Panasonic DMP-BD80
Panasonic has confirmed it will introduce a Freesat/Blu-ray recorder to the UK market around May, along with two new BD player-only models

Panasonic has today confirmed that it will launch a Freesat, twin HD tuner, 500GB HDD/Blu-ray recorder in the UK this summer. The announcement was made at the opening of the company's European press launch in Amsterdam this afternoon.

The DMR-BS850 Freesat recorder will include an SD card reader and Viera Cast internet connectivity, and is due on sale around May. The price is still to be confirmed.

It will be one of four new models in Panasonic's 2009 Blu-ray player/recorder line-up. The others are the DMP-BD80 (pictured) and DMP-BD60 – both players, not recorders – and the DMP-B15 portable player we first saw at CES in Las Vegas.

Prices will be approximately 400 Euros for the 'BD80, 350 Euros for the 'BD60 and 799 Euros for the portable 'B15.

More after the break

The DMP-BD80 is equipped with Viera Cast internet connectivity, a 7.1 analogue output, SD memory card slot, USB socket and Viera Link remote control.

It also has a special 'playback information' function on the menu that enables the user to see the frame rate in mbps, type of soundtrack, quality of the video signal and other technical information on the Blu-ray disc being viewed.

The latter function, and 7.1 analogue output, are absent on the cheaper DMP-BD60.

Blu-ray home cinema in a boxAs part of its Blu-ray strategy for 2009, Pioneer will also introduce four new Blu-ray home cinema in a box systems. The flagship model is the SC-ZT1 with wireless speakers. It's a 2.1 system as standard, but additional wireless rear speakers are optional to make it a full 5.1 system.

It will be joined by the slimline SC-BTX70 2.1 system, and two more conventional 5.1 Blu-ray home cinema systems – the SC-BT205 and SC-BT200.

All four systems will handle high-definition audio, have Viera Cast network capability, SD card slots for transferring digital media and support BD Live content. The SC-BTX70 also comes with a built-in iPod dock.

2009 plasma TV line-upOn the TV front, there are no fewer than five ranges in the 2009 Viera plasma line-up: X, S, G, V and Z models.

We've already reported on some of them here, and will bring you a full rundown of the entire range (hopefully with UK prices) tomorrow. But here's what we know so far about the plasma models:

Z1 series: flagship Neo PDP model, just 1 inch thick, Full HD/1080p wireless connectivity, aluminium finish, new V Real 4 Pro Driver processing, 600Hz intelligent frame creation, 54 and 46in, launches in June.

V10 series: Full HD, 42 and 50in Neo PDP models with 24p Smooth Film, THX certified.

G15 series: Full HD, Neo PDP, supports DiVX, DNLA networking and Viera Cast.

G10: entry-level Neo PDP models in 42, 46 and 50in sizes.

S10 series: Full HD plasma, V Real Pro 3 processing, 2,000,000: 1 contrast ratio in 50, 42 and 37in (not neo PDP)

X10 series: entry-level, HD-ready, V Real 4 processing, 100Hz double-scan models in 50, 42 and 37in (not Neo PDP).

We expect to get more details of the full Viera TV line-up, including the LCD models, and a demo of the Freesat HD/Blu-ray recorder tomorrow. More information to follow as soon as we get it.