Panasonic has always been at the cutting edge of Blu-ray technology, but its latest range of players looks to push the boundaries even further. The DMP-BD60 is the entry-level player in the company's latest three-strong line-up - which also includes the step-up DMP-BD80 and the DMP-BD70V Blu-ray/VHS combi (no, really) - and the big breakthrough on these models is the inclusion of Viera Cast functionality, also found on the company's Z1, V10 and G15 NeoPDP TVs.
Viera Cast allows you to access the Internet via the deck's Ethernet connection and browse targeted sites like YouTube, much like the LG BD370 which we reviewed recently. The DMP-BD60 goes a step further by providing access to Google's Picasa web album but sadly not Amazon VOD or Bloomberg as found on the American version.
But Viera Cast is just the tip of the iceberg - like all Panasonic Blu-ray players before it, the BD60 is packed with loads of other alluring features and picture enhancing technology that could put the company back at the top of the Blu-ray tree.
After seeing a Blu-ray deck as jaw-droppingly gorgeous as the Samsung BD-P4600 (review coming soon), everything else seems ugly by comparison. But our tainted eyes are doing this deck a disservice - it's actually very pleasant to look at, with the sleek black finish, silver flashes and slim measurements resulting in a modern, tasteful piece of kit, and most importantly the build quality is terrific.
On the right hand side is a flap that conceals an SD/SDHC card slot, which allows you to play JPEG, AVCHD and MPEG-2 files, and a USB port that supports MP3, JPEG and DivX playback. The SD card slot is also needed to store downloaded updates and web content because there's no built-in memory like the Samsung BD-P4600. Alongside these sockets you'll find play, pause and stop buttons.
Rear sockets are sparse but no more so than other similarly-priced players on the market. The small cluster of connections includes HDMI 1.3, component, composite and stereo audio outputs, as well as an Ethernet port for that all important web functionality and an optical digital audio output. There are no multichannel analogue outputs, but if you really need them they can be found on the DMP-BD80.