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The DMP-BDT110 shaves £70 off the BDT310’s price tag by ditching several of its more luxurious features. Among the missing stuff are the High Clarity Sound and Digital Tube Sound enhancers, built-in Wi-Fi support, the touch-free sensor (which opens the disc tray with a swipe of your hand) and the second HDMI output.
But that still leaves plenty of stuff to get your teeth into, including Full HD 3D playback and a bunch of new 3D playback features. The most appealing of these is 2D-to-3D conversion, which does exactly what it says on the tin, generating a 3D effect with any 2D Blu-ray disc or DVD. Samsung has also introduced this feature on its latest Blu-ray decks, so it’s great to see Panasonic keeping pace with its Korean counterpart.
Unique to Panasonic is the 3D Effect Controller, which allows you to adjust the perceived depth of the image and select how the screen appears when watching 3D (flat or round). Flicking between the two options, it’s difficult to tell what it actually does, but according to Panasonic it’s supposed to remove some of the 'uncomfortableness' caused where the edge of the picture meets the bezel - the Round setting tweaks the way the left and right images are aligned and makes the 3D effect smoother.
Even more unusual is the ability to add a feathered frame at the edge of the screen, which is designed to diffuse the hard edge where the picture meets the bezel, making the 3D picture more comfortable to watch. You can even change the width and colour of this frame (the options are black, grey, blue and red).
The internet and networking functionality has also been updated for 2011, although the on-board internet portal is still Viera Cast and not the flash new Viera Connect service found on Panasonic’s 2011 TVs. Here you’ll find the same sites as before – YouTube, Twitter, Dailymotion, Picasa, Bloomberg and the latest weather, as well as a load of European sites – laid out in the same gloriously simple and attractive interface. We still think it could do with a few more killer apps like BBC iPlayer or Facebook, which would bring it up to the same level as Sony and Samsung’s web portals.
But it does, however, now include Skype, allowing you to make video calls with the communication camera attached. Incoming ringtones during Blu-ray playback let you know when you have a call, and it can also be set to ring while in standby. Furthermore, the unique Auto Answering Video Message feature lets you record a message that plays when you’re not there, while an update available in April will allow callers to record messages for you onto SD card.
Another snazzy feature introduced this year is iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch Remote Control, which lets you control the player using these devices over a wireless network – the free apps for this will be available from mid-March, and it works with GUIs like Gesture and Scrub.
The extraordinary feature list continues. The BDT110 also features DLNA networking, allowing you to play DivX HD, MP3, JPEG, WMV, and AVCHD files stored remotely on Windows 7 PCs and NAS drives, or programmes recorded on Panasonic DIGA recorders. Files can also be played from USB devices (up to 2TB, FAT 32) connected to the front-mounted port, while the SD card slot (which also handles SDXC cards) supports MPEG-2, AVCHD and JPEG, as well as MPO 3D photos.