It seemed liked the main focus at this year’s CES was the new Television technology. Panasonic hasn’t forgotten one the key forms of entertainment usually attached that brand new Television, the Blu-ray Player. At CES 2012 Panasonic unveiled 6 new Blu-ray Players, 4 of which are FULL HD 3D. Now in this brave new world of streaming media why should you get excited about this? Because playing Blu-ray Discs is the least of what these players do.
All four of the FULL HD 3D units have 24p VOD output for movies. 2D to 3D conversion is handled by a new processor that enables streaming content from services like Netflix, HuluPlus, and CinemaNow to be converted to 3D via Panasonic’s proprietary VIERA Connect. Four units are Smartphone Remote Control capable and one of them, the DMP-BDT500, has twin HDMI output. This is a really nice feature because it allows one HDMI output to be sent to your HDTV, and the other sent to a dedicated surround sound system.
The four 3D players also allow Skype. Now to answer the unasked question. No, you can’t convert Skype communications into 3D. Not a big loss. I mean do you really want to see your cousin from Des Moines in 3D on your 55” TV? Nah, me neither. For those of you with audio concerns three out of the four players will have 192kHz/32bit DAC and all of them will be able to play FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec ) files.
The two non-3D players are stripped down versions of the four heavy hitters yet they have their place as units without all the ‘bells and whistles’. There is a dedicated segment of consumers that just want solid Blu-ray players that deliver excellent picture and sound. Panasonic has not disappointed them. It’s great to know that Panasonic has not abandoned Blu-ray. Quite the contrary, they have sought to improve on already impressive technology.