The Viera Cast interface is excellent. All of the services are placed in small screens dotted around a central Blu-ray logo, and the cursor moves between them instantly. The YouTube screen lists videos down the left, with a playback box on the right that can be expanded to fill the screen. Searching for clips is easy thanks to the mobile phone style text entry, and using our 802.11n Wi-Fi network, streaming was ultra smooth with no buffering pauses at all.
The DMP-BDT100 is also DLNA-certified and lets you play TV recordings stored on networked Panasonic recorders, but frustratingly you can’t stream music, video or photos from PCs – although it will browse them, which is a bit of a tease.
That means the only way of playing digital media is via disc or USB storage devices supporting FAT12, 16 and 32. Thankfully format support is healthy, and includes DivX Plus HD, MKV, MP3 and JPEG. Additionally, AVCHD and MPEG-2 SD Video can be played from SDHC and SDXC cards. You’ll need to insert an SD card if you want to access BD Live content, as there’s no built-in memory for it.
Like most of Panasonic’s Blu-ray players, the DMP-BDT100 uses PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus to improve colour accuracy but there’s a newly-tweaked version of P4HD for DVD upscaling. There’s also a small selection of picture adjustments found in the in-playback display, including a bunch of picture presets, user-defined settings and a couple of noise reduction modes. Under Advanced Settings there are three more picture enhancements – Chroma Process, Detail Clarity and Super Resolution.
Despite the inclusion of potentially tricky 3D and networking functionality, the DMP-BDT100 remains a user-friendly deck through and through. The straightforward layout of the setup menu makes everything easy to find – with handy explanations given for some options – while the main Functions menu is clear and welcoming with subtly deployed icons. Step-by-step guides take you through network setup in plain English and the menu software is slick and responsive. 3D options include a choice of Full HD or side-by-side output.
Adding to the innate sense of user-friendliness is the top-notch remote, which uses the big, chunky buttons, intuitive layout and shouty lettering found on Panasonic’s previous remotes. Dedicated buttons are provided for Viera Cast, picture-in-picture and audio Re-Master modes, while the Option button calls up a handy menu of frequently used functions.
The DMP-BDT100 isn’t particularly quick to load Blu-ray discs. Terminator Salvation took 70 seconds to start playing, double the time taken by some players.
Panasonic kindly loaned us its 65in TX-P65VT20 plasma to check out the DMP-BDT100’s 3D image quality, and after settling down in front of Coraline with a pair of TY-EW3D10 glasses perched precariously on our face, we were treated to some seriously deep, absorbing 3D pictures – made all the more spectacular by the massive screen size.