Not counting the enthusiast-focused DMP-BDT500 (which continues from last year) the DMP-BDT330 sits at the head of Panasonic’s latest Blu-ray player range. It’s the replacement for last year’s DMP-BDT320.
Naturally Panasonic has crammed everything it possibly can into this 3D-capable player, including 4K upscaling, web content and network media streaming. But at around £250, such extensive functionality will leave a relatively big dent in your bank balance – let’s find out if it’s worth the expense.
Panasonic has come up with a dramatic new design for the DMP-BDT330 that really makes it stand out from the crowd. Its brushed silver top panel, mirrored front flap and sloping side panels give off an elegant yet hi-tech vibe that’ll go nicely with most partnering kit, while build quality is excellent despite its light 1.6kg weight.
Pull down the front flap and you’ll uncover an SD card slot and two USB ports, play and stop buttons and an LED display panel (that shines through the flap when closed). We half expected a disc slot to suit the futuristic feel, but it sticks with the usual tray mechanism.
The SD card slot is great for quick easy viewing of photos and videos (AVCHD, MP4, JPEG, MPO) while the generous inclusion of two USB ports lets you connect two flash drives or external HDDs for media playback and BD Live access.
It’s a shame Panasonic didn’t put one of these ports on the back to keep connected devices out of sight – as it stands they’ll poke out of the front, and you’ll have to leave the flap open.
On the plus side, you don’t have to use one of these ports for a wireless LAN dongle thank to built-in Wi-Fi, but for Skype you’ll need to connect Panasonic’s communication camera (which will set you back about £100).
The generosity continues on the back with two HDMI outputs, one of which can be used to send audio signals separately to an AV receiver while the other sends pictures to a TV. This solves a problem for those who want to watch 3D movies with HD audio but their AV receivers don’t support 3D pass-through.
These are joined by an optical digital output and an Ethernet port, which completes a measly selection for such a pricey player, aside from dual HDMIs. Most notable is the complete absence of analogue audio outputs, revealing that this is not a player for audiophiles – if analogue outputs are crucial, you might want to consider stepping up to the flagship DMP-BDT500, which offers stereo and multichannel jacks.