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Panasonic's $500 DMP-BD30 (price as of 4/24/2008) was one of the first Blu-ray Disc players to support BonusView, the Blu-ray specification for watching picture-in-picture content.
Unfortunately, the DMP-BD30 displayed washed-out images on our 50-inch Pioneer plasma television. One of our jurors noted a tendency to "lose detail" in chapter 3 of the Blu-ray Disc version of Phantom of the Opera; another juror noted that John Wayne's shirt and suspenders lost their three-dimensionality in a day-for-night scene from The Searchers (chapter 20).
The DMP-BD30 received the lowest overall rating
That said, the DMP-BD30 doesn't look or sound bad when viewed in a vacuum. In fact, our jurors tended to rate it Good in one test after another, with the occasional Very Good and Fair ratings. But other players garnered higher marks; you don't buy a Blu-ray player for an image that merely looks good.
A big plus about the DMP-BD30 is its speedy response times. The Panasonic powered on in a respectable (by Blu-ray standards) 23 seconds, and started playing a disc an additional 26 seconds later. While playing a disc, I noticed a very slight lag in the menus and when skipping chapters.
Another point in the DMP-BD30's favor: I didn't have any trouble using the player,
One nice design touch: A panel on the front hides the basic controls, giving the DMP-BD30 a sleek look. It also hides an SD Card slot--a rarity on Blu-ray Disc players. You can play music files, JPEGs, and AVCHD high-def camcorder video off of an SD Card in this slot.
Sadly, extras like these don't make up for this model's relatively lackluster image and sound quality.
This story, "Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-ray Disc Player" was originally published by PCWorld.
BonusView Blu-ray player responds speedily, but that doesn't make up for disappointing image and sound.
- Fast response time
- SD Card slot for AVCHD playback
- Image and audio quality mediocre