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Panasonic DMP-BDT220 review

Best Blu-ray player £100-£175, Awards 2012. A top-notch performer with great features Tested at £155

Our Verdict

Best Blu-ray player £100-£175, Awards 2012. The Panasonic’s ability to convey the fine detail impresses, along with its strong sonic performance.

For

  • Brilliant detail
  • impressive upscaling
  • great sound
  • lots of online content

Against

  • Clunky remote
  • some motion blur

Panasonic has a history of making brilliant Blu-ray players. Last year’s DMP-BDT210 was an Award-winner, and its top-of-the-range DMP-BDT320 is already the one to beat in 2012.

And the new budget player, the Panasonic DMP-BDT220, keeps up the strong performance. Play the Tintin Blu-ray and it’s immediately apparent that the BDT220 excels in what Panasonic does best: picture quality.

Panasonic DMP-BDT220

Panasonic DMP-BDT220

Panasonic DMP-BDT220: Picture quality

It uncovers a wealth of detail and texture that makes you fully appreciate all the work put in by the animators, and black levels are deep without swallowing up detail.

Colours are strong and vibrant without being overblown, and manage to lend a natural tone even on an animated film.There’s the merest hint of motion blur, but even in complex scenes the BDT220 zips along without losing composure.

Panasonic DMP-BDT220: in 3D

These characteristics carry on into 3D territory, where the detail and depth are kept intact. The Panasonic is impressively stable compared with its rivals, and when coupled with a rich colour palette and good resolution this makes for easy and enjoyable viewing.

Those of you with large DVD collections aren’t left out, either: the Panasonic is fantastic when upscaling to 1080p. We put on old favourite The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and for a second, we forgot that we weren’t actually watching a Blu-ray disc.

The picture is remarkably clear with plenty of details that remind you just how stunning and fantastical Middle Earth is.

Black levels are smooth and inky-deep, with a great balance of colours and contrast that can handle action sequences and quiet atmospheric scenes with equal poise. Noise levels are pleasingly low, too.

Panasonic DMP-BDT220

Panasonic DMP-BDT220

Panasonic DMP-BDT220: Sound quality

The BDT220’s other big skill is sound quality – not only are there excellent dynamics and punch with superb soundstaging, vocals are also given centre stage so that you don’t have to strain your ears (or turn up the volume) during quieter scenes.

Panasonic DMP-BDT220: Networking

On the network side of things, all new Panasonic Blu-ray players now come with the Viera Connect internet portal, through which you can access a host of online content: BBC iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Skype and CNBC, to name a few.

You can also access music, videos and photos over your home network via wired, wireless or USB connections, and the BDT220 will play most popular file types.

The menus are easy to trawl, although the system can be slightly slow to switch between options, screens and modes.

Panasonic DMP-BDT220: Connectivity

The player itself is slim and sleek; the front panel has an LED display and opens to reveal USB and SD Card slots, while HDMI, component, stereo and optical digital outputs are on the back.

Panasonic DMP-BDT220

Panasonic DMP-BDT220

The remote control is a bit basic and clunky in design, but works fine. Alternatively, you can use Panasonic’s smartphone app.

While it’s a multi-touch interface and lets you flick around with ease, there are some odd controls that can make it awkward to use.

Verdict

The Pansonic DMP-BDT220 costs a bit more than some rivals, but it’s worth it. If only for its clear picture and ability to dig out the minutest of detail, this player keeps Panasonic on top of the budget Blu-ray class.

MORE: Panasonic DMP-BDT230 review

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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, New York and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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