Panasonic made the first standalone Blu-ray player good enough for us to recommend; however, since then the company's Blu-ray line has lagged behind that of other manufacturers. None of Panasonic's 2009 Blu-ray players support Netflix video streaming or include Wi-Fi, two features that now seem must-have as media streaming becomes a big reason why people upgrade to Blu-ray.
The DMP-BD85K is the midrange player in Panasonic's 2010 Blu-ray line, and it corrects many of errors the company made with last year's model by including a USB Wi-Fi adapter and adding Netflix--as well as Pandora in the … Read more
My expectations heading into the Panasonic press event on Wednesday in New York City were pretty low. I'm the audio guy and most of the hubbub was focused on new plasma and LCD displays, and Blu-ray players.
I sat there, eyes glazing over, as Panasonic spokespeople prattled on about "exciting" new advances in Viera Link and PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus technologies--good times for me! But then something amazing happened: they mentioned sound quality! Trust me, that doesn't happen very often at these things, so I was all ears.
First, the new DMP-BD85 Blu-ray player features an HDMI Jitter Purifier, which, according to Panasonic, "affords clear, robust bass sounds faithful to the original." That sounds like something the PR department dreamed up, but it may be useful. We'll see.
Then they said the DMP-BD85 uses a Digital Tube Sound Simulator to produce the warm sound quality associated with vacuum tube amplifiers! What? They even had a small plastic display box fitted with three small tubes to illustrate the concept. DMP-BD85 owners can select between the "sound" of three different tube effects over the HDMI and 7.1-channel analog audio outputs (or turn off the effect and hear unprocessed sound). They didn't mention it, but this sort of sonic enhancement probably won't be compatible with Dolby or DTS soundtracks. That leaves DVDs, Blu-rays, and CDs encoded with PCM audio.… Read more
LAS VEGAS--Panasonic fell a little behind in the Blu-ray features wars last year, with the company's players lacking Wi-Fi, Netflix streaming, and onboard storage, which were available on competing players. At CES 2010, Panasonic introduced three new mainstream Blu-ray players, the DMP-BD45, DMP-BD65 and DMP-BD85, that address some of these criticisms, although with some caveats.
Key features of the Panasonic DMP-BD45:PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus video processor SD card slot Lower power consumption--14 watts in usage, 0.1 watts in standby 14 second boot up time Limited to 5.1 audio decoding Available spring of 2010; no pricing … Read more