Panasonic Unveils First Portable Blu-ray Player

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.

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