Most manufacturers have made a marked effort to pare down the number of different Blu-ray player models they make, but not Panasonic.
Panasonic announced six new Blu-ray models at CES 2012, with separate 3D and 2D lines, plus the ultraslim DMP-BBT01. Half of the models also feature Panasonic's new touch pad remote, which might make it easier to navigate online content.
Panasonic's line of 3D Blu-ray players breaks down as follows:
DMP-BDT220: Wi-Fi + Viera Connect
DMP-BDT500: Wi-Fi + Viera Connect + touch pad remote
DMP-BDT320: Wi-Fi + Viera Connect + touch pad remote + slot-loading drive
DMP-BBT01: Wi-Fi + Viera Connect + touch pad remote + slot-loading drive + slim design
A welcome change for 2012 is that the 3D Blu-ray players feature the full suite of Viera Connect apps. (Last year they only supported the more limited Viera Cast suite.) The list of apps is impressive: Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, MLB.TV, Flixster, NHL, NBA, MLS4, YouTube, and Skype.
Panasonic will also release two 2D Blu-ray players, both with a limited suite of streaming-media services (Netflix, Vudu, CinemaNow, and YouTube), dubbed "IP VOD."
DMP-BD77: IP VOD + Wi-Fi-ready (requires dongle)
DMP-BD87: IP VOD + Wi-Fi
As cool as the touch pad remote might be, the DMP-BDT220 looks to be the sweet-spot player for 2012, possibly following in the footsteps of the Editors' Choice Award-winning DMP-BDT210.