Panasonic leads Blu-ray’s IFA charge

Without hapless HD-DVD around to pick a fight with, Blu-ray could have just taken it easy in a hammock at this year’s IFA. But it’s not th

Without hapless HD-DVD around to pick a fight with, Blu-ray could have just taken it easy in a hammock at this year’s IFA. But it’s not that kind of hi-def format – not only has Panasonic debuted two new players, Sony, Samsung, JVC and Yamaha have unleashed promising new contenders.

Panny’s DMP-BD30 only arrived in May but already its successor, the BD35, and the more expensive BD55 have arrived to take the baton. Both have clearly been on the treadmill, with their respective heights just 49mm and 55mm.

The players are BD-Live enabled, which lets you access special features on compatible discs and from the web via their Ethernet ports, and can output a 1080p, 24fps signal. We already have the BD35 in our test lab, so look out a full review soon.

Not to be outdone, Sony has announced what it’s calling ‘the world’s most advanced’ Blu-ray player, the BDP-S5000ES. Its frankly lardy body contains fancy tech like the ‘HD Reality Enhancer’ and ‘Super Bit Mapping’, which apparently delivers the best possible picture quality over HDMI.

If you’re not impressed by that lot, maybe Samsung could tempt you with its new flagship BD-P2500. It’s also BD-Live ready and will be priced at the affordable end of the market (the US price is $500). JVC has also impressed with its networked NX-BD3, which can stream content from your computer via DLNA and supports DivX.

And finally, riding in from leftfield, we have Yamaha’s first European offering, the BD-S2900. It can fire out a 1080p, 24fps signal, curiously sports an SD card slot and is decked out in the same livery as Yamaha’s existing receivers. So, which slice of Blu-ray cake would sir like?

Essentials

Panasonic DMP-BD35, BD55, Sony BDP-S5000ES, Samsung BD-P2500, JVC NX-BD3, Yamaha BD-S2900

Price: all £TBA

On sale: October, October, TBA, TBA, September, TBA, TBA

Contact: Panasonic