CNET First Look
Panasonic DMP-B15The Panasonic DMP-B15 is the world's first portable Blu-ray player and can function as a standalone player, but ultimately it has too many caveats and costs too much.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> Hi, I'm Matthew Mascoviak, senior associated editor at CNET.com. And we're here with the Panasonic DMP D15K. This is the world's first portable blue ray player. And although you may be wondering why we didn't even bother with blue ray on such a small screen, it is one of the only ways to watch your new blue ray collection and to take those movies on the go. Now the first thing we noticed when we pulled this out of the box is it is a lot bulkier than we thought it would be. It's pretty thick, mostly due to the fact that it has a built in stand. The reason the stand is built in is because of its unusual design, which is different than your normal, portable DVD player, which just has an open and close clamshell design. When you first open the Panasonic, the screen is actually upside down. You have to flip it around and then put it down. And it kind of looks a little bit like a digital photo frame sitting on its stand. Of course, we'd actually prefer if it was a standard clamshell design because the added bulk of the unit makes it a little annoying if you're just going to stash it in your carryon bag. If you look around back, you'll see there's the removable battery, which Panasonic says, lasts for three hours. We got about 2 1/2 hours of playback on it, which for some longer movies it actually isn't enough and as the battery ages, it may even be hard to get past a regular two-hour movie. Now Panasonic is able to mitigate the issue a little bit. There is a car adapter, so you can just plug it into the cigarette lighter adapter in your car. And there's also an included AC adapter and on a lot of flights now, there are outlets that you can plug in the unit. If you look on the side, there's an HDMI output. If you connect this player to a standard HDTV, you'll actually be able to get full 1080p high resolution. So you can actually use it as a standalone player in addition to its portable functionality. Now when this player was first announced, a lot of people were wondering can you actually see the difference between blue ray and DVD on such a small screen. And surprisingly, we found the answer was yes. If you're close enough, about 1 foot away from the screen, we could definitely see a distinct difference with the blue ray looking much better than DVD. Now, one foot away from the screen may sound a little crazy, but if you're sitting on a plane and the unit's just sitting on your tray, that's actually a pretty standard use case scenario. Our biggest problem with Panasonic's portable unit is the price. With an 800-dollar list price, there are plenty of entry-level blue ray equipped laptops that you can actually buy some times the same price or even just a little bit more. And those laptops often have a bigger screen and of course, you can do a lot more than just watch blue ray movies on them. So as much as we're on board with Panasonic's idea of taking your blue ray disks on the go and also using the player as a standalone player maybe in the second room, all together for the price, we just didn't feel that it offered enough to justify it. I'm Matthew Mascoviak and this is the Panasonic DMP 15K. ^M00:02:53 [ Music ]