Among the first-generation Blu-ray players, Panasonic's firmware upgrade in April, Panasonic has now shaved 54 percent off the price. In addition to sporting the upgraded firmware, the newly christened DMP-BD10A will retail for $600 and include five Blu-ray movies--Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Transporter, Fantastic Four, and Crash. Not coincidentally, all five films are Blu-ray exclusives; barring a major sea change in the high-def format war, it's unlikely they'll be seen on HD DVD in the foreseeable future.was remarkable for its higher-than-average price tag ($1,300 versus the $1,000 norm) and the company's promise of a future firmware upgrade that would unleash the full sonic power of Blu-ray audio soundtracks. Having made good on the
While the newly discounted DMP-BD10A will be the exact same price as the Blu-ray-capable PlayStation 3, its audio capabilities may give it a leg up on Sony's console--at least for home theater buffs who appreciate such subtleties. Panasonic is pledging that the DMP-BD10A will deliver onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, a feature that would distinguish it from rival players such as the Samsung BD-P1200, which cannot decode those bleeding-edge better-than-DVD audio soundtracks or even pass them to an external AV receiver. And the Panasonic's 7.1-channel analog outputs would, in theory, be able to deliver those top-notch soundtracks to most run-of-the-mill AV receivers--no fancy HDMI ports required.
We'll be putting the DMP-BD10A to the test as soon as we can get our hands on a sample.