First Look: Panasonic DMP-BDT210
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First Look: Panasonic DMP-BDT210

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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.

-Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak at CNET.com and we're gonna take a look at the Panasonic DMP-BDT210 Blu-Ray player which is currently selling for about $170. The player looks pretty typical with the glossy, black front panel and only a couple of buttons on the top. When you hit eject, the entire front panel flips down and you'll see there are some front panel buttons, an SD card slot, and a USB port. The player does have one design flourish which is the touch-free disc center. Just wave your hand over the top of the player and the disc tray opens. It's a little bit of a gimmick, but we could occasionally see it being useful in a dark home theater where it may be tough to find the actual open-close button. The included remote is excellent overall and we really like that there are dedicated buttons for both Netflix and Viera Cast. You can also control the player using an iPhone app, although there is no keyboard in the app which would be useful for searching titles on Netflix. The DMP-BDT210 has a solid set of features including built-in WiFi, 3D Blu-Ray support, and Panasonic's Viera Cast suite of streaming media services which includes Netflix, Amazon Instant, VUDU, Pandora, CinemaNow, and Skype. Now, the DMP-BDT210 doesn't have quite as many streaming services as competitors but we really like the services it does include and the simple user interface makes it easy for even non-techies to use. The outputs are around the back of the player including the HDMI output and the optical audio output. You'll notice that there's no component video output which is something that's becoming more common on Blu-Ray players these days. We also put the DMP-BDT210 through a full series of image quality tests and it performed very well on all our program material tests. However, these days, nearly every player has virtually identical image quality especially on Blu-Ray movies, so that shouldn't be a big factor when you're making a buying decision. One of the real highlights of this player is its disc loading speed. It's the fastest player to load movies that we've tested this year by a sizeable margin. If you've been frustrated by slow-loading Blu-Ray players in the past, you're gonna be pleasantly surprised to see the Panasonic load movies in as little as 7 seconds. Overall, the Panasonic DMP-BDT210 is a really impressive Blu-Ray player with its best in class disc-loading speeds, a simple user interface, and a solid collection of streaming media services. When you add it all up, we think it's the best Blu-Ray player value we've seen in 2011 which is why we're giving it our editor's choice award. I'm Matthew Moskovciak and this is the Panasonic DMP-BDT210.

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