CNET First Look
Panasonic BDT230: Do you want ads with that?The Panasonic DMP-BDT230 is a mostly solid Blu-ray player, except it serves up obnoxious ads via its onscreen interface.
Hi, this is Ty Pendlebury with a review of the Panasonic BDT-230PK Blu-ray player. As televisions get progressively smarter and more streaming services are loaded on to inexpensive devices, like the Roku, or consoles like the PS3. People aren't looking to Blu-ray players as much as they have in the past. However, a Blu-ray player like the Panasonic is both able to offer the same apps as Roku, like Netflix and Hulu Plus, while also being much less power-hungry than a games console. This is a very competent player, with excellent picture quality and fairly responsive operation. But it has two major flaws. Firstly, it subjects you to advertising and secondly, the menu system isn't very intuitive. On most menu pages you will see ads, and the worst thing is you can't currently turn them off. If you're paying full price for a Blu-ray player and its competitors are offers similar performance and no ads, why would you choose Panasonic? But I digress, the design of this player is changed from last year. But it is an exact replica of the Sony player, with a trapezoidal shape and piano black accents. The remote control is fairly simple to use and it does include a Netflix button. But I wish it had a shortcut to the Smart TV via air-connect service, because without that you have to deal with the vagaries of the menu system. Want to play Pandora? You can't simply go down to "Music"; instead you have to go up to "Network", then right to "Network Services", and then find Pandora from the menu system, it's complicated. Performance wise though, it's very good, with excellent playback of both Blu-ray and DVD movies and a great selection of apps. But, if you have about $120, I'd suggest going for the Sony BDP-S5100 instead, which has nothing else doesn't currently subject you to unwanted advertising. This has been Ty Pendlebury for CNET.com