Panasonic's mainstream Blu-ray players get Wi-Fi, Netflix

Panasonic announced its new line of mainstream Blu-ray players, which now include Netflix and Pandora streaming.

Panasonic DMP-BD85
Panasonic DMP-BD85 Panasonic

LAS VEGAS--Panasonic fell a little behind in the Blu-ray features wars last year, with the company's players lacking Wi-Fi, Netflix streaming, and onboard storage, which were available on competing players. At CES 2010, Panasonic introduced three new mainstream Blu-ray players, the DMP-BD45, DMP-BD65 and DMP-BD85, that address some of these criticisms, although with some caveats.

Key features of the Panasonic DMP-BD45:

  • PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus video processor
  • SD card slot
  • Lower power consumption--14 watts in usage, 0.1 watts in standby
  • 14 second boot up time
  • Limited to 5.1 audio decoding
  • Available spring of 2010; no pricing announced

Key step-up features of the Panasonic DMP-BD65:

  • Wi-Fi ready, requires USB Wi-Fi dongle (sold separately)
  • Supports Panasonic's VieraCast streaming content portal, which will feature content from Amazon Video on Demand, YouTube, Picasa, Netflix, Pandora, and Twitter
  • Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Supports full 7.1 audio decoding
  • USB port
  • Available spring of 2010; no pricing announced

Key step-up features of the Panasonic DMP-BD85:

  • Includes USB Wi-Fi dongle
  • 7.1 analog audio outputs
  • Digital Tube Sound Simulator mode "to produce the warm, realistic sounds associated with a tube amplifier"
  • Available spring of 2010; no pricing announced

VieraCast was available on Panasonic's 2009 Blu-ray players, but the content portal gets a significant boost 2010 by the addition of Netflix and Pandora streaming. (It's unclear if 2009 VieraCast products will be able to use the new services.) The addition of Wi-Fi to the product line is also a much needed upgrade, although we would have preferred if it were built-in, as offered on the competing LG BD570 and Samsung BD-C6500. We're still trying to confirm if any of these players have onboard storage.

 

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