The Good The Panasonic DMP-BDT220 has built-in Wi-Fi, 3D compatibility, and the Viera Connect suite of streaming-media services, which includes Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant, Pandora, and Vudu. The user interface for the streaming-media apps is straightforward, plus you can jump right to Netflix with the dedicated Netflix button on the remote. There are a few other minor perks, including Skype compatibility, a front-panel SD card slot, and a superfast quick-start mode.
The Bad Viera Connect doesn't support any subscription music services (like MOG, Rdio, or Spotify) nor does it have Flixster for UltraViolet support. The DMP-BDT220 also doesn't play back DivX or Xvid files.
The Bottom Line The Panasonic DMP-BDT220 is the best Blu-ray value of 2012, with built-in Wi-Fi, tons of streaming-media apps, 3D compatibility, and a simple user interface.
If I had to recommend just one Blu-ray player for 2012, it would be Panasonic's DMP-BDT220 (about $130 street price). It's in the sweet spot of Panasonic's Blu-ray lineup, with built-in Wi-Fi and an excellent set of streaming-media services, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant, Vudu, MLB.TV, and Pandora. And while competing players from Samsung and Sony offer just as many streaming apps, they're hamstrung by awkward user interfaces. The DMP-BDT220 also has a few other perks, like 3D compatibility, 2D-to-3D conversion, and Skype, although the front-panel SD card slot is probably the most useful.
Granted, the DMP-BDT220 isn't that much better than its competitors, but it also doesn't have any major flaws. (Its inability to play back DivX and Xvid files may be its biggest drawback.) The Panasonic does cost a little more than some decent budget alternatives, like the Samsung BD-E5700, but the difference is only about $15. Altogether, the Panasonic DMP-BDT220 is the best current value, earning CNET's Editors' Choice Award for the Blu-ray player category.
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