Review Price £229.99
As ever, Panasonic has shovelled a generous array of features into this player. Crucially there’s access to internet content and networking features, all of which are easy to access thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi. It even supports Wi-Fi Direct, which as the name suggests allows you to connect Wi-Fi devices directly to the DMP-BDT320 without having to go through a router.
We’re pleased to see that Viera Cast is now a thing of the past on the Blu-ray range – now you get the Viera Connect system introduced on last year’s TVs. The interface looks similar, but now there’s a more compelling range of services, chief among which is BBC iPlayer. It’s joined by Skype, Netflix and Acetrax movie streaming, YouTube, Picasa and Dailymotion, plus Facebook and Twitter social networking sites. That’s a much healthier selection than Viera Cast, but another benefit is the addition of Viera Market, which allows you to install new third-party apps.
Skype video calling is a definite highlight, allowing you to call other Skype users from the comfort of your sofa, but it requires Panasonic’s TY-CC10W communication camera, which costs around £120 online – a luxury that many won’t be able to afford.
The DMP-BDT320 is also equipped to stream music, video and photos from Windows PCs on your home network, as well as video and photos from Panasonic recorders. The list of supported formats includes MP3, JPEG, DivX, AVCHD, MKV, WAV and – most pleasingly – FLAC. Once you’ve linked the BDT320 to your PC, you can then access content from that PC on your tablet or smartphone using the BDT320 as a renderer.
We tried out the DLNA feature with a Windows 7 laptop as the server and the deck found and streamed supported files smoothly, although the lack of search mode makes it a little tricky to find particular tracks and it takes a while to load pages, particularly if you have a huge library of songs. The deck also refused to stream an MKV file containing hi-def video as well as a hi-def AVI, although it had no trouble playing them via USB stick.
Naturally the BDT320 is 3D-enabled and like the BDT310 it provides a range of 3D adjustments, which is still unusual among Blu-ray players. There’s a Soft preset, which reduces the depth of the image, as well as manual settings that let you put a feathered frame around the edge of the screen and alter the depth of the 3D effect.
Another new feature for 2012 is the Smart Eco Sensor, which reduces standby power consumption to 0.1W when there’s no movement in front of it for 30 minutes. But when someone walks nearby, it switches to the Quick Start mode and the disc slot LED lights up.
The formidable feature set is completed by a range of picture and sound modes. On the picture side, you’ll find Chroma Process, Detail Clarity and Super Resolution, plus 3D and Integrated noise reduction to clean up artefacts. Audio modes include Re-master (with three settings), six Digital Tube Sound settings, all designed to mimic the warm sound of a tube amplifier, Dialogue Enhancer and High Clarity Sound, which enhances audio through the HDMI output. High Clarity Sound Plus turns off the video output to further reduce interference.