Panasonic DMP-BD45 Blu-ray Player - Panasonic DMP-BD45

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Despite being the baby of the bunch, the BD45 still comes equipped with the same picture technology (developed by Panasonic Hollywood Labs) found on the company’s previous players. We’re sure you’re familiar with these, but to recap they include a new version of P4HD, which processes 15 billion pixel per second and optimises each one to ensure the best possible detail and colour reproduction. It’s also responsible for motion detection, diagonal line processing (eliminating those pesky jaggies) as well as 1080p upscaling for DVDs.

Then there’s PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus, which works alongside high precision 4:4:4 signal technology to process colour data, which is said to achieve greater accuracy than other systems.

Elsewhere the deck plays an unusually wide range of disc types, including BD-R/RE Freesat recordings made on Panasonic’s Blu-ray recorders, DVD-RAM and dual-layer DVD-R. And despite the lack of BD Live support, the BD45 does support BonusView, so at least you’ll have access to picture-in-picture commentaries.

Poking around in the onscreen menus unearths more goodies. Hit the Display button and a menu banner appears at the top of the screen, with Disc, Play, Picture and Sound headings. Under Picture, you get a choice of presets (Normal, Soft, Fine and Cinema) as well as a User setting that lets you adjust seven different picture parameters and Detail Clarity, which gently enhances sharpness. Under Sound, you can choose from a range of presets (Night Surround and several Re-Master modes that boost high frequencies) and Dialog Enhancer.

People either love or hate Panasonic’s bright, brash onscreen design, but we’ve always been big fans. There’s no ambiguity – most options are placed exactly where you expect them to be and the setup menu doesn’t get bogged down in excessive submenus and fussy layouts. Initial setup is a breeze thanks to the Easy Setting wizard that appears when you first boot up.

Panasonic has made some subtle tweaks to the Functions menu since last year’s BD60 and BD80, but nothing major – the icons are larger and the ‘To Others’ option has been moved to the bottom. It’s slightly annoying that the Setup menu isn’t listed in the Functions menu (you have to select ‘To Others’, then ‘Setup’ in a superfluous box) and accessing it makes you lose your place in the movie, but otherwise it’s a very intuitive and responsive GUI.

Aside from the lack of a backlight, the BD45’s remote is impressive. All of the buttons are labelled in big, shouty letters and the most frequently used keys are clustered together under the thumb.

Previous Panasonic players have been slow to load discs and little progress has been made on that score since the BD60 and BD80. To test it, we put a disc in the tray and started the clock when we hit Close, then stopped it when the first menu or moving video appeared. Spider-Man 3 took 59 seconds to load and Terminator Salvation took a whopping one minute and eighteen seconds, which harks back to the early days of the format.

Still, at least the deck doesn’t take an age to boot up – with Quick Start, it’s up and running in five seconds, with the usual caveat that the player consumes more power in standby. With Quick Start turned off the deck boots up in around 15 seconds, which still isn’t bad.

JDunn

February 5, 2010, 3:00 pm

Where was it made? I bought a Panasonic 4 years ago that was made in Slovakia and it has turned out to be a reliability nightmare. Panasonic just isn't what it used to be in my view.

kelsci

February 5, 2010, 3:25 pm

My brother has the model 60 on a Samsung 5054 tv. We have looked at upconverted dvds. The video quality is nothing short of stunning. IMHO the video quality looks or beats the high def sattelite stations that I receive. He bought a BD disc, SWORDFISH. I was unimpressed with this disc's performance on this player. Hopefully in the near future he will purchase a more highly rated BD disc that rated very high on its video quality. As a upconverting machine however, you cannot beat it. I have no other comments to make about audio thru the optical output since his sub is on the fritz. Untested too by me is their virtual surround mode.

Bagpuss515

February 5, 2010, 3:47 pm

...or you could by the older DMP-DB60 ( I own one of these ) which is cheaper and by the looks of it is superior. Seen it on a few sites for £144.

Danny P

February 5, 2010, 4:07 pm

Clarification on the BD Live issue from Panasonic: "Profile 2.0 is not mandatory, it is purely optional. Panasonic have always offered the highest specification on our players aimed at the film enthusiast. We were the 1st manufacturer to introduce Profile 2.0 players in the market, while many others were still selling Profile 1.1 models. The Blu-ray market has matured, and we feel the time is right to offer a product that will still offer high quality picture performance while achieving a price point that will be more attractive to the mass market. We would like to give even the casual movie viewer the opportunity to own a Panasonic Blu-ray Player."

Matthew White

February 5, 2010, 5:39 pm

Is anyone aware of any image processing differences bewtween the BD60 and BD65

bobsta

February 8, 2010, 2:49 am

No profile 2.0 and slow loading times? Sorry Panasonic but that just isn't good enough. For a similar price I picked up an LG390 with profile 2.0, faster loading times and superb picture quality.

Matthew White

February 8, 2010, 1:37 pm

bobsta , where did you get a BD390 for £170 ish ?

bobsta

February 8, 2010, 5:35 pm

Hi Matthew. The LG390 was in stock at my local Tesco a couple of weeks ago for £169.99.

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