive. This is also the quietest DVD recorder I have used. The machine is loaded with features, including upconversion all the way to 1080p if you use the HDMI connection. One of its best capabilities is that Panasonic engineered the 4-hour LP recording speed of the DVD drive to provide the same playback quality as the 2-hour SP speed! No, the VHS recorder does not record digital broadcasts, but who cares with the great playback quality of the DVD drive? I'm using the VHS to dub my old tapes over to DVD.
We interrupt this review for a helpful note...a couple years ago I learned from personal experience (and a Comcast technician) that digital signals are more "fragile" than analog ones. My first lesson occurred when I was connecting my new Panasonic HDTV. Some of the digital channels were very unstable and would cycle between displaying and going to black, or showed significant digital artifacts. That problem was caused by my brand new high end surge suppressor, which included f-jacks for cable protection. The suppressor's internal cable protection circuitry altered the signal slightly, causing the problem. The tech connected the TV directly to the cable wall outlet, bypassing the suppressor, and the signal was perfect. (Note: always plug your AC power cords into a surge suppressor!) I had to recall my second lesson when hooking up my DMR-EZ48V. At first, a couple of the digital sub-channels in my area (21.1, 33.3) could not be received. I remembered that I had used an existing push-on type coax for my cable connection from the wall outlet to the machine. My bad. I replaced it with one of the cables the Comcast tech had made for me for future use, with screw on f-connectors, and all reception was perfect! We return now to my review of the DMR-EZ48V...
I have not seen any digital artifacts during playback on my Panasonic HDTV. The instruction manual gives you details for tweaking the machine and fixing many possible problems (I had none) by using the large array of accessible menu options. This machine may not be right for a technophobic individual, but for an enthusiast it is great!