The annual launch of Panasonic’s new Blu-ray decks is always something to look forward to, but this year’s batch looks better than ever thanks to a bevy of nifty new features to back up Panasonic’s PHL-boosted picture quality.
The 2011 line-up includes four new models, three of which are 3D-ready. We’ve already had a gander at the only 2D deck in the range (DMP-BD75) but now we’re turning our attention to the 3D machines, starting with the DMP-BDT110 and followed by the higher-spec DMP-BDT310. There’s a difference of about £70 between these two models, with the DMP-BDT210 sitting between the two of them.
If you like your Blu-ray decks slim and sleek, the DMP-BDT110 is sure to please. With a height of just 35mm, this is one of the slimmest decks Panasonic has produced, some 14mm thinner and 20mm shallower than last year’s players. It’s all part of Panasonic’s attempt to save the planet – more compact players means less packaging, leading to more efficient transportation and therefore lower CO² emissions. But never mind all that – what it means for you is that the deck is much easier to slip into your AV rack.
Although it stops short of stunner status, the BDT110 is a good looking Blu-ray player. The all-black, button free fascia keeps things alluringly minimal, but it’s actually one long flap – behind it is the disc tray, play and stop buttons, an SD card slot and USB port. Good to see that Panasonic hasn’t cut any corners with construction, as the aluminium casing ensures top-drawer build quality.
The rear connections are more generous than the DMP-BD75, but still fairly run-of-the-mill. Being a 3D-compatible player there’s an HDMI v1.4 output on the back, but only one – if your receiver lacks v1.4 inputs and you want to enjoy 3D pictures and HD audio simultaneously, either upgrade your receiver or step up to the DMP-BDT310, which features dual HDMI outputs. There are no multichannel analogue outputs, but there are analogue stereo, composite video and optical digital outputs. Ethernet and a second USB port complete the line-up.
This USB port is designed to accommodate an optional Wi-Fi adapter (the DY-WL10, available for around £100), or Panasonic’s communication camera (the TY-CC10W) if you want to take advantage of the deck’s Skype functionality – one of the major new features added to this year’s range – although this camera costs the same as the player itself from some retailers.
What’s more, the inclusion of only one USB port on the back is a tad problematic if you want to use Skype while connected to the internet wirelessly. The TY-CC110W camera, which perches on top of your TV using the attached bracket, didn’t work in the front-mounted USB port, which means you have to move the wireless adapter to the front – an ungainly solution, given its chunkiness. You also have to add a 1GB memory device to access BD Live features, but thankfully that’s done through the SD card slot and not USB.