Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray Player - Panasonic DMP-BD50

By Riyad Emeran



  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray Player


Our Score:


If you've got a large DVD collection you won't be disappointed either, since the upscaling capabilities of the BD50 are also impressive. Obviously, no amount of upscaling is going to make a DVD look as good as an actual high definition source, but the improvement is noticeable. Of course, over here in the UK the player isn't having to do quite as much as it would in the US, since the 576 line nature of PAL means that it has more resolution to play with.

So is this the perfect Blu-ray player? Not quite. One of the reasons I'm still using my PS3 as my main player is that it's a Japanese console, and therefore is happy to play pretty much any disc I put in it. The BD50 on the other hand, will only play Region B or multi-region discs, which means you can't order US movies unless you already know that they're multi-region. To be fair, this isn't Panasonic's fault, and the blame lays firmly at the door of the movie studios, who continue to artificially sectionalise the world.

The other main potential negative point comes down to your choice of TV. If you're not going to invest in a seriously good TV, it's unlikely that you'll see much improvement over using a PlayStation 3 as your Blu-ray player - and let's not forget that the PS3 is cheaper and a high definition games console to boot.

Despite the DMP-BD50 being feature rich and offering superb image quality, it's not as pricey as I had expected, with it already available online for as little as £377 - a stark contrast to Panasonic's original DMP-BD10 player, which had a worrying lack of features and a price tag of around £1,000! I appreciate that £377 is still a fair chunk of cash to many people, and the fact that the PS3 can be had for around £250 makes it seem even more steep, but if you're planning on buying a very good TV, it's worth investing a bit more in your Blu-ray player too.


It has been a very long time coming, but Panasonic has finally created a Blu-ray player that has all the features that the format promised at launch. If you want to access online content, view picture in picture video, play Java based games or decode the latest audio codecs, the DMP-BD50 can do it all. Add to that, some of the best image processing available in the home, thanks to the UniPhier chip and the software/firmware driving it, and there's no doubt that this is a very special player.

The DMP-BD50 isn't cheap, but I don't think that it's overly expensive either considering the image quality and features. Ultimately, if you've been holding off on buying a Blu-ray player because of the format war, lack of features and high price, your wait is over. Is this the best Blu-ray solution out there right now? I certainly think so.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Performance 9
  • Value 8
  • Features 9


July 24, 2008, 4:36 pm

what about speed? how long from closing the tray to playback? how smooth are the menu's?

This was the biggest disappointment with my tosh ep30, it was too damn slow.

The PS3 is soo much quicker (and still cheaper!)

Matthew Bunton

July 24, 2008, 5:17 pm

I cannot wait until we start seeing some region free players fingers crossed.


July 24, 2008, 6:51 pm

it's got he features I want (no Sony badge, 7.1 LPCM over HDMI, ethernet, profile2.0 but would like region free) but still not at the right price.

I wont consider getting one until they knock at least 𧷆 off the price (so I can afford 2 or 3).... Will probably go down the upgrade the htpc route though...

A lot of buyers will still consider the ps3 to be a better value purchase....but companies like Panny are all in the same boat....they supported Sony with promises of pricefixing to re-invigorate their revenues...only to have Sony scr*w them all via the ps3 leaving every other OEM scratching their head....

oh to be in one of those boardrooms...."our AV divisions have gone down the drain....we don't make money on dvd players, sony pulled our trousers down and everyone else is talking about downloads.....time to shut up shop.."


July 24, 2008, 10:01 pm

Yes, still too expensive for me. I remember my first DVD player was 𧷤. I'd be looking at Blu-ray players to reach a similar price or maybe slightly less before I consider buying one. And it's still a long way off being accepted by the mainstream who are used to paying around fifty quid for DVD players.

I'd also be interested (as the first poster was) in how long the Panasonic takes from insert disc to playback, as I know the first and second generation Blu-Ray players took an age and a half to warm up.

The Pope

July 25, 2008, 2:22 am

I'm with you, Pbryanw. Sadly, the guts of many of these players are essentially Linux-based mini PCs (I believe) and thus are subject to boot times. I find it REALLY annoying.

Plus, not only is Average Joe buying DVD players for cheap (like the Toshiba (!) Divx-enabled DVD player I saw in Tesco the other day for 㿇!!) but frankly, he's also used to paying under 㾶 for his DVDs; Play has decent flicks down to like ٠.99 ffs

So just how motivated am I to go and spend 㾽.99 on a Blu-ray? I tell ya - I'd go to, say, 㾸.99 if it had decent extras and DTS HD Master Audio. Too many of these Blu-rays just feature the regular DD5.1 as the DVD :(


July 25, 2008, 2:42 am

All valid comments, which is why I said that you're going to have to be serious about your AV kit to consider this player. That said, if you're planning on investing in a Kuro or similarly high-end screen, the superiority of the DMP-BD50 will make itself evident.

You're right, I forgot to mention operation times, but luckily I can confirm that this is the fastest stand alone HD player of any format that I have used. The menues are well laid out and presented too. I don't think it's quite as speedy as a PS3, but it's not alarmingly slower either.

The lack of Region Free content is anoying, especially since HD DVD discs were all region free.

If your first DVD player cost you 𧷤, you must have bought into the format quite late. First generation players cost around ٟ,500 and were useless, while the second generation players were around the 𧿘 mark and generally very good.

I think the last DVD player I bought was my Pioneer DV-737, which cost me around 𧽴 back in 1999. It was the first UK player to support component video with a progressive output - I've still got it now and have yet to find a modern player that comes close to it in terms of build quality.

And Mr Pope - shame on you Geoff. For someone who was so obsessive about the superior quality of DTS over AC3, you should be first in line to extol the virtues of a high definition format. Also, which Blu-ray discs are you referring to that only have 5.1-channel AC3 soundtracks? Even relatively early discs like Casino Royale feature uncompressed 5.1-channel PCM, so there's no need to employ a lossless codec of any kind.


July 25, 2008, 5:51 am

Actually, thinking about it, I bought my first DVD player in 2001. It was a Samsung - a great, big thing it was too. I was in my first job earning a minimum wage and I spent three weeks of my earnings on that. I probably wasn't among the very earliest adopters but I do remember that my local Choices (now out of business) had just started selling DVD's so it felt like I was one of the first. It was still early enough that VHS tapes took up most of the rental space in Choices.

Taxi Driver was my very first DVD and I was astounded at how good the picture was. In 2006, I sold that DVD payer for 1p, and I had a lot of memories wrapped up in that thing - it had accompanied me to University and back. Anyway, sorry for going off-topic but thinking about it just triggered a bout of nostalgia off in me.


August 7, 2008, 9:02 pm

Riyad, you can't really be serious to suggest that HD DVD was better than Blu-ray *just* because HD DVD had internet connection from day one? The picture in picture feature has been incorporated into Blu-ray Discs and works successfully without a Profile 1.1 player! With 50GB to play with, the studios have a lot more flexibility with the Blu-ray system!

If so, you're on pretty thin ground! At best, internet interactivity is a gimmick, a sideshow from the real important issues of picture and sound quality. I wouldn't suggest all Blu-ray discs so far have been excellent quality, far from it, but I have seen many HD DVD discs that we nothing more than upscaled DVDs. Thankfully, the main culprit, Universal appears to *respect* Blu-ray better and is making a fine job in it's Blu-ray productions. Long may it continue.

All the Blu-ray players from approx late 2007, when prices also came down, have been excellent machines in terms of image and sound quality, although start up times have been an issue.

Both the DMP-BD30 and DMP-BD50 Blu-ray players have redefined the market. As their availability increases their prices will come down further. Sony is also releasing it's direct competition, so the market is hotting up!

On the issue over internet interactivity, I think as well as a gimmick, it's actually a bad thing on a number of counts.

Firstly, it won't be too long, when the studios realise that they can charge for the *extra* content. How long will it be before extras that we take for granted (on our special or standard editions) start to be available through download only? For a fee obviously!

Secondly, there is the issue over the studios prying eyes on our viewing habits! Frankly, I view that as an invasion of privacy - just like spyware on our PCs!

There is also the issue over security. Blu-ray (and HD DVD) players probably have no security. It is possible that players connected to home networks could pick up viruses which by-pass security systems!

As you can gather, my family and I will not be connecting any Blu-ray player to the 'net for the above reasons (and more - I've said enough already)!!


September 17, 2008, 3:38 pm

Power on to visible GUI...PS3 10s

BD50 25s

From disc inserted to video on display...PS3 35s

BD50 43s

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