|Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray Player|
|Home Theater Video Players Blu-ray Players|
|Written by Adrienne Maxwell|
|Tuesday, 01 April 2008|
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As I mentioned earlier, the DMP-BD30 lacks an Ethernet port that allows for easy firmware updates and lets you enjoy future Web-based content on Blu-ray discs. Web content has just begun to appear on studio releases like Saw IV (Lionsgate Home Entertainment), and we should see more of it throughout the year. Panasonic isn’t alone in this omission. With the exception of the PlayStation 3, all of the first- and second-generation players lack an Ethernet port, but we will see this feature in players arriving later this year.
For the most part, the DMP-BD30’s playback and operation were reliable. A few times, the HD picture on a studio-produced Blu-ray disc would break up, similar in appearance to a weak over-the-air DTV signal. Apparently, this player is sensitive to fingerprints on the discs; once I gave the discs a quick wipe, the issue went away. Also, with the Lost: The Complete Third Season Blu-rays (Buena Vista Home Entertainment), the player cut off the first few seconds of audio in each episode, but I didn’t experience audio problems with any other discs I tried.
The owner’s manual is like most Panasonic manuals I’ve seen: cluttered and not very intuitive in its layout. The answers to almost any A/V question are in there, but be prepared to search for them.
The DMP-BD30 is the most DVD-like of any Blu-ray player I’ve used thus far, and I mean that in a good way. It combines the beautiful HD picture and high-resolution audio I want from Blu-ray with faster response time and generally seamless navigation. Those benefits, more than just its Profile 1.1 spec, make it one of my top choices in Blu-Ray … today, at least. If Panasonic had only included an Ethernet port, this player would be an unqualified success. Interestingly, even though the DMP-BD30 just hit shelves at the end of 2007, the company has already announced its next-generation player, the DMP-BD50. This player, scheduled for release this summer, will be Profile 2.0 and therefore must have an Ethernet port. So, if the ability to access all potential Blu-ray bonus content matters to you, then you might want to wait. I personally don’t care that much about Web content, but I do enjoy PIP features, and I absolutely want the best picture and sound I can get. The DMP-BD30 delivers everything I want at a desirable $500 asking price.