Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Panasonic DMP-BD75 Blu-ray player
A basic Blu-ray player with no superfluous 3D or Web features
- Fast operation
- No Web features
As a simple, offline-only non-3D Blu-ray player, Panasonic's DMP-BD75 does well. Its networked features are limited to DLNA playback -- there's no access to any Web features like ABC iView -- but if all you want is a player to watch Blu-ray movies with (and that's all you need, really), the DMP-BD75 is quick to start up and play movies.
Price$ 149.00 (AUD)
Televisions, home theatre systems and Blu-ray players these days are usually crammed full with the latest whiz-bang technology — if you buy a player from one of the half-dozen ‘big brands’, it’ll likely have the ability to decode 3D video, connect to the Internet, stream video on demand, Skype your friends and family... One way to avoid these not-always-necessary features is to buy a low-end Blu-ray player that still does everything basic — and thus we have the Panasonic DMP-BD75.
Panasonic DMP-BD75: Design and setup
If you’ve ever seen a Blu-ray or DVD player before in your life, you can make a pretty accurate guess as to what the Panasonic DMP-BD75 looks like. Unlike Panasonic’s premium models the BD75 doesn’t have a flip-down front: instead it’s functional with an exposed tray-loading Blu-ray disc drive, a bare front USB 2.0 port, and play/stop/eject buttons. The rear is equally Spartan with ports for power, Ethernet, composite video and audio, and HDMI. There’s no optical digital audio output, so if you have an older home theatre system you’ll only get stereo audio (unless you use a slight work-around to output the digital signal to your TV over HDMI, then back to your home theatre system using optical digital).
The Panasonic DMP-BD75 doesn’t have Wi-Fi, and you’re not able to use the player’s USB port to connect the $99 Panasonic Wi-Fi dongle. Network connection is strictly wired Ethernet only, and you’re only able to use your home network to view files from a DLNA-compatible storage device like a PC or laptop.
There’s hardly any setup involved for the DMP-BD75: all that you’ve got to do is plug it in and turn it on. You can delve into a menu setting to turn on the fast boot-up option which drastically cuts the time required to turn on the BD75 and start playing a Blu-ray movie. With this feature enabled start-up times are very short, but standby power consumption is slightly higher than normal.
Panasonic DMP-BD75: Operation and video playback
You can use the USB 2.0 port on the front of the Panasonic DMP-BD75 to play JPEG, MP3, DiVX HD and MKV files — the last being a popular format to store downloaded or compressed high definition movie and TV show files in. If you’ve got a library of AAC music files or WMV movies, we’d suggest a different player.
Panasonic’s new user interface is vaguely reminiscent of Sony’s XMB layout (it’s cross-shaped too), but whatever it’s inspired by it works well and all the features you’ll need are easy to access. The settings menu also lets users change a small variety of picture options — useful for anyone with a cheaper TV that can’t tweak picture settings for each video input.
Video quality is, in the BD75’s default settings, nearly indistinguishable from the vast majority of Blu-ray players we’ve tested. You’ll be able to see all the detail in your Blu-ray movies — your TV screen is much more of a factor in determining video quality. The Panasonic DMP-BD75 supports all the video and audio codecs and frame rates you’d expect, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio, 24p video, and the full swathe of HDMI 1.3 goodies.
Panasonic DMP-BD75: Conclusion
If you don’t need complications like Web video streaming or 3D video playback, the Panasonic DMP-BD75 is perfectly capable and doesn’t offer up any unwanted surprises. If you shell out slightly more you’re able to get a more fully-featured Web-friendly player, though.
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