Panasonic DMP-BDT100

Panasonic’s budget 3D Blu-ray player is designed to be paired with one of the brand’s two 3D TVs - either its 50-inch TX-50VT20 or 65-inch TX-65VT20 plasmas - though makes for a great future-proof buy of you plan to fork out for a 3D screen in the next few years.

Away from 3D concerns the DMP-BDT100 impresses; DVDs are upscaled well and the machine also hosts Panasonic’s online content platform, Viera Cast. At present it hosts YouTube, Picasa, DailyMotion, Bloomberg and some German/Czech services such as Nova.cz, Tagesshau, QTom and Bild.de.

The DMP-BDT100 can link to the Internet via an Ethernet cable, but for situations where the broadband router is in a different room to the TV, Panasonic sells a separate a Wi-Fi adaptor (DY-WL10, around £80). A cinch to set-up, doing so doesn’t create a link between this machine and a PC on the same network - it’s purely to power Viera Cast and BD Live downloads (the latter requires a 1GB SD Card to be inserted under the machine’s front flap).

The unit’s disc drive supports DivX, DiX HD, MP3 and JPEG files from blank CDs or DVDs, as does its USB slot, while a SD Card slot - a feature unique to Panasonic gear - displays JPEG photos only.

That single USB slot does could be an issue, especially considering that SD Card slot’s single talent. If you do plan to use the USB slot for playing back digital files, bear in mind that an add-on WiFi adaptor will permanently occupy that slot.

It goes without saying that you’ll need a 3DTV for the DMP-BDT100 to pump out three dimensions, though this machine can be used as a bog standard Blu-ray player with any TV.

The Full HD 3D system adopted across the industry was proposed by Panasonic, so it’s no surprise that the system works well from the off. Awoken from standby in a flash, the DMP-BDT100 loaded and was playing our 3D Blu-ray disc Ice Age 3 in under a minute. Relying totally on Full HD picture quality, as opposed to Sky’s much lower quality 3D broadcasts, the DMP-BDT100 pushes two complete Full HD frames into a 3DTV instead of the usual one. The image is spotless, though much darker - thanks to the 3D glasses - than 2D Blu-ray. Using those glasses also takes away a lot of colour and purity from the image, while - to our eyes - the incessant blur during 3D playback is what could stop it from going mass market. Still, that’s how 3D images are, and the DMP-BDT100 interprets them very cleanly.

Elsewhere this is a top draw deck, with 2D Blu-ray are treated carefully, with plenty of exacting colours, detail and well-balanced contrast within a smooth, judder-free image. DVDs also look as good, with jagged edges rare and pictures are so smooth that even the softer resolution isn’t especially noticeable.

Doing all the hard work inside the DMP-BDT100 is Panasonic’s powerful image processing PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus, the latest in a long line of top-notch image processing engines from the brand.

Lossless DTS Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD audio soundtracks on Blu-ray discs aren’t treated to dedicated analogue outputs or a second HDMI to connect directly to an amplifier, so those after a high-end 7.1 home cinema design should opt for the pricier DMP-BDT300.

Verdict

Keenly priced for those after a future-proof Blu-ray player, this deck handles 2D and 3D alike, but cuts a few corners along the way. Lacking built-in Wi-Fi, there’s integrated storage for BD Live or no analogue audio outputs - it’s best paired with a 3D Ready amplifier for home cinema. Overall this versatile deck performs well enough with high-def, DVD and 3D to be future-fit, though Panasonic’s higher-spec DMP-BDT300 is a safer bet.



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