Panasonic DMP-BDT310 First Impression

Panasonic has put out some great Blu ray players in 2011. Even the low end model carried a lot of features including internet streaming. The top end models featured some interesting features like 2D to 3D conversion and built in Skype functionality. The low end model doesn’t share too many features with the other three players. However, each successive model builds upon previous model’s features.

Features

The DMP-BDT310 is the most expensive Panasonic Blu ray player in 2011. As such, it packs more feature than the previous three models. On top of the built in WiFi, the DMP-BDT310 adds an extra HDMI port. This might be a very important addition for those that need an extra HDMI port. Not all receivers are capable of passing HDMI 1.4 spec signals where it is required for 3D viewing. As such, you will need to pass audio and video via separate HDMI to fully utilize your older receiver. Other than this small addition, the DMP-BDT310 is essentially identical to DMP-BDT210.

Like the DMP-BDT210, the DMP-BDT310 is a Profile 2.0 player compatible with the latest BD-LIVE content. Unlike some other top end models, the DMP-BDT310 does not come with internal storage. The DMP-BDT310 can natively decode Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS HD Master Audio, and DTS high resolution Audio. As previous model, the player will also play the standard MP3 audio files. The media file format playback is carried over to the DMP-BDT310. The DMP-BDT310 can play most MKV files along with some Divx encoded files as well. We would have liked a better compatibility. As with previous two models, the DMP-BDT310 comes with Viera Cast. The Viera Cast includes CinemaNow, VUDU, Netflix, Youtube, and many other internet streaming contents. You also have access to news feeds as well as weather feeds from the Viera Cast platform. There are other internet streaming contents on top of the ones mentioned here. Also, the 2D to 3D conversion is present on the DMP-BDT310. As with other models, the 2D to 3D conversion feels little gimmicky at best. While the conversion does add some depth, it is not up to the standard 3D viewing found on conventional 3D discs. You can call and receive calls with optional camera for video conferencing via built in Skype capability. Also, it comes with answering service if you are away or watching a movie or away from the television. As mentioned earlier, the WiFi comes with this player and you do not need to purchase any additional equipment.

Design

The overall dimension and design is carbon copy of DMP-BDT310. The DMP-BDT310 comes with flip down front face design like the previous model. The disc tray and playback buttons are located beneath the face plate on the left and the right respectively. As with DMP-BDT210, the USB port is located in the middle of the player. The LCD is located on the right side of the player next to the playback buttons. The top of the player contains a gesture area where the tray can be opened with wave of hand. The connectivity options are exactly same as the DMP-BDT210 except for the addition of extra HDMI port. The back of player includes the two HDMI, USB, 2 channel analog output as well as simple video output. You also get the SD card slot for extra memory option. The included remote control has the dedicated Netflix and Skype button for fast and convenient access to these features. This is exact same remote control included in the DMP-DBT210 model.

Performance and Video

The overall loading and booting speed is on par with the previous model as well. As discussed in that review, the Panasonic Blu ray players tend to be little faster than most other 2011 Blu ray players. The video processing was top notch as well. Spot tested with three different Blu ray discs, the DMP-BDT310 showed no processing defects. Moiré, jaggieness, and motion blur were all absent from the playback of two discs. Also, the bonus contents including BD-LIVE contents played without any problems. Like other Panasonic Blu ray players, the DMP-BDT310 did adequate job upscaling conventional DVDs. As noted earlier, the 2D to 3D conversion was not that great.

Audio

All audio formats played without any problems. All high definition audio formats properly decoded. As with DMP-BD75, it could not play the WMA files. Other than that, the audio performance was spot on. It would have been nice to see Panasonic support more digital file formats like AAC.

Overall

While this is the top of the line Blu ray player from Panasonic, it did miss out some important feature like internal storage. Instead of beefing up the top of the line model, Panasonic chose to include extra HDMI port. A little more feature would have been nice. If you don’t need two HDMI port, you can stick with DMP-BDT210 and save yourself some money.

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