For the past few years, Panasonic and Sony have been producing the best value in Blu-ray players. I’ve bought a player from each to use and have been consistently happy with the performance. I even donated the Panasonic DMP-BDT210 to my in-laws for use in their motorhome and it has worked well. On the surface this year the DMP-BDT230 looks to be an incremental upgrade to the prior DMP-BDT220 but under the surface there is a whole lot more going on.
Panasonic has made a change in their chipsets to one of their prior features, Advanced Chroma, is now gone. This feature let it pass all of the Chroma Upsampling tests I could throw it at but also caused incorrect colorspace decoding. If the new chipset can pass both of those tests it will be an improvement over the prior models. Unfortunately Panasonic went ahead and introduced a feature that they also added to their TVs this year: Ads.
Yes, you get to pay the same price for a Blu-ray player that you would from Sony or Samsung or LG, but you also get to be subjected to ads in their online portal and their app screens. That is one feature I am not happy about. Readers at The Wirecutter have told me some of the ads can now be disabled in the menu, but I don’t think they should be there in the first place. With Panasonic’s plasma displays the performance has been good enough to overlook this, but will their Blu-ray player perform as well as those do?
I go in-depth in my Panasonic DMP-BDT230 review at Secrets of Home Theater today. You can read it, and then read my reviews of competing models like the Sony S5100 and the LG BP530 and BP730 to see which Blu-ray player will be right for you.