Panasonic DVD-RP56 review: Panasonic DVD-RP56

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good One of the least expensive progressive-scan players; good video performance; MP3 and CD-R/RW playback.

The Bad Cluttered front panel; lackluster remote; no aspect ratio control; no coaxial output.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for a bargain player with a nice set of features and you don't care about appearances, the RP56 is perfect. Otherwise, spend a little extra on something more satisfying.

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The DVD-RP56, Panasonic's entry-level DVD player with progressive-scan capability, is a good performer but not the most attractive piece of gear available. With a slim face cluttered by buttons and logos, it delivers impressive progressive-scan images and includes a healthy set of features. Nonetheless, owners of progressive-capable TVs may want a classier-looking DVD player that's more in line with their TVs' expensive looks. The DVD-RP56, Panasonic's entry-level DVD player with progressive-scan capability, is a good performer but not the most attractive piece of gear available. With a slim face cluttered by buttons and logos, it delivers impressive progressive-scan images and includes a healthy set of features. Nonetheless, owners of progressive-capable TVs may want a classier-looking DVD player that's more in line with their TVs' expensive looks.

Face full of features
In addition to a display and a disc drawer, this player's black, gold, and white face has no fewer than 30 words, 14 buttons, four logos, and one big dial. The dial, a shuttle control for forward and reverse searches, would be much more useful on the remote, which is on the small side and feels a little cheap, with no glowing or backlit keys.

Although the RP56 is currently one of the least expensive progressive-scan players on the market (with a $299 list price), its feature set is much more than skin and bones. It supports CD-R/RWs and MP3 CDs, but it can't play MP3 tracks at random or display ID3 tags onscreen. A One Touch Cinema Memory feature provides a single memory slot for the player's four principal user-adjustable modes: Virtual Surround, Bass Plus, Dialogue Enhancer, and Cinema.

Bass Plus is the most useful audio mode of the bunch, enabling you to directly connect a separate, powered subwoofer in case you don't have a multichannel amp. The back panel includes the standard composite video, S-Video, and component-video jacks (Y, Pr, Pb), as well as an optical output for digital audio, though there's no coaxial output.

Ugliness is only skin deep
Progressive-scan technology takes standard interlaced video, where the scan lines that make up a TV image are presented alternately, and turns it into progressive video so that the lines are all presented sequentially. This creates a much more stable, flicker-free image. The catch is that you need an expensive progressive-scan digital TV or HDTV to display the images. Unless you have such a set or plan on buying one, the RP56 isn't for you.

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Where to Buy

Panasonic DVD-RP56

Part Number: DVD-RP56
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Media Type Video CD
  • Type DVD player
  • Sound Output Mode stereo