Panasonic’s first ever Blu-ray player, the DMP-BD10, was an unashamedly high-end affair, and ever since then its portfolio has been peppered with similarly enthusiast-focused decks like the DMP-BD30 and DMP-BDD300 (its first 3D-capable player).
These players were always a showcase for Panasonic’s most advanced Blu-ray innovations and hi-def picture technology. But over the last couple of years Panasonic has abandoned this approach, relying on more mass-market players like the DMP-BDT310 to fulfil flagship duties.
This year though, we’re pleased to see that Panasonic has brought back a proper flagship machine, the delectable Panasonic DMP-BDT500. This premium player is crammed with all the cutting-edge tech Panasonic has to offer, with particular attention being lavished on its audio capabilities.
But the main advantage it has over the rest of the range is its superior build quality. Its construction is impressive, feeling robust and weighty when you lift it from the box thanks to the chunky casing and brushed top plate – although it’s no match for the likes of the Cambridge Audio 651BD or the Denon DBP2012.
Viewed front-on, the brushed silver strip running along the bottom of the mirrored fascia makes it remarkably attractive; possibly the prettiest Panasonic has ever designed. This front plate drops down to reveal an SD card slot, a USB port and the disc tray.
The Panasonic DMP-BDT500’s premium status also guarantees a top-drawer selection of sockets on the rear panel. These include two HDMI outputs, which make life easier if your AV receiver doesn’t support 3D. Most enthusiasts likely to be interested in this player will probably already own a compatible receiver, but those reluctant to give up their cherished legacy amps won’t have to worry if they want to watch 3D with HD audio. They’re backed up by a set of 7.1-channel analogue outputs, with the analogue stereo outputs doubling up as the surround rear channels.
The line-up is completed by composite video, optical and coaxial digital audio outputs, plus an Ethernet port and a second USB port designed to house the optional communication camera for Skype.