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Panasonic Full HD Smart 3D Blu-Ray Player

  • DMPBDT500
  • 3D Blu-Ray Player
  • Wi-Fi (Built In)
  • VieraCast
  • USB
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he BDT500 comes with WiFi built-in, so you can connect directly to your wireless network but if you don't have one then you can connect to your router or network using a LAN cable. Once you have set up your network connection, you can then begin using the BDT500's internet capabilities, which Panasonic call VIERA Connect. The platform that Panasonic use on their BD players is essentially the same as last year's TV platform. Whilst this is an improvement on last year's BD players it does mean that some features found on this year's TVs, like the Web Browser, are missing.


There are still a decent number of applications, however, including the ubiquitous BBC iPlayer, Skype (although you'll need the previously mentioned camera attachment to use it), as well as Twitter and Facebook. In addition you get Netflix, YouTube, Acetrax, Dailymotion, Euronews, Picasa and new additions like the ShoutCast and Aupeo radio apps. We had no problems using all these features and we were quickly watching AVForums videos on YouTube. Another addition is the slimmed down VIERA Connect Market, where you can download additional apps and games, although there is no payment feature.


Besides having a wide choice of apps, the other important elements of an internet platform are that it is easy to access and responsive. In this sense VIERA Connect was a success because it was simple to launch, you just press the Internet button on the remote, and whilst it was reasonably responsive, it isn't as fast as Panasonic's latest TVs. Our complaints about Panasonic's internet platform are minor but in order to move from one page to the next, you have to select MORE or BACK, rather than just going directly to the next page. They could also fit more apps on a single page, which in fact they do in VIERA Connect Market. We downloaded the BD Remote app and found it was easy to connect and simple to use, providing alternative way of controlling and communicating with the BDT500. The interface is very slick and the smartphone shows some quite useful info such as a time bar for playback. Certainly if your current TV doesn't have any smart features, the BDT500 is an effective way of adding these features without the added expense of a new TV.

As far as connectivity goes, the BDT500 is fully DLNA certified which means it can connect with other such devices and stream content over your home network and you can also access content via disc, USB or SD card. In terms of file support the BDT500 is a big improvement on last year and can handle a greater range, including AVCHD, MPEG, DivX HD, MKV, WAV, MP3, MP4, FLAC, JPEG and MPO. All of the above files can be played back using a USB drive, SD card or disc media (CD, DVD, BD) and also AVC HD, MOV, MP3 and FLAC files can be played wirelessly over a network.

Just like the BDT220 and BDT320 previously, this BDT500 was provided for review by TPS and had been modified to be capable of multi-region playback. The default setting is Region B for Blu-ray and Region 2 for DVD but it is easy to change it by entering a specific code on the remote. The mod allows you to mix and match, so for example you could have BD Region A and DVD Region 2 by pressing 1 and 2 after entering the code. If you want to go to BD Region B and DVD Region 3, you just enter the same code and then press 2 and 3. Although in reality the region code verification for DVDs has been disabled, so the BDT500 should play any region DVD regardless of what is set. It would be sensible to leave the DVD region set to 1, just in case you have any RCE discs. We tested the BDT500 with Region A and B Blu-rays, as well as Region 1,2 and 3 DVDs and they all played without any problems. The modification also has other advantages, it deactivates the UOP (User Operation Prohibition) for DVDs to allow you to skip forced trailers etc. and it also deactivates PUO (Protected User Operation) on Blu-rays which also allows you to skip any forced content.

3D Playback
The BDT220 and BDT320 both scored well in the video tests and since the BDT500 is exactly the same, we had a good idea of what to expect. Needless to say, the BDT500 handled the 3D content admirably but then, as long as the player is behaving itself the results over HDMI should be the same between players. We used the BDT500 in conjunction with the Sim2 M.150 that we were reviewing at the same time and we're happy to report the player did a very capable job with 3D Blu-ray, resulting in no undue artefacting and allowing the Sim2 to deliver some truly amazing 3D images.

1080p Playback
As with 3D, any player should be capable of an equally impressive performance when delivering 1080p24 over HDMI and needless to say, the BDT500 displayed 1080p24 encoded Blu-rays without introducing any issues. The player also had no problems handling 720p Blu-rays encoded at 50Hz or 60Hz. As long as you selected the Cinema picture mode, there appeared to be no unwanted processing going on with 1080p content and as a result, the suitably unadulterated 1080p output looked great.

1080i Playback
There is greater opportunity for a player to add value when it comes to 1080i content and, just like the other Panasonic players this year, the BDT500 had no problems with both the edge and source adaptive deinterlacing tests from the Spears and Munsil and the HQV discs. The BDT500 also handled both the edge adaptive deinterlacing and cadence detection duties very well and fine details were largely retained under movement and the player was able to lock on to both the PAL 2:2 film cadence and the NTSC 2:3 film cadence - which is good news if you intend to buy a modified player and use its multi-region capabilities.

480i/576i Playback
This is another area where the player itself can actually improve image quality and overall we liked the BDT500's scaling engine. In actual testing we found there wasn't any detail being taken away from the image and well transferred material looked very nice indeed. The BDT500 also had no problems with both PAL and NTSC discs and again it was able to correctly detect the 2:2 and 2:3 which again is good news if you intend to take advantage of any regional coding modifications.

 

  • HDMI Out - Y
  • Optical Out - Y
  • Dolby Digital - N
  • Dolby TrueHD - N
  • DTS - N
  • Ethernet - N
  • WiFi - N
  • Smart Features - Y
  • Height (cm) - 5.9
  • Width (cm) - 43
  • Depth (cm) - 24
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