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Panasonic DMP-B100 review: Panasonic DMP-B100

The Panasonic DMP-B100 is the cheapest way to watch your Blu-ray movies on the go, but other portable media options, like an iPad or Blu-ray-equipped laptop, are more attractive.

Jeff Bakalar Editor at Large
Jeff is CNET Editor at Large and a host for CNET video. He's regularly featured on CBS and CBSN. He founded the site's longest-running podcast, The 404 Show, which ran for 10 years. He's currently featured on Giant Bomb's Giant Beastcast podcast and has an unhealthy obsession with ice hockey and pinball.
Jeff Bakalar
5 min read

Last year we looked at a handful of portable DVD players and just one portable Blu-ray player, the Panasonic DMP-B15, which was the first of its kind. Though portable DVD players are a mature product category — offering tons of features and functionality at a reasonable price — portable Blu-ray is just entering its infancy. Perhaps that's why even Panasonic's entry-level model, the DMP-B100 (AU$580 street price), is expensive. If portable movie watching is your goal, a device like an iPad, a laptop or a traditional portable DVD player is a better choice, mainly because the picture quality advantages of Blu-ray generally aren't worth it at this screen size. If you're looking for a way to watch your Blu-ray collection on the go, however, the DMP-B100 is the least-expensive way to do it, although Blu-ray-equipped laptops like the Gateway NV5933u are getting close.


Panasonic DMP-B100

The Good

Lets you watch your Blu-ray collection on the go SDXC card slot More than three hours of battery life Slightly better image quality than portable DVD players.

The Bad

Visual advantages of Blu-ray are largely lost on small screen No HDMI output Other portable video options are more attractive Only one headphone jack No internet connectivity MPEG-4 playback is dicey Difficult remote control.

The Bottom Line

The Panasonic DMP-B100 is the cheapest way to watch your Blu-ray movies on the go, but other portable media options, like an iPad or Blu-ray-equipped laptop, are more attractive.


The B100 has a much more minimalist look than other portable players we've seen, with few buttons or ports cluttering up the design. The device is covered in matte silver plastic, and has plenty of attractive curves and edges. Weighing in at just 1.36 kilos, it's certainly mobile, but heavy enough to necessitate carrying it in a pouch or backpack.

The volume controls are hidden along the right edge of the screen. (Credit: CNET)

Most notable is its 8.9-inch LCD screen that can be partly detached from its foldable stand, giving it the option to be viewed in a number of ways. The screen can lay almost flat on top of the disc tray or be propped up in a more traditional clamshell fashion. Volume controls are laid stealthily along the right edge of the screen; all other playback and menu functionality rest on the disc slot itself or right below it. Along the bottom edge of the screen are the speakers; the lone headphone jack can be found on the right side at the base of the player. Finally, the SDXC card slot is located on the left edge, with a slide-down flap hiding the port.

The buttons on the remote are all the same size and in a difficult-to-use grid layout. (Credit: CNET)

The B100's included remote is lightweight and small enough to bring along, but the sheer number of keys is intimidating. All of the buttons are the same size and they're arranged in a grid format, so there's no chance of navigating by feel. That's less of an issue with a portable player, which will generally be used in a well-lit environment, but more attention to usability would be appreciated at this price.


The B100 can play back Blu-ray, DVD and CD discs, as well as recordable versions of each format. The player can read a number of file types off these discs, including JPEG photos, MP3 audio files and video formats (MPEG-2, 4 and the H.264 codec). It also supports high-capacity SDXC cards that can house any of the previously mentioned file formats. Our testing with various files worked fine with basic MP3, JPEG and MPEG-2 formats, but we didn't have any MPEG-4 AVCHD on hand to try out with the player. Panasonic advertises this as a convenient link between your HD camcorder, so it certainly sweetens the deal if you happen to have one.

The B100 can decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD soundtrack formats to stereo, although we doubt you'll hear any sonic advantages over plain old Dolby Digital and DTS on this player. Unlike other players we've seen, the B100 only provides one headphone jack, which means you'll need an adapter if two people want to listen at once.

As far as features go, that's about it. Unfortunately, there's no HDMI output so you can't use the B100 as a stand-alone player connected to a TV. The B100 lacks any kind of internet connectivity or on-board storage, so streaming-media features or BD-Live content are out of the question. There's also no USB port or support for other popular file formats like DivX, which is nearly standard on portable DVD players. The B100 comes with a car charger and standard AC power adapter, but no means to attach the unit to a headrest.


The B100's 8.9-inch screen boasts a native resolution of 1024x600 pixels, which isn't even 720p, let alone the 1080p resolution that Blu-ray is capable of. That said, though the resolution isn't light years beyond other portable DVD players, the jump in quality is immediately noticeable with Blu-ray discs.

We were impressed with the picture quality of the films we screened such as The Corpse Bride, Super Troopers, Pirates of the Caribbean (POTC) and Mission: Impossible III (M:I:III) and battery performance seemed on target with what Panasonic claims. A full charge netted us about three hours and 10 minutes of playback with the LCD on the standard-brightness setting. Our only complaint with the battery experience is the dimly lit charging and power indicators up front. They are far too dull to see in normal light, and we had to cup our hands over them to properly see.

Blu-ray operational speed (in seconds)

M:I:III — player on 15.50 POTC — until movie 81.08
M:I:III — player off — quick start 16.61 Spider-Man 3 — until movie 65.28
M:I:III — player off — no quick start 35.97 Sunshine — chapter skip 29.37
POTC — past loading 33.38 CNET speed rating (composite score) 76

CNET speed rating

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

The DMP-B100 operational speed is comparable to the slower stand-alone Blu-ray players we've tested this year. However, we will note that the CNET speed rating is calculated taking advantage of the DMP-B100's quick start mode, which doesn't work when it's operating off the battery. If you take away the DMP-B100's quick start advantage, it has a CNET speed rating of 67, which would make it the slowest player we've tested this year. The bottom line is that though the DMP-B100 is on the slow side of players we've tested in 2010, it's not that far off, and we think it has acceptable performance for a portable model.