First time post at this forum.... Sorry for such a confused post! (or maybe it's not so confusing???).

I have experienced a few things I don't understand when recording from my Foxtel IQ box to my Panasonic DMR BWT700GL Blu-ray/DVD Recorder..., I hope someone could please take a look at my post here and explain to me what is happening - I think a programme which should be 16:9 is being sent to my DVD Recorder as 4:3 (but I'm not sure?).

I have a 16:9 recording on my cable TV box (I'm 100% sure it's 16:9 as it does not have black bars to both sides, and other programmes I see on Foxtel do).
I have connected the cable TV box to my Panasonic DMR BWT700GL Blu-ray/DVD Recorder using the scart out from Foxtel to AV input to my Recorder (red, white - yellow), and recorded in XP quality to the HD (it only allows XP recording through AV input, but it's the highest for standard definition).

Foxtel box is set to display output 16:9 as 16:9 and 4:3 as pillarbox.
DVD Recorder is set to record as auto (I tried 16:9 and gave the same results).

This is what I have noticed, that doesn't seem right to me, and a list of things I have noted which might help tell what is happening....

*This next paragraph is what first caused me to wonder if the 16:9 programme was recorded to my DVD Recorder as 4:3.
Once I have finished recording Foxtel to my DVD Recorder and I go to the programmes which are recorded on my DVD Recorders hard drive, in the recordings menu each programme has a little rectangle picture representing it (like a screen cap of the recording). In the recorded programmes list I can see all the AV input recordings have black bars on the left & right sides (like 4:3), but all the programmes recorded from the internal receiver like commercial digital TV (eg. not AV input recordings) do not have those black bars...

But when I play it on my TV it fills the screen, however I can't tell if it's automatically being stretched to fill the screen somehow, so to be able to see if it was truly 4:3 I changed my actual TV aspect with the actual TV remote to 4:3 - so the TV is showing free to air widescreen programmes that I know are 16:9 with grey bars both sides.

If I play the AV recorded Foxtel programme from my DVD Recorder it fills the whole screen to the grey bars, and so does a digitally recorded real 16:9 recording (with the grey bars showing).
I can burn the AV Foxtel recording to a DVD and play the DVD in the DVD Recorder it was made with and get the same full screen results...

But when I play the DVD with my standalone DVD player (not DVD Recorder DVD player) if I select on my standalone "16:9 wide/auto" it displays with black bars inside the grey bars (so it's like it has double bars each side).
If I select standalone player setting as "16:9 wide" it's filled to the grey bars (but grey bars are still there),
Selecting "4:3 letterbox" and also "4:3 pan/scan" on standalone DVD player both fill to the grey bars (but grey bars are there).
*So it all seems OK to me apart from the 2 factors 1) my standalone DVD player when set to "16:9 wide/auto" plays the DVD with black bars (inside the grey bars I forced my TV to display). 2) The menu in DVD Recorders recorded programms list the screencap shows black bars...

So I really can't work out if it recorded to my DVD Recorder as 16:9 or 4:3...
Hopefully someboday has an idea what is happening and can please help...
Any help very much appreciated.
PS - Am I going to be able to record to my laptop via the HDMI?, instead of the analog scart to DVD Recorder?