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Panasonic DMP-BD80 Blu-ray Player review



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Panasonic DMP-BD80 Blu-ray Player


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The Panasonic DMP-BD60's tantalising blend of eye-popping pictures, slick Blu-ray functionality and killer features sent it soaring to the top of the hi-def player premiership, but now we turn our attention to the step-up version, the Panasonic DMP-BD80.

As the company's current top-end machine, it features the most comprehensive line-up of features ever seen on a Panasonic player, which is really saying something given how generously equipped its predecessors were. Stealing the headlines once again is Viera Cast, which uses the player's Ethernet web connection to stream videos and photos to your screen, using the built-in YouTube and Google Picasa portals.

But what does that £100 premium over the DMP-BD60 get you? For starters, the DMP-BD80 adds 7.1-channel analogue audio outputs, which will appeal to owners of older amps who want to savour the hi-res delights of Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio. The unit decodes these formats into uncompressed PCM without compromising their sound quality, and outputs them as analogue signals from these ports. The BD80 also features superior audio circuitry to the BD60.

Another additional feature is a playback information window that can be called up while watching a movie, displaying all the details of the current disc. The information includes the native resolution and frame rate of the source content, the HDMI output format, the video/audio codecs and bitrates used, plus the current HDMI audio settings. It's all very interesting and a useful tool for video anoraks, but we don't think this or the analogue outputs offer a compelling reason to stump up an extra £100.

We also expected the Panasonic DMP-BD80 to offer superior build quality to the DMP-BD60, but apart from being 5mm taller this version appears to be identical. It lacks the rock-solid build quality of the latest Pioneer players, but the BD80 is still robustly constructed and attractive - the reflective fascia and black finish is a fetching combination and the digits inside the display panel are easy to read. It's nowhere near as snazzy as the latest Samsung and LG decks but then again few players are.

Like the BD60, the BD80 sports USB and SD card slots on the front that can be used to play back digital media, and because the deck is BD Live capable you'll need to insert an SD card with a capacity of at least 1GB to store web downloads. Lining up alongside the HDMI and multichannel analogue outputs on the rear are component, composite, stereo audio and optical/coaxial digital audio outputs, plus an Ethernet port. Sadly Panasonic hasn't yet embraced Wi-Fi or built-in memory like the Samsung BD-P4600, which would have made the DMP-BD80 an even more tempting proposition. But there are plenty of other features to make up for it, the most significant of which are in the picture processing department.

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March 22, 2009, 12:38 pm

I have no doubt that the BD80 is a superb player. But what is Panasonic playing at? How many models in one year? Surely they could have updated the firmware of the previous model (sorry, there have been so many that I cannot remember) to deliver most of the 'additions' in the BD80. I'm also willing to bet that the previous model is not even in the UK shops yet.

Also, this is not aimed at Panasonic, but most manufacturers are guilty of this. Rather than tweaking this and that to create a 'new' model, why not add useful stuff?

A player that remembers it's place when last switched off. A player that has an HDMI loop through (like scart in a VCR). A player that just starts and plays quickly.

We seem to be going backwards in these areas with the exception of perceived picture / sound quality.


March 22, 2009, 2:34 pm

I would also have thought that at this price for a top-end (price-wise anyway) player they could have at least included sufficient on board memory for BD-Live with the addition to add more memory, rather than still require the user to stomp up more cash for the privilege. For me this is the one gripe on supposed 2.0 players. They shouldn't be allowed to be called that unless they meet that one basic requirement.


March 22, 2009, 9:14 pm

i've always been perplexed as to how panasonic's bluray players handle youtube videos. i know how **** regular youtube videos often look when you press the "expand" button.


March 23, 2009, 5:27 pm

I agree with Prem.

That's why I've gone for the Pioneer BDP 51FD. Because it's basic and concentrates on build and picture quality.....not that the Panny doesn't of course....but are all these little tweaks and features really appropraite?

I will never use these fancy gimicky features and I wouldn't go out and buy the following years model just because something/s relatively minor is added.

Thats said....it seems a great player for someone looking to buy their first Blu Ray player!


March 23, 2009, 6:02 pm

I do a lot of video editing on our travels. I've just switched over to Blu-Ray. I intend to use BD-DL discs. Does the Dmp-BD80 play BD-DL discs? I've owned many DVD players and Pioneer seems to have the best "playability" of the group, but this Panasonic has caught my eye(that and the rave reviews and the 7:1 analog outputs).


March 24, 2009, 11:21 pm

Since I already get all the VieraCast functions on my Panasonic plasma, I wonder if there's any reason to upgrade from this player's predecessor model, the Panny DMP-BD55? Is the audio bitstreaming over HDMI, or the video processing and quality, at all different? They both use the very same chips, don't they? I am willing to trade up for even incremental A/V improvements, but if VieraCast is the only change from last year's model, there's probably not much point. Comments?


April 6, 2009, 1:50 am

Im sorry chaps but this appears to be more vapourware. Or can you suggest where one might be able to obtain it?

Geoff Richards

April 6, 2009, 3:08 am

Cynic - I found one online reseller expecting stock on 21st April so either they've been very popular and sold out, or perhaps our review was ahead of the first retail shipment


April 24, 2009, 11:39 pm

This item is available as of this date at Amazon and other major dealers. I dont understand why this reviewer feels there isnt value in the upgrades on this model to justify a nominal price increase. The audio section has been totally upgraded (upsample audio cd's, dvd's etc) and the analog out with full onboard decoding is essential for folks like me with a pre-HDMI Denon unit. This Panny will have the latest OS for blu ray and also has the chroma/video chip that does do a good job with standard dvd's. All in all a very good unit with a not very big price. The older Pioneers did a poor job upconverting standard dvd's and they require updates to play current discs. Their blu ray performance was just average. I saw this unit at CES this year and the picture quality is real, enough for me to upgrade. I am not a Panasonic "fan boy", but I hope my comments are helpful if you re looking for a really good blu ray player at a fair price. Improved video & audio quality can be seen and heard on this model.

Ahmed Oluranti

May 30, 2009, 4:06 pm

When is it going to be available in Nigeria? because i want to get one

Duke Slade

June 11, 2009, 12:44 pm

Can the digital audio outputs be used for Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio or only the multi-channel ones? This is for a pre-HDMI Sunfire premp.


August 15, 2009, 2:31 pm

Is this player available in a region-free version, for both Blu-Ray and DVDs?

Amit Eitan

January 21, 2010, 3:13 pm

I am confused by the different related models (to the BD80) - I see BD80 here, BD80EB on Amazon, Panasonic themsleves are mentioning only one model - BD80K... are they all the same ? if not, what are the differences ? Like the previous person, I am interested in the multi-regional coverage, at least fro DVD's, are all these models providing that ? Please advise. Thanks.

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