So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Panasonic DMP-BDT110 3D Blu-ray player
Panasonic’s mid-range, 3D-ready Blu-ray player works well for both 2D and 3D video
- Great interface
- Good 3D and 2D-to-3D
- No inbuilt Wi-Fi
- Mediocre online content
Panasonic's DMP-BDT110 is the middle-of-the-pack Blu-ray player in the company's 2011 line-up, and it shaped up to be a generally impressive performer. It doesn't have certain bells and whistles (like built-in Wi-Fi, for example) that are restricted to the top DMP-BDT310 model, but for watching 2D and 3D content, playing compressed video and accessing Panasonic's limited range of online content, it's perfectly capable.
Price$ 219.00 (AUD)
Panasonic’s 2011 update of its Blu-ray players meant three new models were released, including the basic DMP-BDT75 and the top-spec DMP-BDT310. The DMP-BDT110 we tested sits comfortably in the middle of these two, with the premium player’s 3D playback and 2D-to-3D conversion but without its built-in Wi-Fi. You can also use your iPhone or iPod touch over Wi-Fi to control the player, useful if you can’t find the remote.
Panasonic DMP-BDT110 Blu-ray player: Design and setup
The Panasonic DMP-BDT110 is similar in design to last year’s Blu-ray players and recorders, with a flip-down plastic front that exposes the tray-loading Blu-ray drive, SD card slot and front USB port. If you don’t have anything plugged into these last two ports, the fascia remains closed and makes the player’s front look clean and stylish. Two buttons — power on/off and the Blu-ray tray eject #&8212; are on either end of the top front bezel of the DMP-BDT110.
The rear of the DMP-BDT110 offers a small but respectable range of connection options. You’ve got two choices for video: HDMI (a v1.4 connector supporting 3D) and composite (far inferior, since it can only transmit DVD-quality video) with an accompanying two-channel analog audio output. If they’re not using the inbuilt audio capacity of HDMI we’d expect most users to use the inbuilt digital audio output to connect their home theatre systems. The rear panel also has a second USB port, for connecting a Skype camera or the optional Panasonic wireless LAN adapter, and Ethernet for hooking the player into your wired home network.
Panasonic DMP-BDT110 Blu-ray player: Features
Panasonic has elected to leave integrated Wi-Fi out of the DMP-BDT110, and the optional Wi-Fi adapter is a $99 extra. We don’t recommend that anyone buys the DMP-BDT110 and Wi-Fi dongle, since this will drive the price up to $318, within shouting distance of the premium $349 Panasonic DMP-BDT310. If you can get it for free or at a much reduced price, the Wi-Fi adapter becomes more attractive.
If you have a Wi-Fi adapter or if you plug the Panasonic DMP-BDT110 into your wired home network, you’ll get access to Panasonic’s VIERA Cast online content library. The range of content offered is small — most appealing is integrated YouTube and Picasa, as well as Skype for video-calling (with $199 Skype camera).
If you’ve got that Wi-Fi network set up, another nifty feature is the option to control the DMP-BDT110 through your iPhone or iPod touch with Panasonic’s iPhone Remote Control app. We didn’t give this a go, but we’re told it has all the basic functions of the bundled remote control — an easy way to start up a movie while you’re still rummaging for the remote.
Panasonic DMP-BDT110 Blu-ray player: 2D and 3D performance
We tested the Panasonic DMP-BDT110 on a VIERA VT30 plasma TV, as well as last year’s VT20, and gave its 3D playback and 2D-to-3D conversion a run with The Dark Knight, Saw 3D and Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.
We didn’t notice any 3D flaws that weren’t evident on any other 3D Blu-ray player we’ve tested. Similarly, the Panasonic’s 2D-to-3D is as good as any other faux-3D system that we’ve had a chance to look at — that’s not to say it’s great, but it does a reasonable job of creating a 3D effect from an otherwise flat 2D picture, although there are times that it stumbles and the 3D effect looks markedly unrealistic.
2D picture quality is excellent — the player is perfectly capable of displaying the full amount of detail available in each frame of a Full HD 1080p Blu-ray movie. We had good results with our 1080p and 720p compressed video files (in the MKV and DiVX HD formats), but YouTube watched through the Panasonic DMP-BDT110 looks OK rather than good — we wonder how difficult it would be to include a HD option for anyone with a fast Internet connection.
Panasonic DMP-BDT110 Blu-ray player: Conclusion
We don’t see any reason not to recommend the Panasonic DMP-BDT110. It’s got most of the features of the more expensive DMP-BDT310, and the ones it’s lacking are ones we don’t think many consumers would use often (twin HDMI ports, for example). Only its lack of Wi-Fi annoys us, with the extra $99 shooting the player up into the territory of the premium model. If you don’t need Wi-Fi, the Panasonic DMP-BDT110 would be a good accompaniment to any Panasonic plasma or LED TV.
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