With HD DVD in apparent disarray after the Warner Brothers' move to Blu-ray exclusivity, Panasonic's support of the Sony sponsored format seems a wise and fortunate move. And, unsurprisingly enough, Panasonic announced two new players at its press conference.
First is the DMP-BD30 (pictured above), which marks the belated introduction of the final Blu-ray standard profile that adds abilities such as Picture-in-Picture. As with the new HDTVs that were announced it features an SD card slot, enabling users to playback video in the AVCHD format and still images. It has Deep Colour support and 24fps 1080p playback and will retail in the USA at $499.95, though don't you be silly enough to expect a direct conversion in the UK!
To accompany this is the higher end DMP-BD50 (pictured below), which along with the above features adds support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. It uses the 'UniPhier' video processor, which uses the PHL Reference Chroma processor and P4HD (Pixel Precision Progressive Processing for HD) conversion processor to allegedly produce superior and more faithful image quality.
Also of interest was the announcement of a full Home Theatre 'In A Box' bundle, which includes a full speaker system, amplifier and a Blu-ray disc player. Beginning with the player, it supports Deep Colour, 24fps 1080p playback and the aforementioned TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio codecs and can hold up to five discs at one time. However, there's no word on what Blu-ray profile it supports, which suggests it isn't the full fat 1.1 profile utilised in the two new standalone units.
There's also an iPod dock for audio and video playback, with a 5.1 speaker set providing the audio output. It certainly looks impressive and it'll be interesting whether it'll reach our shores and, if so, how much it might cost. Well Panasonic, we're waiting...