05 September 2008

Panasonic's DMP-BD35 / DMP-BD55 Blu-ray players hands-on

Sharp wasn't the only company showcasinga new duo of Blu-ray players at CEDIA, as Panasonic decided to whip up a couple as well just for kicks. The DMP-BD35 and DMP-BD55 were made official during IFA, but not until now has Panny shown them off to the wide-eyed public. As with the aforementioned Sharp duo, this pair is also hard to distinguish from one another at first glance. Unfortunately, neither are really worth sweating.

Panasonic DMP-BD35

The Panasonic DMP-BD35 is a high-end Blu-Ray player; and is designed as the cheaper model of two simultaneous releases. The BD-35 is just devoid of the superior 7.1 analog audio outputs and enhancements that it's more expensive sister model (Panasonic DMP-BD55) includes. The BD-35 features BD Live 2.0 support, Blu-Ray and DVD playback at full 1080p HD/24fps, and Deep Color and x.v. color support. It also includes an SDHC card port and ethernet port for future firmware upgrades. The BD-35 provides basically the same exact features and design as the BD-55 without the mentioned audio outputs providing Blu-Ray enthiusiasts who don't need the aforementioned outputs with a much cheaper solution. The BD-35 also includes the Panasonic UniPhier processor technology for enhanced video and audio decoding and decreased maximum wattage (20% less wattage than previous models). Internal decoding and bitstream output is also included for Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS-HD MA support.

Panasonic DMP-BD55

The Panasonic DMP-BD55 is a high-end Blu-Ray player and is designed to be the more expensive of two seperate versions in the second release of Panasonic's Blu-Ray players. Both the Panasonic DMP-BD55 and Panasonic DMP-BD35 are set to replace the DMP-BD30 and DMP-BD50 models which were released in early 2008. The Panasonic DMP-BD35 is essentially the same device without the included 7.1 analog audio outputs and analog audio enhancements. The BD55 features a slim/sleek look and is supported by "vibration-reducing feet" to keep the player from bouncing during playback. The player also includes an SD card slot for firmware upgrades and BD Live access; which also requires an internet connection through the supplied ethernet port. Using Panasonic's UniPhier integrated video circuitry the BD-55 can transmit a full 1080p HD signal, and consumes less energy while doing it; it requires 20% less wattage than it's previous matching models making for a more "environment" friendly device.
The BD-55 also offers a decoding and bitstream of all the advanced audio codecs (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD High Resolution & Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus).