At the heart of the player is Panasonic’s UniPhier chip, which features PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus, a tweaked version of the technology found on the BD30 and BD50. It uses a 4:4:4 function that colour compensates every single pixel in the picture to create a crisper and more vivid palette.
Meanwhile, Pixel Precision Progressive Processing for HD (P4HD) handles motion detection, diagonal processing, 3:2/2:2 pulldown and upscaling of DVDs to 1080p. Furthermore, the unit can output 1080p Blu-ray pictures from the HDMI port at 24 frames-per-second, which should result in judder-free movement on 24fps-capable displays.
The BD35 doesn’t just play Blu-ray discs. It also spins your pre-recorded DVDs and CDs, alongside a wide array of recordable formats – BD-RE, BD-R, DVD-RAM, DVD-RW/-R, DVD-R DL, DVD+RW/+R, DVD+R DL, CD-R and CD-RW. It also supports DivX and MP3 files.
The BD35 is one of the slickest and most user-friendly Blu-ray players we’ve ever tested. Discs load quickly, complex menus are handled with ease and the onscreen menus dart from option to option with Usain Bolt style quickness. The onscreen graphics are also up to Panasonic’s usual high standards, with bright, welcoming colours, large text and intelligently structured submenus.
Delving into some of these displays, we found a useful picture adjustment mode, allowing you to tweak everything from contrast to gamma and noise reduction, as well as select from a variety of presets. There are a few sound effect modes on board too, plus a Dialog Enhancer.
We can’t fault the remote, which matches previous Panasonic efforts with its simple button layout and excellent labelling. It lets you control the deck’s plethora of features with consummate ease, including the BonusView PIP and BD Live features, both of which are smoothly handled.
But when it comes to picture quality, the DMP-BD35 is in a class of its own at this price. Connected to a Toshiba 40ZF355D and set to 1080/24p, the BD35 produces astonishingly good images, the quality of which you’d expect to see from a deck costing twice as much.
The moment we loaded up The Assassination of Jesse James… we couldn’t quite believe the depth, sharpness and vibrancy of the pictures on offer. Devilishly dark blacks give the picture a punchy, cinematic flavour – best demonstrated by Brad Pitt’s waistcoat and trousers, which look truly deep but avoid the ‘black hole’ trap thanks to the sharply resolved shadow detail within.
It resolves an incredible amount of detail elsewhere, making the movie’s captivating photography look as beautiful as the director intended. The player teases out the texture in tree bark, clothing and dusty landscapes with searing clarity, and provides a spot-on colour balance that reproduces muted, stubble-specked skin tones with a natural feel.