The Panasonic DMP-BD50 marks an important milestone in the short life of Blu-ray players. As well as supporting the latest BD-LIVE profile, it is also the player that has got many enthusiasts have to finally take notice of the format. We find out why.
The BD50 is a very smart looking Blu-ray player, with clean lines and an uncluttered front panel with only the power and eject buttons protruding from the glossy black finish to the front of the player. As would be expected from Panasonic, it is well built, and the instructions are reasonably good. The remote doesn’t disappoint either and is well weighted and has every button within easy reach. The BD-50 comes with the latest BD-LIVE Blu-ray profile, which means you will be able to benefit from extra content available online for certain discs.
Operationally, the Panasonic performs well. Disc load times are reasonably quick, certainly some of the quickest we’ve seen on a dedicated Blu-ray player so far. The important aspect, of course, is the picture playback, and it doesn’t disappoint. It is so very, very close to being as good as the Sony BDP-S500, but apart from that it is the best performance we’ve seen on a Blu-ray player to date, and better than both the Samsung BDP-1500 and the Sony Playstation 3. Normal DVD playback was a bit disappointing, and actually worse than what we’ve come to expect from even fairly reasonably priced DVD players these days. The sound is top notch though, and owners of the latest HD decoding amps will be pleased that the BD50 can output undecoded bitstream so the amp can do the decoding part.
Overall, we really like the Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player, and it is nice to see the first quite serious player enter the market in these more settled times in the life of High Definition players. We’re still bothered by the price a little, it seems alot to pay for something that is not that much better than some of the other less expensive offerings. But if you want the best Blu-ray player available at this time, then the BD50 is probably the one.
What to consider before you buy the Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray Player
The only real downside to the player is the price. At around £400 it is more expensive than both the Playstation 3 and almost twice the price of the Samsung BDP-1500, which although only Blu-ray profile 1.1, makes the Panasonic look very expensive. The BD-50 is better than both these players, but not by much, so we’re not sure where the extra money is going. Standard DVD playback is also disappointing, so we’d recommend keeping your existing DVD player for now.
Why you should buy the Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray Player
The Panasonic DMP-BD50 is a great looking, well built player, that performs well at most things. It has the latest Blu-ray profile so there is fairly future proof, and has good picture and sound quality.