AndyPargh, The Gadget Guru


 

CNET Picks This As 2012′s Best Blu-Ray Value – And For $135, I Agree!

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Posted April 16, 2012 by Andy Pargh in Electronics

While Blu-Ray never made the splash that was predicted when it was introduced, it’s still the best way to fully playback high definition movies.

I went on the record in June of 2008 with my prediction that Blu-Ray will be an interim format and that future formats will most likely trump this disc-based format in the years to come. Here’s a link to that story: Blu-Ray Wins The Battle, But Will Lose The War.

With that said and with all the streaming movie and on-demand options available today, a Blu-Ray player is still a necessity in any home theater. At $135, Panasonic’s DMP-BDT220 is a safe purchase and a great value because it’s not just a Blu-Ray player, it’s a whole lot more.

This slim marvel is 3D compatible, includes Wi-Fi as well as Netflix, Amazon Instant, Vudu and Hulu Plus for on-demand movie streaming as well as Pandora for music. In terms of 3D, allow me to point out that while home 3D has been a slow starter, it’s a nice feature to have in the case that you buy a new TV that includes this feature.

On a personal note, here’s how I use various services to watch movies at home:

Needless to say, I have a variety of options. Comcast Cable, DirecTV and Blu-Ray. Because I’m of the opinion that Comcast’s cable boxes stink (I’m being nice here), I also have Tivo and DirecTV boxes as well. Since the Tivo uses a cable card tuner it doesn’t work with Comcast’s on demand services, but it does include access to Netflix’s streaming on demand service as well as Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus and a growing list of streaming services. I also have a Netflix subscription and keep the newer Blu-Ray discs updated in the queue.

Basically, when new movies are released I add them to my Netflix Blu-Ray queue as the video and audio quality coming from discs are (at this time) better for home theater than streaming services. While streaming services are getting better, my habits could change in the near future, but that’s fodder for another story.

Here’s the best price I’ve found on this featured packed Blu-Ray player: Panasonic DMP-BDT220 Integrated Wi-Fi 3D Blu-ray DVD Player

For the vast majority of us, that’s all we really need to know. In case you’re interested in a detailing of the features, here’s the info from the Panasonic with all the “factory-speak” marketing terms:

Panasonic’s 2012 Blu-ray Disc players focus on smart home networking, high-quality picture and sound, ease-of-use, eco-efficiency, and sleek design. The BDT-220 is a Full HD 3D Blu-ray Disc player that features expanded VIERA Connect functionality, FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) compatibility, and superior sound image and quality.

VIERA Connect IPTV — More Fun Comes Via a Cloud Service

Panasonic’s IPTV platform VIERA Connect, now under the Smart VIERA umbrella, has been expanded for 2012 Blu-ray products and now utilizes cloud technology to present an unlimited number of entertainment, social networking, gaming, health & fitness, sports & news sites. Learn more about the world of Smart VIERA and VIERA Connect here. 

Enhance your Blu-ray Experience with Popular Apps
Enjoy sites such as Skype, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, You Tube, huluplus, CinemaNow, Vudu, Pandora, Facebook, Twitter, My space, and Flixster. With 2012 models, you have access to a wide variety of Internet content from the comfort of your living room.

Clicker – Video on Demand Cross Searching
Find your favorite movies and video content easily with one-step searching, which allows you to cross search from multiple VOD services. For ease-of-use, use the quick keyword input on VIERA Connect to help retrieve your desired content faster. Customize your screen by grouping commonly used apps and displaying them on the screen for easier use.

Communicate with Family and Friends
The social networking TV app allows you to access social network sites and communicate with your loved ones while simultaneously watching TV. Watch live sports games while upping the excitement by chatting with your friends as the game unfolds. Record an original message and set it as your answering voice message. Callers can record messages onto an SD Card (min. 512MB required), while you are away. *Skype camera not included with TV purchase

Full HD 3D Blu-ray Disc Playback

The advanced 2D technologies of the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory have also been applied to 3D image playback, providing high quality images. 2D-3D conversion enables conversion of 2D images on DVDs and Blu-ray Discs into 3D images with natural depth perception. Screen type (flat or round) and frame color are easily selectable. Watch your favorite DVD movie collection in 3D for even greater viewing enjoyment.

24p Output for VOD

The BDT-220 not only plays Blu-ray Discs and DVDs, but also video-on-demand movies content in the same 24p format as used at movie theaters. Connection to a 24p capable TV via an HDMI capable lets you enjoy a wide array of content with full cinematic picture quality. This feature requires a TV that supports 24p playback.*

UniPhier Chip Processor

This Full HD 3D Blu-ray Disc player features UniPhier single chip signal processing that eliminates unnecessary wiring, resulting in reducing noise on the picture and sound signal to the absolute minimum. The DVD Super Resolution Processor helps produce natural pictures with no false contours, higher resolution for details, and a reduction in noise.

Connectivity

The entire 2012 line features DLNA for easy connection to other DLNA equipped products. Share and enjoy digital photos (JPEG), music (MP3, WMA) and videos (AVCHD, WMV) by simply connecting to a home network (LAN).  VIERA Link provides connectivity to other VIERA Link compatible products and NAS compatibility. The BDT-220 has a Wi-Fi system built right into the main unit so you can enjoy VIERA Connect and BD-Live content without having to connect with a LAN cable or wireless LAN adaptor. Players are also compatible with the NTFS format HDD.

Adaptive Chroma Processing

Adaptive Chroma Processing is a high quality image-processing technology developed to precisely process each pixel of Blu-ray Disc video signals in the vertical and horizontal directions to produce extremely high color resolution and beautiful edges.

Personalization

To personalize the home theater experience, the new multi-user mode on the BDT-220 allows you to register four users and each can record individual favorite settings. You can select a personal icon from 16 pre-installed images, or photos from an external source. You also have the option to customize the home screen with any image you choose. Features like the home screen customization as well as enhancement of VIERA Connect allow you to easily personalize your entertainment experience to fit your lifestyle. Download the exclusive Panasonic app and you’ll also be able to use your iPhone or Android smartphone as a remote control for your BDT-220.

Energy Star Qualified

Panasonic is always working to improve its technology, design, and commitment to the environment. Attractive compact designs and energy-saving functions help Panasonic Blu-ray Disc products protect the environment by effectively conserving limited natural resources. All 2012 models are Energy Star Qualified.

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About the Author

Andy Pargh

Andy Pargh, a.k.a. The Gadget Guru has been involved in the new products and technology industry for more than a quarter of a century! His everyman straight talk (not technobabble) style of journalism makes consumers feel comfortable, not intimidated with the latest technologies. Andy is best known for being a regular on the Saturday Today Show on NBC.

3 Comments


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    •  
      Kol

      because these players are dgaitil, and their best connection is dgaitil (HDMI) you won’t find massive differences in image quality when you compare different brands of blu ray players when playing the same blu ray disc on the same high quality TV if the blu ray players are in the same price range of each other.They are sending the same 1s and 0s to the TV. So unless the player is up or down scaling, the truth is you won’t see much of a difference in image quality. When viewing standard DVDs, you might see differences. So today and in the near future it’s more about the extra features like Netflix streaming, Hulu and other internet features or widgets, 3D, Wi-Fi etc.I have a cheap magnaxov blu ray player that I got for 98 bucks at Walmart about 18 months ago. Connected to my flat panel with HDMI, the images with blu ray discs like Star Trek 2009, Up and Bolt are stunning. Even DVDs are upconverted with good image quality. So just pay attention to the features that you want and that you can afford, and just pull the trigger on whatever name brand you want. Regardless of the brand, everyone has a horror story about Sony, Panasonic, Vizio and Samsung, and another person will say those brands are the best so I ignore all that stuff.




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