Panasonic announces 2nd-gen portable Blu-ray players

Panasonic has announced two second-generation portable Blu-ray players, with the step-up DMP-B500 featuring built-in Wi-Fi and support for VieraCast.

Sarah Tew/CNET

LAS VEGAS--When Panasonic released the first portable Blu-ray player at CES 2009 , it received a lot of skepticism, but when we actually reviewed it , we found ourselves liking it a bit more than we expected. Yes, it was too bulky, too expensive, and you had to get really close to see the visual benefits of Blu-ray, but it did enable you to watch your new Blu-ray collection on-the-go. Plus Panasonic made it work as a fully-functional standalone unit too.

Panasonic has now announced its second-generation portable Blu-ray players, with two models this year: the DMP-B100 and DMP-B500. Here's a quick look at the announced features.

Key features of the Panasonic DMP-B100:

  • 8.9-inch WSVGA LCD display
  • 3.5 hour battery life
  • PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus video processor
  • Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
  • SD card slot
  • Adjustable position screen
  • No release date or pricing announced

Key step-up features of the Panasonic DMP-B500:

  • 10.1-inch WSVGA LCD display
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Supports Panasonic's VieraCast streaming content portal, which will feature content from Amazon Video On Demand, YouTube, Picasa, Netflix, Pandora, and Twitter
  • No release date or pricing announced

Editors' note: We've updated this section with new information on battery life.

Panasonic hasn't released the most important information yet--pricing--but the new players are definitely upgrades over last year's DMP-B15K. The sleeker design and built-in Wi-Fi on the B500 is nice, but to us the big new is that both players will now have a battery life of 3.5 hours, an hour more than last year's player. Portable Blu-ray players will likely still a niche product, but we expect these models to be a little more popular than the DMP-B15 now that Blu-ray is more established.

 

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