Panasonic DMP-BD80K Review Washington DC
Baileys Crossroads, VA
Falls Church, VA
Falls Church, VA
Panasonic DMP-BD80K Review
June 4, 2009 By Geoffrey Morrison
Blu-ray. Now with YouTube!
Already, Blu-ray players are separating into two camps: the uber-expensive, and the commodity. It’s easy to see what you get with the step-up players.
But what about the high end of the low end? What do you get at a step or so above the bargain players? Something like this $400 Panasonic, say. Well, turns out quite a lot.
The form factor on this DMP-BD80K is quite impressive. It’s just over an inch tall, with some stylish blue lights that can be adjusted for intensity in the setup menus.
The menus themselves aren’t much to look at, but they have a surprising number of adjustments for a mainstream product. The only buttons visible are Power and Eject. A hidden panel on the front as the SD card slot, along with Stop, Pause, and Play. In other words, don't lose the remote.
The remote’s big buttons may look a little odd at first, but they work great and make using the remote easy. I just wish it were backlit or had glow in the dark buttons or something.
The standard features are here, 1080p/24 output, decoding of Dolby Digital Plus and TrueHD and DTS-HD (or output bitstream).
The DMP-BD80K starts up and loads discs pretty fast. Not PS3 fast, but fast for a “regular” Blu-ray player.
Processing of DVDs is quite good, especially given the price. The waving flag test had minimal jaggies, as did the rotating bar test (both from the Silicon Optics Test DVD). Scaling of DVD content is also good. Not the best I’ve seen, but better than most and probably better than your TV.
With 1080i/p material, there was minimal rolloff with the component output, so if you’re still hanging on to analog, you don’t have to worry about getting punished as far as resolution is concerned.
One really cool feature is the ability to play back DVDs at 24p. You have to enable this during playback (separate from the setup menu), but if you have one of the growing number of displays that refresh at a multiple of 24, you can have judder-free playback with your entire collection (not just BDs).
During playback, press “Display” go to “Video” and turn on 24p.
On the audio side, again the name of the game is good, but not amazing. Depending on your receiver/processor, the DAC may be better there. The better BD players I’ve heard with analog were much, much more expensive.
Web it Up
It took a trip to the setup menu to get the DNP-BD80K to talk to my network, but everything there was automated, so it was just a few button pushes.
“Viera Cast” is Panasonic’s web portal, and it’s found on most of their new products. The interface has large blocks with different content pulled from the Internet.
There’s a Bloomburg stock ticker, Picasa web access (if you have pictures there), a weather bug, and perhaps most interesting: YouTube access.
With YouTube, searching was pretty easy, and within a few mintues I was watching up on my big screen the videos my dad posted of his new dog.
As you can ima...