Ever since the DMP-BD60 was launched at CES 2009, we’ve been bugging Panasonic for a review sample. After four months it’s finally arrived – so how does its newest Blu-ray player stack up?
Big boots to fill
The ‘BD60 has a lot to live up to as its predecessor, the ‘BD35, was a top-notch Blu-ray spinner.
From the outside, there don’t appear to be many drastic design changes. There’s been a subtle tweak to the styling of the loading drawer, but the overall size and shape remain pretty much identical. There’s still a drop down flap on the front of the ‘BD60, hiding a USB input and SD memory card slot.
The rear of the machine shows a familiar set of inputs and outputs, including HDMI, optical and coaxial connections. This new player can output natively, or decode high-quality high-definition audio formats over HDMI.
Et voila, Viera Cast
The player’s Ethernet socket is useful for software updates and BD-Live content, but more importantly it enables you to access the Panasonic’s fancy Viera Cast feature. Viera Cast is Panasonic’s new information service that allows to access online media content from selected sites such as You Tube.
Hit the corresponding button on the chunky remote and, provided the player is hooked up to the Net, you’ll connect straight to the service. Select a content provider and you can navigate menus using the player’s remote control.
For example, with YouTube, you can search for and stream videos of your choice. Video clips aren’t of the highest quality, especially if you’re viewing on a monstrous flatscreen TV, but they’re fine for short bursts.
Excellent edge definition
Panasonic hasn’t gone crazy and messed too much with the internal workings of the player. The ‘BD60 still uses the company’s PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus to drive the picture processing, and to great effect.
Edge definition is excellent as is the player’s grasp of movement. Action is handled in a calm and controlled manner, while the three-dimensionality of the image really stands out.
On the slow side
As far as budget Blu-ray players go, sound quality is decent enough. Explosions are dealt with solidly and the player shows decent dynamic clout, but there’s still a hint of brightness.
We’re a little disappointed that the loading speed of this player hasn’t improved on its predecessor either. The ‘BD60 is still slower to load than rivals such as the Sony BDP-S350.
Despite these minor quibbles, the fact remains that the DMP-BD60 is cheaper than last year’s equivalent model, and still boasts class-leading picture quality. This allows the DMP-BD60 to cement its lofty position at the budget end of the market.