Panasonic DMP-BDT210 review: Panasonic DMP-BDT210

Compared with other manufacturers, Panasonic's Viera Cast content portal has the fewest streaming-media services, but it includes all of the standard services (Netflix, Pandora, Vudu) and a few standouts, including Amazon Instant and Skype.

Amazon Instant Streaming is our favorite extra, especially for cord-cutters without cable . While competing services like Vudu are a compelling alternative for video-on-demand movies, Amazon Instant offers by far the largest selection of TV shows for pay-per-view watching, including both network and cable shows. If you want Amazon Instant, we'd consider Panasonic's main competition to be LG's Smart TV. Sony offers Amazon, too, but its user interface isn't quite as good.

Our extensive review of Viera Cast includes a chart comparing the major manufacturers' services.

Connectivity
HDMI outputs Single Analog outputs Stereo
Component video output No Digital audio outputs Optical
USB ports 1 SD card slot Yes
Other: None

The DMP-BDT210 has the standard assortment of ports you find on most Blu-ray player. The major exception is the SD card slot, which Panasonic uses for BD-Live storage, but is also handy for popping in an SD card right from your camera and viewing photos.

Note that although the DMP-BDT210 lacks a component video output, we don't consider it a major missing feature since component video is now limited to 480i resolution, because of annoying AACS rules.

Blu-ray disc load times and player speed

Blu-ray disc load times and player speed
Average seconds Composite score
Disc loading 33.18 Disc loading 132
Netflix 29.65 Netflix 93
Navigation 11.78 Navigation 68
CNET speed rating 112
Higher composite scores indicate faster performance, with an average 2011 Blu-ray player having a composite score of 100. For more information, see our guide to how we test Blu-ray players.

CNET speed rating (composite score)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
PS3 Slim
69 
LG BD670
93 
Panasonic DMP-BDT210
112 

The Panasonic DMP-BDT210 has a CNET speed rating of 112, which means it's significantly faster than an average 2011 midrange Blu-ray player. This is largely because of blazing fast disc-loading speeds, loading movies like "Spider-Man 3" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" nearly 10 seconds faster than all its competitors.

The Panasonic is hands-down the speed champ so far this year for disc-loading, but it's surprisingly slow when actually navigating movies. Movies with complex menus like "Walk Hard" stutter along on the DMP-BDT210, while they zip by on competitors. It can be frustrating and make the player feel slow when you're actually using it. Still, we'd say the DMP-BDT210's quick load times make up for occasionally navigation sluggishness.

If you're interested in all the details about the Panasonic DMP-BDT210's speed compared with other 2011 players, check out our full 2011 Blu-ray player comparison chart and scroll down to the load times section.

Image quality
We put the Panasonic DMP-BDT210 through our full battery of image quality tests, but before we get to the results, let's be perfectly clear: we don't think most buyers should worry about image quality when deciding which Blu-ray player to buy. The differences, especially on the Blu-ray side, range from minute to nonexistent, and even DVD performance is very close between players. The only exception is for people with home theater projectors, where you may actually see a difference on a 100-plus-inch screen. In that case, it may be worth shelling out for a reference-level Blu-ray player like the Oppo BDP-93.

If you're into the nitty-gritty image quality details, again, check out our full 2011 Blu-ray player comparison chart and scroll down to the performance section. For more information on our testing procedure, consult our guide to how we test Blu-ray players.

Blu-ray image quality: Test patterns and program material
Film resolution Pass "Ghost Rider" Pass
Video resolution Pass "Mission: Impossible III" Pass
Text overlay on film Fail "Sunshine" Pass
Cadence tests 1/8 "Tony Bennett: An American Classic" Pass
Chroma zone plate Pass "NIN Live: Beside You In Time" Pass

If we were purely judging based on test patterns, the DMP-BDT210 would appear to be the worst performing Blu-ray player we've seen this year. It fails a surprisingly number of tests, including seven cadence tests and the 2:2 film resolution test. However, we wouldn't read too much into these failures. The main takeaway is that the DMP-BDT210 passed all our program material tests and we didn't see any difference in its image quality compared with other players outside of synthetic tests.

Streaming-video image quality
Netflix Pass

Though the image quality of Netflix streaming video varied a little bit last year between players, we haven't observed any differences so far this year. The DMP-BDT210 provides the same Netflix image quality as other players, but remember that streaming image quality varies a lot on a title-by-title basis, and also depends heavily on the quality of your broadband connection and home network.

DVD image quality: Test patterns and program material
Film resolution Pass "Seabiscuit" Pass
Video resolution Fail "Star Trek: Insurrection" Pass
Text overlay on film Pass "Invite Them Up" Pass
Cadence tests 2/8

Again, the DMP-BDT210 did not fare well with test patterns, but it passed all our actual program material tests. We wouldn't put much stock into this when choosing a player, although if you happen to watch a lot of rare DVD material, it could be a tie-breaking factor against the Panasonic.

Conclusion
The Panasonic DMP-BDT210's built-in Wi-Fi, simple user interface, Amazon Instant streaming, and blazing fast disc-loading speeds make it our favorite Blu-ray player of 2011 so far.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Panasonic DMP-BDT210

Part Number: DMP-BDT210 Released: Mar 15, 2011
MSRP: $199.99 Low Price: $179.00 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Mar 15, 2011
  • Network Connection Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Internet Streaming Services VieraCast
    Netflix
    Amazon VOD
    YouTube
    Pandora
    Twitter
    CinemaNow
  • Additional Features Skype capable with separate USB TV camera (sold separately)
    Touch-free sensor to open and close the disc tray
    2D-to-3D conversion video processing
    iPhone/Android phone app
  • Media Type BD-R DL
  • Type Blu-ray disc player
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Built-in Audio Decoders DTS-HD High Resolution
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