Panasonic DMP BD80 Blu Ray Player Review

Panasonic’s other Blu-ray disc player announced at 2009 CES is finally hitting the retailers across the internet and brick and mortal stores. The DMP-BD80 was the high end model announced along with the DMP-BD60. The DMP-BD80 adds few more features to the already solid DMP-BD60 model. Both players feature Profile 2.0, high definition audio decoding, and the video streaming via Panasonic’s own Viera Cast service. Technically, there are not too many differences between the DMP-BD60 and DMP-BD80. The players themselves look remarkably similar except for the 7.1 channel analog output in the back of the DMP-BD80 model.

Features

The DMP-BD80 is a step up from the DMP-BD60 model. Like the DMP-BD60, the player is Profile 2.0 compliant with all the high definition audio decoding. The onboard audio decoding can decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-Master Audio as well as the legacy audio formats like DTS and Dolby Digital. You shouldn’t have any problem with audio compatibility with this player. The DMP-BD80 adds the 7.1 channel analog audio output which was missing on the DMP-BD60. The Viera Cast is a nice added bonus for online streaming videos. The coming compatibility with Amazon video on demand service will be a nice added feature since it lacks the Netflix streaming found on LG and Samsung products. As with the DMP-BD60, the Viera Cast comes with weather information, Youtube, Picasa, stock quotes, and the upcoming Amazon video on demand service. The Viera Cast has very nice and easy to use interface. It’s clean and simple to use with large icons showing the feeds for weather and small screens that represent Youtube and Picasa. Panasonic still has not addressed the aspect ratio problem when viewing Youtube contents. Most of the videos on Youtube are 4:3 instead of 16:9. This stretches out the pictures making them unattractive.

Remote Control

The remote control is essentially the same one from the DMP-BD60 unit. Instead of having the volume and channel buttons in the middle, the top of the remote houses the volume and channel buttons with separate volume button for your receiver if you have receiver setup in your home theater system. The middle of the remote control contains the playback function buttons along with directional buttons. The menu buttons conveniently surround the direction pad for easy access. The bottom of the remote contains the special function buttons for Viera Cast and set up buttons. This is very functional remote control if you choose to stick with it instead of a universal remote control. We liked the LG’s design with sliding cover better than the Panasonic’s remote unit for the DMP-BD60 and DMP-BD80.

Design and Aesthetic

Panasonic has not changed the design of the Blu-ray disc players significantly since the introduction of their DMP-BD35 model. The DMP-BD60 and DMP-BD80 both look exactly alike. The middle of the player contains the disc tray with LCD on the right side. There are basic playback functions housed beneath the manual flip down tray that includes the SD card slot and the USB port. The only addition to the DMP-BD80 is the 7.1 channel analog audio port found on the back of the player. Also, there are the standard HDMI, component video, optical and digital audio ports that go with the analog outputs.

Video and Performance

As with previous Panasonic Blu-ray players, the video quality is simply amazing. From the start, Panasonic has consistently produced great Blu-ray players that are capable producing crisp and accurate video playbacks. Generally, the playback quality mirrored the quality from DMP-BD60 model. That is to say, it was excellent across the board. Using three different titles, the video playback showed no signs of jaggieness or moirés. Even the freeze frame revealed very little defects in the way of jaggieness on few scenes in Marley and Me. The fast motion sequences in the Matrix and Batman Begins had no problem in video rendering. The only minor complaint is the longer than expected loading time found on this player and the DMP-BD60. As mentioned in the DMP-BD60 review, the loading time of Blu-ray discs on these models took significantly longer than the competition’s players from Samsung, Sony, or LG. On some cases, the loading time took almost twice as long on this player as it does on the other players. The differences in Blu-ray and DVD structure will force some delays but the Panasonic seems to have somehow missed out on reducing the loading time from the previous generation models. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t detract from the quality video rendering and very good image quality provided by the DMP-BD80.

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Audio for Audiophiles

The audio quality was spot on and handled all the audio formats encountered on the three discs. As with other players, most viewers will not notice any difference in audio quality from top manufacturers like Panasonic or Samsung. The differentiation in audio comes from the player’s ability to decode the high definition audio formats.
Out of the box, the DMP-BD80 can decode Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital, and DTS. The addition of 7.1 channel analog output is the main upgrade from the DMP-BD60 model. If you have absolute need for the 7.1 channel analog output, you will have to pay about $100 premium over the DMP-BD60 model.

Overall

For most people, the DMP-BD60 should be sufficient. Only the people who need the 7.1 channel analog output should opt for this model. The video qualities as well as the audio options are similar to that of the DMP-BD60 model. Overall, this is a very well performing player with polished software to go along with a very good hardware.

Pictures

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Description

Panasonic, Blu-ray Player,7.1 Audio out,1080P HDMI output

Features

  • Amazon Movie download, Also Viera Cast connecting you with YouTube, Picasa
  • High Clarity Audio with 7.1 analog output, Pure Audio Components, Special low resonating feet
  • SD Card Slot and USB slot
  • Film makers version with PHL Chip for accurate color


Video

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