In case you missed it today, there's a big conference happening in Europe called IFA at the moment. And while we haven't yet seen the Panasonic presentation, the guys from Trusted Reviews did, and they scored a photo of the presentation slide for Panny's new Blu-ray recorder. Although when we say new, we mean new to Europe, not new to Australia - the DMR-BW500 has been out in Australia for a couple of months.
But is it the same device? Eagle-eyed reader Anthony pointed out that the slide Panasonic showcased at IFA explicitly says that it features BD-Live technology, which we know for a fact that the Australian version doesn't. Considering you need an Ethernet port (or inbuilt Wi-Fi, I guess) plus some dedicated storage on board to be able to use BD-Live, it would mean that the DMR-BW500 for Europe would have different hardware to the Australian model.
We can't find any specs for the European model online to compare, and although we've asked Panasonic to confirm they are the same machine (or that the BD-Live symbol on the presentation was a mistake), but all we've gotten back from them so far is a statement that the Australian model doesn't support BD-Live, which we already knew.
If the European model does feature BD-Live, There are going to be a few disappointed customers out there who forked out over $2K for a player that doesn't have full spec, when Panny could just as easily have included it from the beginning. The other alternative is that there was a mistake in the presentation, in which case all this means nothing. We'll keep you posted of any updates...