Panasonic DMP-BD60 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

Panasonic DMP-BD60 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

Panasonic has announced two new Profile 2.0 Blu-ray players: the DMP-BD80 and DMP-BD60. The BD60 may be the lower-priced of the two, but it still offers Panasonic's VIERA Cast Web service, which includes Amazon video-on-demand, YouTube, and Picasa.

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Panasonic's 2009 Blu-ray line includes two standalone players: the entry-level DMP-BD60 and step-up DMP-BD80. (The line also includes a Blu-ray/VHS combination player, the DMP-BD70V.) We have not performed a hands-on review of the DMP-BD60, but here is an overview of the player's features. This Profile 2.0 player supports BonusView/picture-in-picture playback and BD-Live Web functionality, and it offers both onboard decoding and bitstream output of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The big addition to this year's Blu-ray line is Panasonic's Viera Cast Web platform that first appeared in some of the company's plasma HDTVs last year. Viera Cast allows you to stream Amazon video-on-demand content (including HD titles), access YouTube, view Picasa Web albums, and more.

Additional Resources
Read top performing Blu-ray player reviews from Panasonic, Sony, Sony ES, Integra, Onkyo, Oppo Digital, NuForce and many others.

In terms of video connections, the DMP-BD60 offers HDMI, component video, and composite video outputs. For HDMI, the output-resolution options are Auto, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p/60, and 1080p/24. The setup menu includes an option to enable 1080p/24 output if your TV accepts this signal type; once you enable the feature, the player will always output 1080p/24 when it is available on Blu-ray discs. For component video, the output-resolution options are 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i. If your TV's picture adjustments are limited, the DMP-BD60 offers five picture modes, including a user mode in which you can adjust contrast, brightness, sharpness, color, gamma, and 3D/integrated noise reduction.

Audio outputs include HDMI, optical digital (the step-up DMP-BD80 adds a coaxial digital audio output), and 2-channel analog. This model lacks the 7.1-channel analog audio outputs found in the BD80 and is therefore not an ideal solution if you own an older, non-HDMI A/V receiver. As I mentioned, the DMP-BD60 has onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, and it also passes these high-resolution audio formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode. The player offers a few specialized audio controls, such as Virtual Surround, Night Surround, and Dialogue Enhancer.

The DMP-BD60's disc drive supports BD, DVD, CD audio, AVCHD, MP3, and JPEG playback (the BD80 adds Divx playback). The back panel features an Ethernet port for BD-Live and Viera Cast Web features, as well as quick firmware updates. The DMP-BD60 has no internal memory, so the addition of an external storage device is required to download BD-Live features; an SD card slot is provided for this purpose, but Panasonic does not include an SD card in the package. The SD card slot also supports playback of JPEGs and MPEG-2/AVCHD video. This year's Blu-ray models also have a USB port, but it is not an option for BD-Live storage; rather, it only allows for playback of MP3 and JPEG files. The DMP-BD60 lacks advanced control ports, such as RS-232 or IR.


Read about the high points and the low points of the DMP-BD60 on Page 2.

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High Points
- The DMP-BD60 supports 1080p/24 playback of Blu-ray discs.
- The player has internal Dolby TrueHD  and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and can pass these formats in bitstream form over HDMI. 
- It supports BD-Live Web content and can play picture-in-picture bonus content.
- The addition of Viera Cast allows you to stream movies and TV shows (including HD titles) using Amazon's video-on-demand service. You can also access YouTube and Picasa Web albums.
- The SD card slot and USB port allow for easy playback of digital music, movies, and photos.

Low Points
- The DMP-BD60 lacks 7.1-channel analog audio outputs, so it's not the best choice for someone who owns an older, non-HDMI A/V receiver. 
- The player lacks internal memory, and Panasonic does not supply an SD card for storage of downloadable BD-Live content.
- The player does not support wireless connectivity to your home network.

Conclusion
The DMP-BD60 is a well-endowed Profile 2.0 Blu-ray player offered at a competitive price. It has most of the Blu-ray features you need, such as BD-Live Web functionality and onboard high-resolution audio decoding, and adds Panasonic's Viera Cast feature for viewing streamed VOD content.

Additional Resources
• Read top performing Blu-ray player reviews from Panasonic, Sony, Sony ES, Integra, Onkyo, Oppo Digital, NuForce and many others.

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