Blu-ray Players

Panasonic DMP-BDT230 Blu-ray Player


Design and Setup of the Panasonic DMP-BDT230 Blu-ray Player

Thank you, Panasonic, for having a nice, fairly regular design this year. The DMP-BDT230 case is flat on top, and has regular, tactile buttons and not touch sensitive ones. It isn't as pretty as some other designs, but it is totally functional, which is more important to me. The included remote is nice and compact, though lacks the backlighting that I would like to see. The design of the player itself is pretty basic, as most Blu-ray players are today. The rear offers only Ethernet, HDMI and Optical connectors. The power cable is detachable, so it is easy to replace with a different size and is uncommon at this price point.

The front has the inputs hidden away behind a drop-down panel, but includes USB and SD Card slots. Unfortunately the SD slot is only for playing back music or pictures on the Panasonic, and isn't used for BD-Live. If you want BD-Live content, you'll need to leave this panel open and have a USB drive attached at all times. I really wish vendors included the memory for BD-Live or at least had a rear USB port, so you didn't need a USB drive sticking off the front at all times.

One feature missing in the setup of the player this year is the Enhanced Chroma option that Panasonic had previously. In the past, this would fix CUE (Chroma Upsampling Error) problems, but introduce incorrect color decoding into the HDMI bitstream. Panasonic is using a new decoding chipset so this feature is gone, but a new bug is present. The colorspace selection lets you choose YCbCr 4:2:2, 4:4:4, RGB Standard, or RGB Enhanced. No matter what you pick, the player only outputs YCbCr 4:4:4, so that selection is totally broken right now.

The video setup is very straight-forward because of this, as the only selection you can really make is resolution. There are some picture modes available, but since the default mode is ideal, just use that. You can tweak the image in your display and get better performance that way as well. Now connected, did the Panasonic perform better in use than it did during setup?