- Written by Chris Heinonen
- Published on 06 October 2011
The Panasonic DMP-BDT210 3D Blu-ray Player In Use
The first thing I noticed in using the 210 was the speed and responsiveness of the unit. Power on to the menus was very fast, and the menu system was quick and responsive. Starting up a Blu-ray was quick as well, as Cars loaded quick enough to keep my son happy. Once Cars started up, and it started up fast, the picture and sound were great with no issues at all. Other films that I watched, like the new Blu-ray of The Big Lebowski, looks and sounded as good as well as started up fast. For straight Blu-ray playback, the 210 was remarkably nice.
Moving onto the VieraCast lineup, the first thing I did was rearranging the apps into the order that I wanted. Having used a Sony Blu-ray player a lot for online content that has dozens of apps, but no way to order or delete them, this was a nice change. There are only a few online services I really use, and to have them all on the main page made using the device much easier. I went to Hulu and my normal test clips of Arrested Development played back perfectly and without pause. The wireless network and the buffering of the Panasonic were very good as I was able to use Hulu at all hours of the day, when often I find that at night I can run into jittery playback on my Sony player. The one issue with Hulu is that the Pause button doesn’t work, and you have to hit the Up arrow to bring up a menu to pause playback for some reason.
Netflix playback was also quite good on the 210. This is one of the few players out there that supports 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus audio with supported titles, which is a major improvement over the usual audio with Netflix. As more and more people turn to streaming content for movies, it’s good to see that the quality of streaming is finally starting to surpass DVD quality in both picture and audio, with hopefully Blu-ray quality coming in the future. Watching my usual test clip of The Iron Giant, picture quality was very good and the horizontal pans that give many players fits were very good with very little stuttering visible.
Other streaming services were similarly good. Vudu was quick on playback with no stuttering during any of the trailers that I watched, even in the high-bitrate HDX mode. Pandora did a nice job of streaming audio to the stereo for me, and YouTube had good playback and a quick, responsive interface, unlike many of the other Blu-ray players out there. Aside from the Pause button issue I had with Hulu Plus, I really had no problems at all with daily use of the 210 for watching movies or listening to music.
One feature on the 210 that is of interest to some is the audio modes. In addition to some remastering modes that I didn’t try out, there are some audio modes designed to mimic the response of listening to music on a tube-based system. The only other Blu-ray player I’m aware of that has audio modes that try to mimic the tube sound is the NuForce-modified Oppo 93 and that has had some nice reviews about it.
The different tube modes each had their own unique character to them, shrinking or expanding the soundstage, and adjusting the position and balance of instruments in the mix. Some would seem to bring a guitar forward, while moving vocals and drums to the rear, and others might do the opposite. If you like the effect that the effects have on the music, than you might enjoy listening to your music through the 210. I wasn’t a big fan of Mode 1, as it seemed to make everything sound thin, recessed, and small. However, some of the other modes had an effect on music that I found more pleasing, but it is all a matter of personal choice.