Unless it's beaten to the punch, Panasonic's DMP-B15 looks set to be the first portable Blu-ray player available when it goes on sale this May. But it already faces some stiff competition: Its 8.9-inch WSVGA (1024 by 600 pixel) LCD screen is about the same as a good, inexpensive Netbook. But if you're not one to rip or download movies for the road, the DMP-B15 could still be worth a closer look.
It packs a three hour rechargeable battery (better hit play fast if you're a Lord of the Rings fan), plus support for BD Live (Internet-connected activities) and BonusView (picture-in-picture content on supported titles). An HDMI port allows the B15 to connect to your home theater setup as a stand-alone player, and an SD card reader makes it easy to view stored photos or HD video. Finally, an ethernet connection enables VieraCast functionality (limited access to the Internet): Amazon Video On-Demand, YouTube, Google Picasa Web photo albums, Bloomberg news, and a weather channel. No word yet on pricing.
Panasonic also used its press conference to announce another first--a Blu-ray/VHS dual player (the DMP-BD70V, pictured)--along with two new dedicated Blu-ray players: the DMP-BD60 and DMP-BD80. Here again, VieraCast support is the order of the day.
For complete coverage of the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, see our CES Topic Center.
This story, "Panasonic Unveils First Portable Blu-ray Player" was originally published by PCWorld.