Panasonic has announced new Blu-ray players in the States, including the launch of a model that offers upconverting VHS playback.

Successors to Panasonic's DMP-BD35 and DMP-BD55, the three new models are the DMP-BD60, DMP-BD80, DMP-BD70V.

All the BD-Live-enabled players get 1080/24p output, VIERA Link, the PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus, 7.1 Dolby sound, SD memory card slots and - for the American market - VIERA Cast for on-demand content.

Panasonic launched VHS-compatible Blu-ray players in Japan last year, but it seems the company sees a market for them in the States too. From the press release:

"The DMP-BD70V distinguishes itself as the world's first dual deck VHS-Blu-ray player, providing the consumer with a video product that features multi-format playback allowing the user to play VHS, CD, DVD and 1080p high definition Blu-ray discs. The BD70V allows for premium 1080p up-conversion for all video formats".

Said to be more power-saving than previous products, the line will be available in the US in April. The DMP-BD60 will be $299.95, the DMP-BD80 $399.95 and the VHS-playing DMP-BD70V will also cost $399.95.

Here in the UK we will not see the release of the DMP-BD70V, but the DMP-BD60 and DMP-BD80 will be available from April, although prices have not been confirmed.