The Panasonic DMP-BDT300 is a Blu-ray Disc drive that can read the new 3D Blu-ray disc format. It can also access internet content such as YouTube and Picasa. It's as full of features as any other Blu-ray disc player we've seen, but it does come with a hefty price tag.
The Panasonic DMP-BDT300 is an attractive device, but its styling is at odds with the Panasonic Viera TH-P50VT20A 3D plasma TV we set it up next to. A smooth, highly polished fascia hides the disc tray and single-line display. Around the DMP-BDT300's rear, you can find the usual component and composite analogue video connectors, USB and Ethernet ports as well as two HDMI sockets.
This makes it easier to connect the Panasonic DMP-BDT300 to an external home theatre system or A/V receiver as well as directly to a 3D television — since only a few receivers support HDMI 1.4, connecting the DMP-BDT300 to the television via most current receivers will not allow 3D content to be displayed. Having two HDMI ports neatly solves this issue.
Strangely enough the Panasonic DMP-BDT300 doesn't have any internal flash memory, which is required for the player to access BD-Live content. You'll need to purchase an SD card and plug it in. On the plus side, the DMP-BDT300 does support playback of AVCHD video and JPEG picture files — which is convenient if you're using a card out of a digital camera or video camera.
The Panasonic DMP-BDT300 starts up quickly and quietly. Its Quick Start mode means the device draws more power in standby than if it were completely switched off, but this eliminates long start-up times for movies. If you're used to switching your Blu-ray player on and making a coffee while the disc loads, this is a useful bonus. The DMP-BDT300 draws a reasonable 32 Watts during operation according to Panasonic, and HDMI-CEC support means turning off your television will send the Blu-ray player into standby as well.
During loading and playback of our Coraline 3D, Ice Age 3 3D and Terminator: Salvation test movies, the Panasonic DMP-BDT300 remained quiet and didn't make any untoward disc-seeking noises. If you value a serene home theatre environment where movies' quiet scenes aren't interrupted by whirring fans or disc lasers, the Panasonic DMP-BDT300 will serve admirably.
If you connect the Panasonic DMP-BDT300 to your home network, you'll gain access to DLNA media streaming from a compatible PC (which requires Windows 7 to be installed), as well as Viera Cast Internet services. While we were disappointed that the Viera Cast services were limited to YouTube, Picasa and weather services — the TH-P50VT20A 3D plasma TV is able to access Twitter and Skype — it's a useful extra for passing the time. DLNA media streaming is a bigger drawcard if you've got a photo or music library saved on your desktop PC or laptop.
The high price of the Panasonic DMP-DBT300 is in part justified by its ability to play 3D Blu-ray discs. If you're hell-bent on being on the bleeding edge of home entertainment tech then your choice is limited to this Blu-ray player or a handful of others like the Samsung BD-C6900. At the moment we believe they're unnecessarily expensive given the tiny amount of 3D Blu-ray video content available.
If you can get past its price tag, or can justify purchasing it and waiting for more 3D content to be released, the Panasonic DMP-BDT300 is an excellent Blu-ray disc player overall.
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