I have the Panasonic DMR EX75, which I bought just over a year ago. This has now been replaced with a similar, but later model, DMR-EX77.
You can pause a live programme, whilst recording continues, and pick it back up from where you left off. You cannot cut out the adverts, (unless you actually pause manually during recording). However, all I do is fast forward though the ads when playing back the recording.
It has EPG, but remember its a good idea to add a few minutes to the end time to cover an overrun.
You can record programmes from the hard disc to a DVD, also record from a camcorder, or VHS, to the hard disc or a DVD.
Playing a DVD could not be simpler. Yes, it takes a short while to work out everything; (the manual could be made simpler), but with a little practise you soon get he hang of it.
Recording in LP mode gives a quality equal to live TV.