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Panasonic DMP-BD85K review: Panasonic DMP-BD85K

The rest of the DMP-BD85K's connectivity is a slight upgrade over its competitors, although it can be a little misleading. It includes an SD card slot, which is nice, but as we mentioned before, it's the only way to activate BD-Live storage. Similarly, we like that there are two USB inputs, but it's really more like one since the back panel USB port will most likely be occupied by the USB Wi-Fi dongle.

Blu-ray image quality
Overall, we were impressed with the DMP-BD85K's Blu-ray image quality, as it passed all of the most important test patterns and program material tests. As usual, the most dedicated videophiles will still prefer the very slightly better-performing Oppo BDP-83, but the vast majority of high-definition movie fans will be perfectly satisfied with the DMP-BD85K's Blu-ray image quality. We'd also give the DMP-BD85K a slight nod over the Sony BDP-S570, which has some minor issues with less-common, video-based Blu-ray movies.

All our testing was conducted via HDMI at 1080p/60, with the Samsung PN58B650 display and the Oppo BDP-83 and the LG BD570 for comparison. If your display supports and correctly handles 24-frames-per-second output (also known as 1080p/24), you can largely ignore these tests, as we find all players to have virtually identical 1080p/24 performance. For more information on our testing procedure, consult our full guide to how we test Blu-ray players. Home theater enthusiasts can also see detailed testing results in our 2010 Blu-ray player comparison chart.

Blu-ray image quality: Test patterns
Film resolution Pass Dynamic range high Pass
Video resolution Pass Dynamic range low Pass
Text overlay on film Pass Luma multiburst Pass
Cadence tests 1/8 Chroma multiburst Pass
Chroma bug test Pass

The Panasonic DMP-BD85K's performance on test patterns was impressive, passing all of the most important. It even did a little bit better than the LG BD570 on some of the text overlay test patterns, where the BD570 showed some "shredding" in the background. No, it didn't perform as well as our reference Oppo BDP-83 on some of the cadence tests, but we rarely see that difference show up in actual program material.

Blu-ray image quality: Program material
"Ghost Rider" Pass "Tony Bennett" Pass
"M:I:III" Pass "NIN Live"; chapter 3 Pass
"Sunshine" Pass "NIN Live"; chapter 4 Pass

The DMP-BD85K also performed well with real program material, passing all of our tests. That gives it a slight advantage over the competing Sony BDP-S570, although you'll notice the difference only on video-based Blu-ray-formatted titles. We'd still give the overall nod to the Oppo BDP-83, because of how well it handles all types of synthetic test patterns, but on nearly every Blu-ray movie, you're going to get identical performance from the DMP-BD85K, the LG BD570, and the Oppo BDP-83.

Blu-ray operational speed (in seconds)
"M:I:III" | player on 16.51 "POTC" | until movie 87.19
"M:I:III" | player off | quickstart 7.71 "Spider-Man 3" | until movie 68.06
"M:I:III" | player off | no quickstart 24.52 "Sunshine" | chapter skip 32.52
"POTC" | past loading 36.38 CNET speed rating (composite score) 76

CNET speed rating (composite score)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
PS3 Slim
Panasonic DMP-BD85K
LG BD570
Oppo BDP-83

All throughout our testing, the DMP-BD85K seemed sluggish, so it wasn't a surprise when we ran our speed tests and it ended up behind most competing players. It particularly struggled with discs with more complex menus, such as "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Mission: Impossible III." There was one exception: the DMP-BD85K's quick start mode was by far the fastest we've tested, beating the next best Sony BDP-S570 by a factor of two.

Outside of our formal tests, we noticed the DMP-BD85K was particularly sluggish with the menus on "Walk Hard," which seemed to be moving in slow motion. Operational speed was noticeably faster on the BD570 and the Oppo BDP-83 with the same movie. Even the Vizio VBR200W felt snappier navigating movies, despite its lower overall speed score. It's not surprising, considering how much slower the DMP-BD85K performs on our chapter skip test compared with any other player. The DMP-BD85K's CNET speed rating is helped a lot by its exceptionally fast quick start mode, but once it's up and running it feels even slower than its 76 rating suggests.

DVD performance

DVD image quality: Test patterns and program material
Film resolution Pass "Seabiscuit" Pass
Video resolution Fail "Star Trek: Insurrection" Pass
Text overlay on film Fail "Invite Them Up" Pass
Cadence tests 1/8

The DMP-BD85K's DVD performance was very good, passing all of our program material tests and the important 2:3 pull-down test patterns. It did fail the majority of the cadence tests and one of the video resolution tests, but those issues should show up only on relatively uncommon program material. We did notice some slight jaggies on "Seabiscuit," but they were relatively minor. Overall, we felt it was one of the better Blu-ray players at DVD upconversion that we've tested. As always, the Oppo BDP-83 looked significantly better at upscaling DVDs, but for most people the DMP-BD85K does a great job with standard-def discs.

Streaming video image quality
Netflix Good

We saw no major issues with Netflix streaming on the DMP-BD85K. That's one advantage it has over the Sony BDP-S570, which suffers from some streaming image quality issues.

Power consumption
Standby | quick start off 0.16 watts Standby | quick start on 8.10 watts
Power on | watching movie 14.78 watts Power on | idling 10.91 watts
Annual power consumption cost; quick start off $1.05 Annual cost; quick start on $8.69

Like nearly all Blu-ray players, the DMP-BD85K doesn't use much power in standby when its quick start mode is disabled. However, with quick start on, the DMP-BD85K's standby power consumption shoots up to 8.10 watts--which doesn't sound like a lot until you consider that standby consumption occurs at all times when the player is turned "off." Overall, enabling quick start will cost you a little more than $7 a year, which is enough to consider just waiting a few extra seconds for the player to boot up without quick start.

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