The DMP-BDT220 occupies a potentially awkward position in Panasonic’s 2012 Blu-ray player range. Is it merely a plain-Jane, utility-spec version of the brilliant DMP-BDT320? Or is it actually a nailed-on bargain that can deliver almost everything the pricier player offers for quite a bit less money?
Panasonic’s three premium Blu-ray players – DMP-BDT320, DMP-BDT500 and DMP-BBT01 – are distinctively styled, each offering a slant upon the established norms in Blu-ray player design. By contrast, the more affordable DMP-BDT220 appears both conventional and a little old-fashioned. Its only design frippery is a fold-down flap covering the entire front panel, concealing both the disc tray and the player’s SD and USB inputs.
Basic but effective specs
The DMP-BDT220 has been built to a price, so it omits the multichannel (7.1ch) analogue outputs fitted to the pricier DMP-BDT500. There’s no coaxial digital output either: only optical is provided, so make sure your AV amp plays ball. Of course, more likely is that you’ll use the Panasonic’s 3D-capable HDMI socket to send both video and sound. Wi-Fi is built-in, plus twin USB sockets to replay media or link up an optional Skype camera.
The DMP-BDT220 does without the flashy touchpanel remote handset sported by its pricier siblings, but that’s a good thing.
Although small and plain, the button-heavy handset you get here is much easier to use than Panasonic’s touchpanel models, and does a perfectly good job of navigating you through the player’s on-screen menus. There’s a free control app available too, and that’s what we’d use the most.
Plenty of streaming options
For such an affordable Blu-ray player – and for a product whose primary job is to play discs – the Panasonic packs in plenty of network flexibility. Its Viera Connect portal includes a number of streaming options, while it’ll accept a broad range of audio and video formats via DLNA, including high-quality file types such as FLAC and MKV. You can play an equally extensive selection of files via USB and SD, too.
Picture and sound quality
The DMP-BDT220’s picture quality is fabulous given its modest price. Whether you’re playing 3D or 2D Blu-rays, colours and contrasts are exceptional, while details and textures are effortlessly uncovered. DVDs are upscaled to 1080p with aplomb, too. Sonically, the player does without the fancy ‘Digital Tube Sound’ option fitted to its pricier siblings, but all the same, the clarity and dynamics exhibited here are perfectly acceptable.
The DMP-BDT220’s picture quality is simply brilliant at the price, and so long as you use its control app it’s every bit as slick to live with as any of Panasonic’s pricier players. True, its more expensive DMP-BDT320 and DMP-BDT500 siblings sound better, but if all you plan to use with your new player is your TV or perhaps a soundbar, that won’t matter a jot. Consider this a bargain, then.