Advantages Excellent picture qulity, Easy to set-up
Disadvantages Slow loading on Blu Ray
|Ease of Use|
|Ease of Installation|
|Range of Features|
It's taken me a long time to upgrade to Blu Ray, partially the cost has been up till now quite prohibitive, also I didn't want to be an early adopter of the format and be stuck with a player that really doesn't perform well and was short on features. This player, the Panasonic DMP-BD60 is pretty much Panasonic's entry level blue ray player, it has the basic connectivity required to integrate it into most home entertainment or home cinema set-up's with little problem. It's quite a sleek player, shiny black with minimal disturbance from buttons, Only the power and tray open buttons are visible, with basic transport controls hidden under the input connector flap next to the SD card and USB slots. At 43cm wide it's much wider than my old Sanyo DVD player that has served me well for near on 10 years, but at only 5cm high is much slimmer and sits well underneath my Wii, actually giving it a little more room to breathe in my set-up. It's not too deep either at a little under 25cm so there's plenty of room to get the cables in at the back. A nice feature that as an AV installer myself I really appreciate is the separate power cable which plugs in on a figure of eight cable at the back. This means that I can clip my cables in nice and tidy, but still have the ability to remove the player from the set-up without having to disturb my cable run.Lets get straight in and talk about the picture quality. On my full HD LG 37LG5010 when connected with a HDMI cable (which unfortunately isn't included in the box) the picture quality is stunning. Apart from the detail in the picture which thanks to the higher resolution that the material is mastered at is exceptional, the first thing that grabs me is the vibrancy of the colour. The two discs I bought were Avatar and Alvin and the Chipmunks the Squeakwell. Both had super vibrant colours, and in fact the day-glow colours on the chipmunks title screen actually hurt my eyes for a second till I got used to it. Now the small screen version of Avatar has alot to live up to in my eyes as I originally saw it at the IMAX in 3D which was incredible. On the small screen there is no loss of detail, in fact apart from the depth perception, I kind of prefer it in 2D. The detail is fantastic, but also the colour vibrancy again stands out here, especially during the night scenes where the forest really lights up. The other plus is the graphics for the on-screen menu's etc. I have used players that struggled to display these cleanly, or took a couple of seconds to render them properly. This player has no such issues and all disc specific graphics are clean and well rendered and all animation is smooth and clean.
On this player the sound is excellent, again when getting the sound through the HDMI cable it is really crisp and detailed, with a good dynamic range. Unfortunately this also means the usual turning the TV up when it's too quiet and turning it down when the explosions start happening. To help with this the player does have options for auto volume level control and a dialogue enhancer which do make this less of a problem. As mentioned above the player outputs the digital audio bit-stream down the HDMI cable, this player also has connections for Optical (TOS-link) digital audio separate connection to a surround sound receiver for full 5.1 or 7.1 bit-stream decoding. It only has stereo audio analogue connections on the back, but seeing you can get the surround out of the digital that's not a huge loss in my opinion. There are also several options for virtual surround sound which do widen the stereo field to a degree and give some sense of surround on 2 speaker set-ups.Usage of this player is very simple, thanks to the well built Panasonic remote, which looks and feels like almost every other Panasonic remote I've used before, but that's not a bad thing as they are generally well made and well thought out. The main playback buttons are large and positive, and the other controls are logicically placed. It also has basic control for a wide numbers of TV types and AV receivers so you don't have to have three remote controls sat on the chair with you while you enjoy your films. The player menus are large and clear, with enough customisation available so you can get the best possible display on your TV. There are options for just about everything the player does, and you can also perform system reset or easy set-up if you want to be guided through the installation process. The only slight gripe is the length of time it takes to load a Blu Ray disk. It can take anything between 30 seconds and a minute to get to disc menu. That said this is a common issue with all Blue Ray players at the moment, or it could be the way Blu Ray Disks are authored as DVD's load as quick as they did before.
DVD playback is good, obviously not to the quality of Blu Ray but the quality is about as good as you can expect to get from DVD. The player performs up-scaling to 1080p, which means that by the time it gets down the HDMI line to the TV the quality is as close as possible to the original. I also noticed again that the colours were more vibrant than previously from my DVD player.In terms of value for money I think I got a decent deal from Argos. I paid £149 for it which looking on-line is about in the middle of the range. According to the Argos catalogue this player was originally advertised at £279! not sure if the discount is genuine or has been artificially inflated, but it does feel like the player should cost more than It did.
Edit - I realised last night that I hadn't mentioned the BD Live or Viera link features. While I haven't tried them yet (I'm still working out the best way to get network to it!) I'll just go over the main features. BD live is an on-line enhancement to Blu ray movies where you can download additional content over the internet such as concept art, commentaries etc. On this player you need a wired network connection as it only has a single Ethernet port on the back and not wireless, but this is an entry level machine after all. You also need to have at least a 1GB SD memory card inserted to download the content onto, but you can use larger cards as necessary, including SD mini and micro with the appropriate adapter. The other on-line feature this player offers is the ability to download videos from You tube and access Picassa galleries via the player.Finally you can also view pictures, music and video content via the front loading SD card and USB slot. Many formats are supported including Mpeg, mp3, and divX AVI, and navigation is via a handy on screen directory tree.
Edit - A nice little touch that only started working with my TV once I upgraded the firmware is that when I turn the TV off, the bluray player will also turn off thanks to the control signal sent through the HDMI cable.
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INT'L 100-240V 50/60Hz CODEFREE MULTIZONE DVD/BD VERSION, DIVX XVID AVI DIVX-HD MKV. Optimize your movie-viewing experience with the Panasonic DMP...
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