At the end of last year, Panasonic's DMP-BD35 earned the first Editors' Choice award given to a standalone Blu-ray player, because of its excellent feature set and reliable playback. The DMP-BD60 is the follow-up to the DMP-BD35, offering nearly the same feature set plus access to VieraCast, Panasonic's proprietary video content portal. So it may be surprising to see that the DMP-BD60 scores significantly lower than the DMP-BD35 did when it was first released--but that's just how fast the Blu-ray market is moving. While competitors are adding Netflix streaming, Wi-Fi connectivity, and onboard memory, the DMP-BD60 is … Read more
During the 2008 holiday season, we found plenty of affordable Blu-ray players to recommend under $300. Fast-forward a couple months, and we're surprised to find that many of those players are either discontinued (Panasonic DMP-BD35) or are no longer discounted.
You can still get a few Blu-ray players for a bargain, but you'll have to give up some features to get under the $300 mark. None of these players have multichannel analog-audio outputs and they also lack onboard decoding for DTS-HD Master Audio. That being said, most people won't have any complaints with the Blu-ray image quality … Read more
We reviewed the Samsung BD-P1500 when it first hit the market in May 2008, and while we mostly found it to be a solid Blu-ray player, we couldn't give it our full recommendation because it lacked Profile 2.0 and had some disc compatibility issues.
Since then, the BD-P1500 has received several firmware updates and its price has plummeted online, so we decided to take another look at the player. Those firmware updates have made it Profile 2.0-compatible and its disc compatibility problems seem to be fixed, as it played all the discs we tossed at it. It'… Read more
Netflix is considering offering a streaming-only pricing tier as soon as next year, according to comments made by CEO Reed Hastings in a report by Bloomberg.
The streaming-only membership could be popular among those with Netflix-enabled devices (such as the Roku Netflix Player, Xbox 360, and LG BD300) who want streaming access without the full cost of a Netflix membership. Netflix hasn't said how much the streaming-only tier would cost, but we'd assume it would be less than the current entry-level $9-a-month unlimited plan.
On the other hand, we're still on the lookout for Netflix to start … Read more
Over the past several weeks, we've noticed that our favorite standalone Blu-ray player to date, the Panasonic DMP-BD35, seems almost impossible to find. The player is either out of stock at nearly every retailer, or priced at excessive premiums ($700 at Amazon Marketplace--more than double its $299 MSRP).
Indeed, a Panasonic rep we contacted confirmed that the DMP-BD35 has been discontinued. (The same is presumably true for its big brother, the DMP-BD55.) The good news is that it will soon be replaced by the Panasonic DMP-BD60, which offers a nearly identical spec sheet plus the addition of Viera Cast (… Read more
While the rest of tech world was busy scouring news from CES 2009, Samsung's duo of Netflix-enabled Blu-ray players--the BD-P2500 and BD-P2550--received a firmware update to enable onboard DTS-HD Master Audio decoding. The players were promised the update "by the end of the year", but chalk it up to another delayed Samsung firmware release, as we've seen before.
The firmware is available for download from Samsung's site, and the players can be updated via a direct download using an Ethernet connection, or, for players not connected to home networks, users can download the file … Read more