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Panasonic DMP-BDT220 review

 Review: February 2013  
 

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: The best reasonably-priced Blu-Ray player we've tested. Outstanding picture quality, Smart TV, and built-in Wi-Fi mark this out as a winner.



 

First impressions

If you're looking to spend more than the minimum on a Blu-Ray player and you're seeking superior picture quality, the widest range of connectivity options, and a few bonus features, then stop right here. Read on. The Panasonic DMP-BDT220 could be the player you're looking for.

The player may not stand out from the crowd when it comes to looks, being a black, glossy, rectangular box, but pay no heed to that. It's designed to slot nicely below your Panasonic (or other brand) flatscreen TV and not draw too much attention to itself. After all, you want to watch the movie, not the box.

It's not without charm though, and perhaps the coolest feature is the touch-free sensor on the top panel that opens and closes the disk tray when you pass your hand over it. Yes!

Playback

When it comes down to it, most Blu-Ray players fulfil their core function of playing disks without any problems. They aren't like TVs, which vary considerably when it comes to picture quality. Most Blu-Ray players just do the job and are hard to differentiate in this respect. Having said that, the Panasonic does raise its game above the average.

Panasonic's Adaptive Chroma Processing works to faithfully produce colour data. The x.v.Color and Deep Color features support a wider color gamut, enabling more faithful renditions of scenes with high dynamic range. The combined effect of these features is to make the picture quality more vivid and lifelike.

You may or may not always notice the difference, but you can smugly reassure yourself that you've got the best quality playback you can find at this price. Audio quality is excellent too, with support for 5.1 high definition audio and the lossless audio codec FLAC. Output is via HDMI or digital optical audio.

The player can play Blu-Ray disks, including full HD 3D disks and BD-R/-R DL and BD-RE/-RE DL. There's support for DivX HD, amongst other formats.

It can also play DVDs, including DVD+RW/+R/+R DL and DVD-RW/-R/-R DL. The player will upscale DVDs to full 1080p HD resolution.

Both DVD and 2D Blu-Ray disks can be converted into 3D. You can even watch your own home movies in 3D, as camcorder movies stored on a memory card can also be converted into high definition 3D. The amount of depth in the converter can be modified for maximum realism.

The player will also play CDs, including CD-R and CD-RW.

VIERA Connect

Panasonic's comprehensive Smart TV offering is called VIERA Connect and includes BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Dailymotion, Picasa, Skype, Facebook and Twitter. For this, you'll need to connect the box to the internet using an ethernet cable, or via the built-in Wi-Fi.

Connectivity

The player is very well connected, and can easily be integrated into your home network either by ethernet cable or making use of the built-in Wi-Fi. Being DLNA-certified, it's easy to connect devices like PCs, tablets and smartphones to the player so that you can stream movies, music and photos from connected devices to your TV. You can also connect devices via the front USB port, or place memory cards into the memory card slot.

A second USB port on the back enables a camera to be connected for use with Skype. You'll also find a composite AV connection and stereo output for use with older TVs, and a digital audio output in addition to the main HDMI connection.

Panasonic's free remote control apps will turn your iPhone or compatible Android smartphone or tablet into a powerful remote control.

Conclusion - the best affordable player

Can you get better than the Panasonic BDT220? Yes you can, but it will cost you. If you're looking at spending a reasonable amount of cash, then we don't think you'll find better than this. It's a step up from the entry-level models, incorporating Panasonic's excellent VIERA Connect Smart TV, full HD 3D playback and outstanding connectivity, including built-in Wi-Fi. It also produces the best picture quality we've seen at this kind of price, and excellent audio too. If you want to spend more for audiophile sound quality, you could consider the Panasonic BDT500, but it's significantly more expensive.


Panasonic DMP-BDT220 features include:

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Panasonic DMP-BDT220 user reviews

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Reviewed by Marc from USA on 19th Feb 2013
I have owned many bluray players, but have been really disappointed with the slow loading features on all and picture and audio quality of others. After my 2 latest, the Pioneer Elite BDP41FD with a great picture and audio, but slow loading, and the Sony BDP370 that produced had a defect wih an all green screen with HDMI, I read several reviews of this player and decided to try the DMP-BDT220. Wow! what a difference. I was able to get both a fast loading speed along with great picture and audio. I am a non-technical audiophile with a limited budget. Other Equipment is Pioneer Elite Receiver, VSX40 (always HK until now), and Paradigm Reference Mellenia 200's series, Sony KDL-46HX750
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