However, unlike the B15 there’s no analogue AV output, and because the B100 is a Profile 1.1 player there’s no Ethernet port either. Although BD Live and Wi-Fi can be found on the B500, it would have been nice to find it here too – after all, you might take it on the road to places with Wi-Fi, and it would have been great to watch new online content while you’re out and about.
However, there are some other features to keep you occupied. The SD card slot accepts large-capacity SDXC cards and allows you to play AVCHD, JPEG and MPEG-2 video, while DivX HD, MP3, JPEG can be played back from recordable DVD, CD and Blu-ray discs. It can also decode DTS HD, Dolby True HD and Dolby Digital Plus into PCM or output them in bitstream form.
Using the DMP-B100 is blissfully simple. Boot it up for the first time and it runs through the Easy Setting wizard to make the initial settings, then the main menu appears. This shares the design of Panasonic’s standalone players – bright and colourful, with a few cute icons thrown in for good measure. The vertical strip contains Playback, Top Menu and SD Card options, as well as the superfluous ‘To Others’ option at the bottom, which leads to the setup menu.
This tidily laid out menu provides access to a surprisingly long list of options for a portable deck, containing most the stuff found on the DMP-BD45. Obviously the B100’s Profile 1.1 spec means there are no network setup options to worry about, although you do need to tell the player whether you want to turn BonusView secondary audio on or off.
Controlling the B100 with the controls on front of the unit is a joy, but the same can’t be said for the credit-card sized remote. It’s one big bank of homogenous buttons, which means you can’t tell which is which without looking closely, and the important menu direction keys get lost in the crowd. Luckily good labelling stops it from being a complete disaster and some useful buttons provide direct access to frequently used functions.
Hit the Options button on the base and up pops a separate menu that lets you zip straight to the disc’s top menu, check its status or visit the LCD setup menu. The latter offers a choice of picture presets and a User mode that lets you set your own levels of brightness and colour. During playback, other options are added, such as pop-up menu, soundtrack selection and aspect ratio mode.
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