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Panasonic DMP-BD10: Blu-ray delight

Crave was blown away by the picture and sound quality of Panasonic's first Blu-ray player. But will consumers be willing to fork out the movie-star price?

Panasonic chose the Abbey Road Studios -- the spiritual home of The Beatles -- as the venue for the press launch of its first Blu-ray DVD player. Crave followed in the footsteps of the Fab Four across the famous zebra crossing and into the Abbey Road Studios, where we were greeted by several Japanese execs who proudly unveiled the DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player.

Panasonic showed us several film and music clips and we were incredibly impressed by the level of detail in the images and the sound quality. The DMP-BD10 uses P4HD picture-processing technology, which Panasonic claims enables the device to take full advantage of Blu-ray's high-capacity format by sampling more than 15 billion pixels per second.

The sound performance of the device was also impressive, due to the DMP-BD10's integrated Dolby Digital Plus 7.1-channel surround sound. This is supported by 192kHz/24-bit audio processing for each of its eight channels.

To improve ease of use the DMP-BD10 has an HDAVI control, which lets you control your screen and surround-sound receiver at the touch of a button. However, this will only work if you have a compatible screen and receiver, such as the recently introduced SA-XR700.

The main downside of the DMP-BD10 is the price. When it's launched in October, it is expected to cost around £1,000 -- around twice the price of rival HD DVD players. Movie aficionados might think this is a reasonable price to pay for exceptional picture and sound quality, but the average consumer is likely to gulp at the price. -RA