on April 14, 2013
It works very nicely, but whenever I turn it on, it displays ads for Zales, Myspace... and I am sure lots more will follow. I turned off the firmware updates because I KNOW this is how they change ads or make them more prominent. I would give this player 5 stars if they just let me use the player without invading my privacy. One day ad companies will realize the ads don't work. I won't go on Myspace or shop at Zales because they are invading my space without permission and/or warning.
on June 7, 2013
Pros: Great picture quality, quick start-up, quiet, SD/USB input(s), nice looking aesthetics, dedicated Netflix button
Cons: "Miracast" feature is a bit misleading, no built-in storage, poor menu system, "ads" are on by default, requires (1.40) firmware update to fix bugs
*Please note- Review is with "new" firmware 1.40. The original firmware my player shipped with caused it to hang/freeze between menus, and not play some BD movies*
I recently picked up a Panasonic 60" ST60 plasma, and was looking for a "matching" blu-ray player. I was hoping to find a "famed" 2012 Panasonic DMP-BDT220 (because of the great reviews), but was a couple of weeks too late. The store had sold out and would not be getting any more in. The new 2013 "230" model was in stock however, and after looking it over I decided to take a chance and take one home.
Setup- Setting the DMP-BDT230 up was pretty simple. In the box was a manual, remote, batteries, power cord, and the BD player itself. The player also has a good amount of inputs/outputs, and was very happy with the fact that it had SD-card and USB inputs. The player does come with ads enabled as a default (Just like my ST60), but these were easily "hidden" though the menu. The BDT230 does NOT come with built in storage (for BD Live, etc), so I was glad that I had a spare 2GB SD card lying around for me to use. Setting up netflix/vudu/hulu were simple. Just logged in my information and the apps were good to go. To download additional "apps", you must do so in the Vierra store, which unfortunately makes you sign up for a Panasonic account (if you do not already have one), even for free apps. I was not able to set up Miracast, even though I have an android device that supports the Miracast functionality. The player currently only supports the stock Android Nexus 4 phone. I find this a bit misleading, as this is listed as a major feature of this model. I personally don't care too much, as I'd probably never use the function... but others should know that their device (unless it is a stock "Google Nexus" device) will probably not be supported.
Performance- The player has a "quick boot" option that really makes it power up very fast. Switching between menus is also fairly fast, as well as playing/loading up an actual blu-ray movie. Blu-ray picture quality is superb on the BDT230. There are a lot of picture "enhancing" options, although I kept most of these off (I prefer a more pure "stock" image). Netflix and other apps are pretty quick to load, and performance is great. Built in WiFi seemed to work excellent, though I personally chose to hook up via ethernet (I always do this to get the best connection on a "streaming" device). 3D performance was also spot on, and there are a few options to dial in your preferred 3D depth/image settings. As mentioned in the header of this review, you will definitely want to update the firmware (as soon as you can) to the newest firmware. It fixes some major "bugs" people (including myself) had been having with the original "shipped" firmware. My main problem with performance is, I really wish the menu system was laid out differently. To get to Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, you have to go into the "Network Services" submenu, when I feel they should just be on the home screen. It's a minor gripe, but somewhat of an inconvenience to have to go through several menus to get to such frequently used apps/services. DLNA performance was also PAINFULLY slow (although it did find/connect to my DLNA server rather quickly). It took over 2 minutes to start playing my test movie. I actually had almost given up on connectivity, when the movie finally came on.
Value- So, is the Panasonic DMP-BDT230 worth the current asking price of $129.99? The answer is... kinda. It really depends on what you are looking for in your blu-ray player. If you are looking for a solid, quick loading, simplistic (yet stylish) 3D BD player with excellent picture quality, then I would recommend it to you. If you are looking for a little more from your blu-ray player, the BDT230 is probably not for you. The DLNA performance was very slow, Miracast won't work with most Android devices, and the apps (although performed well) are hidden behind more menus than they need to be. Therefore, I give the Panasonic DMP-BDT230 a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
on April 4, 2013
MIRACAST: I got this DVD player because I have a Google Galaxy Nexus phone and Google Nexus 10 tablet, both of which are running the latest Android software, which supports Miracast. However, the only Android device today whose hardware supports Miracast is the Google Nexus 4 phone. Ah well, that certainly wasn't what I was expecting and it took a considerable amount of web digging. The Blu-Ray player does not support Apple's AirPlay.
BACK PANEL: When I bought this there were not yet any pictures of the back panel posted, so here's what's there: Power, HDMI, wired ethernet (wifi is built in), and optical TOSLINK. That's it. Front panel has an SD Card slot and USB. Haven't tried these yet.
NETFLIX: Netflix streaming works well. Picture quality was good, though it did drop back from the best quality to just OK a few times, but this happens with all my Netflix capable devices presumably because my internet speed is borderline. I was not delighted with the time it takes to start the Netflix app, about 30 seconds. And the app itself is not as polished as you'll see on other contemporary devices. For example, scrolling through movies thumbnails on other devices animates the scrolling, but with this player, the thumbnails are in fixed positions (no animation, just updates what is in each "slot"). It appears to ask me each time I start Netflix if I want regular or the kids version -- I wish it would remember. The UI seems to have the same elements (my queue, recommendations, popular, search) as I see on tablet apps and the website. Searching is by the painful cursor-keys-to-tap method. Not sure if there is a phone app that will pair, but failing that I'll manipulate my queue elsewhere and avoid searching on this player. So far things seem to be playing back only in stereo, not multi-channel. Not sure if this is Netflix or the player.
PLAYBACK: From what I've read, Blu-Ray playback quality is roughly equivalent on all players. I did compare DVD playback compared to my 6+ year old Panasonic DVD player which, at the time I bought it, had very good upsampling. This player did better than that one. In particular, diagonal lines didn't cause the attention-grabbing "crawling". I only have one AVCHD disc, the avsforum TV calibration disk I downloaded, and it appears to play fine. 24p playback seems to work.
Overall I'm happy with playback and Netflix. I wish my devices worked with Miracast, but I cannot fault this player for that.
SMARTPHONE REMOTE: I've downloaded the Android apps to control this Blu-Ray player. They didn't connect, but many others complain of the same problem. On the official Panasonic data sheet, it lists "Smartphone remote control" and shows that this player is not supported. I admit I'm surprised that this network-enabled player (Miracast, Netflix, etc.) isn't supported. Looks like you need to spend more for its big brother to get that feature.
DLNA: I already have a DLNA server in my house with music and movies. The Blu-Ray player was able to play back both music and movies. But I'll never do that because the UI is S-L-O-W. In fact, I assumed it wasn't going to play back a movie but more than a minute after I'd pressed OK it started playing.
NETFLIX: It *does* play back in multichannel audio with the right movie. And I've timed it at 25 seconds to launch the Netflix app.
I've reduced my rating to 4 stars because this player seems to be perfectly fine at playing discs and Netflix (with some Netflix UI quirks), the other features seem more like checked boxes rather than realistically usable, especially compared to the competition of Apple TVs, Roku, and Plex. In other words, I don't expect many folks will actually use the DLNA player, web browser, etc. And they shouldn't -- Panasonic needs to raise it's game to the level of the competition.
Some more timings: From the menu to Blu-Ray (The Matrix) playing, 21 seconds. From the DLNA player, 2 minutes from pressing Play to when the movie starts (yes, 2 minutes!). This is over wifi; no there's no indication it's doing anything or buffering. For comparison, Plex on a tablet will start playing the same movie in 8 seconds.
I've posted an image of the DLNA browser, which shows just 5 entries per screen and takes a long time (maybe 10 seconds) between screens.
The UI has locked up twice now requiring me to pull the plug to reboot -- that's what I get for being an early adopter. Also, I notice that last year's equivalent model, the 220, was controllable via a smartphone app. This year, neither the 230 or 330 are listed as having this feature. Hmm -- perhaps this will change with future firmware.
on September 28, 2013
First, some background. I own two of the previous model, the BDT-220. That model is the most fully featured Blu-ray player I've ever come across, with advanced audio and video calibration features typically found in models that cost $200+. For example, there are settings for chroma level, gamma level, a ton of audio remix options, and the biggie -- the ability to force 24p for *any* video source, including the internet sources (Netflix, Hulu+, etc). Anyone with a high-end equipment knows how important 24p is for quality viewing. Which brings me to to this year's model, the BDT-230.
The BDT-230 is stripped of all the advanced A/V settings of its predecessor. The settings for chroma level, gamma level, 3D noise reduction (which is important), super resolution (an independent upscaler only for SD content), detail clarity (a universal scaler), sound effect remasters (there were settings for night surround, among others) and the 24p for network sources have been removed. Also, from a hardware perspective, there are ZERO audio output options other than the single HDMI port. NONE, not even analog audio out (red and white jacks). For that matter, there isn't even an AV cable included, because there are only 4 ports on the entire unit -- HDMI, AC power, Ethernet on the rear, and USB on the front. There are no analog jacks at all. Its predecessor had ports for HDMI, AC power, Ethernet, analog AV out, analog AV in, optical audio and 2 USB ports.
Considering that this model is the next in the same model line, I'm shocked and disheartened that Panasonic has really stripped this model way, way down and is charging the same price. There are only 3 "enhancements" to this model: a minimal web browser, DTS Neo-6 (remixes 2 channel sound to 5.1, actually a decent feature) and a much smoother user interface (it looks the same, but has a sharper font and loads much more quickly, especially for network content).
+ Smooth, responsive user interface
+ Disc based content plays without issue
- Stripped of *ALL* advanced audio/video settings
- Zero audio output options, not even analog out
- No 24p for network apps
- Loud optical drive, sounds like a weed whacker when initially loading a disc
To be honest, if the BDT-220 did not exist, I would not have a big issue with the BDT-230. It plays all content well, and the average Joe who doesn't calibrate will be happy with everything that it does. But the problem is, its predecessor DID exist, it was the same price (I actually got it for well less than its MSRP), and this year's model has the same MSRP and has been stripped of the aforementioned features. Considering that there are units from other manufacturers that have similar feature sets for much less money, you're probably better off getting one of those models than paying more for this one. And if you have a BDT-220 that needs replacing, unfortunately you're out of luck, as that model is now going for nearly $300 from re-sellers on the net.
***UPDATE***: Less than a month after using this unit, I got an error message regarding the Wi-Fi adapter (which is internal). "The Wireless LAN adapter has been removed. Unable to connect. Please insert compatible Wirelss LAN adapter in USB port." The wireless adapter is internal and can't be removed manually. I'm going down to 1 star from 2. Avoid this unit like the plague.
on March 5, 2014
I'm a Panasonic dealer, or should say I was a Panasonic dealer. I purchased one of these players from my distributor in Denver and put it into a clients system. Two days later I had to drive 100 miles to refund the clients money and take the player back as it was defective out of the box.
The player was freezing up playing back discs and would continually disconnect from the homes wireless network, even when other gear in the rack was still connected. The player would have to be unplugged to resolve the issues each time.
I called Panasonic to get the unit replaced as it was brand new. I was told they wouldn't replace it. Two different supervisors told me I had to pay to ship it to a repair facility in Texas. When I said that wasn't acceptable as the unit was defective out of the box and that I couldn't sellna repaired unit as new. Not to mention that paying to ship it would drive my cost over the units retail price. I was told, sorry can't help you. My rep said they have the same issue, if a unit is defective they have to pay to ship it in and have it repaired as Panasonic won't accept defective units back. So beware if you purchase from Panasonic as you may have to pay to get a new piece repaired if it's defective or you may be getting one that's been repaired as most dealers won't eat the loss as I am.
I got both the Panasonic DMPBDT330 and the DMPBDT230 Wi-Fi Blu-Ray Players for two different rooms. Except for a difference in appearance, these two players are functionally the same except for a two slight differences. The DMPBT330 has an extra HDMI jack to for a connection to an audio receiver to allow for 7.1 audio through the HDMI cable, and the ability to up convert the picture to 4K UHD - or Ultra High Definition - The latest in TV technology at 3,840 X 2,160p. If you don't have 4K UHD yet, don't worry, the DMPBDT330 will still play HD and SD formats. For those who may be thinking ahead, it is nice to know that this player can handle the next jump in HD.
Panasonic has copied Sony or visa versa for the design of the DMP-BDT230 by making the player shaped like a trapezoid. This is called "Prismatic Cut Form Design". I'm still on the fence whether I like that, or prefer the common rectangular box. I guess it is somewhat futuristic? In any event it is made of black plastic with silver trim on the top front edge. There is a drop down door on the front to the left of the display where you can plug in a USB drive or an SD card. On the top front right are eject, stop, play and power buttons from left to right. All of the rest of the controls are on the easy to use, easy to hold remote. One caveat about the "TV" function on the remote - it only controls Panasonic TV's and is not programmable to other brands. In my case I have a Samsung Smart TV, so if I need to change the volume, I have to grab another remote.
Setting up the Blu-Ray player is quite simple. First you need to connect the power cord, then an HDMI cable from the unit to your TV. The cable is not supplied in the box, but Amazon sells a high quality cable at a cheap price from Mediabridge, which I picked up for about six dollars. If you are trying to setup the DMP-BDT230 to an old school TV, forget about it! This player only has an HDMI and optical audio out jacks on the back, it does not have RCA composite jacks (those are the yellow, red and white ones).
Once you turn the unit on there is a setup display asking to choose the language, TV Aspect ration, and whether to use Quickstart (which is sort of like a sleep mode and uses slightly more power when "off"). If you choose the aspect ratio of the TV to 16:9 full then the player will stretch images that were not filmed in widescreen format so you will not see the black bars on the side. Personally I like to leave programs in their native resolution.
Next, is setting up the network using "Easy Network Settings". They are pretty easy. It's just like setting up any wireless device - Find the SSID of your network, and enter the password if you have password protection setup. The DMP-BDT230 connected to my home network within two seconds without any problems. The unit immediately notified me that there was a firmware update once it connected and I happily obliged. The download took about a minute and automatically installed and restarted the player. I didn't have to do anything! It was quick and easy. If you want to use a wired connection, there is also a fast Ethernet jack on the back to connect to the LAN, however the player uses a 802.11 n wireless connection that can connect up to 300 Mbps, so it is faster than plugging into the LAN. The internet connection on this device is solid.
After setup is complete (and firmware was upgraded), the home page is displayed. Another reviewer claimed that there were ads displayed as soon as the player is turned on. This did not happen to me, however there is a setting under System>Start-Up Banner in the menus that turns this feature on or off. Why anyone would want to see ads when they turn their Blu-Ray player on is beyond my comprehension.
The Home page is the control center of the DMP-BDT230. There are five options available on this page, which are setup in a cross-like shape. To navigate between them you use the arrow keys on the remote, and press the center button to choose your selection. The options are: Music, which you can select to play from a disc or USB drive, Videos from a disc SD Card or USB drive, Photos from a disc, SD Card or USB drive, Network from a network service, or your local network, and setup which gives you various menu options.
While the home screen is not as pretty as the Smart Hub on my Samsung TV, it is functional. The default wallpaper Panasonic chooses for a background is a dull grey. Luckily, there is an option to change it to four other more colorful wallpapers. There is even a "personalization" option that allows four different users to have different wallpapers, and an icon of their choice from a picture from "Photos". This really serves no function, accept to preserve audio and picture settings for each user. After the initial setup, most people will set these once and probably never change them again, and other family members won't bother with their own settings.
Playing Music, Videos and Photos from media inserted into the player is pretty straight forward on the DMP-BDT230. When you insert a disc, USB drive or SD card a directory automatically appears on the screen and you can choose files, play music, watch a slide show etc. The directory is readable but not very pretty. It looks like an old 90's interface in light yellow and baby blue. That is part of the problem with this player, the user interface almost looks unfinished because it is so inconsistent. Panasonic really needs to make the visual part of it flow better.
Overall, both in video and audio the DMP-BDT230 does a good job. Standard DVD's look very good, Blu-Ray's look excellent, CD's and MP3's sound great. It is really nice to be able to throw an SD Card into this player and watch a slideshow of your pictures with various transitions. I have absolutely no complaints with the quality of the media displayed on this unit - it looks and sounds good.
If you select "Network" from the home page, you get the option to connect to your "Home Network", or "Network Service". If you select "Home Network" there are three options - "DNLA Client", "Miracast" or "Media Renderer". In order to use Miracast, it is necessary to have an Android device, which I don't own, so I could not test this feature. The DNLA Client feature worked perfectly, although it comes back to the ugly light yellow and baby blue interface again to select files. The player interface is better, but did not display album artwork for mp3 files, but neither does my Samsung TV, so this is not really an issue, it is something I need to further investigate. Anyway, the DMP-BDT230 found all of DNLA devices, including my network NAS and played all video and audio files without a glitch.
Panasonic does not do a good job explaining what the "Media Renderer" does. The Owner's manual points you to a web page that does not work, it should be: http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/bd/faq/DMR.html. This Panasonic support site shows complicated diagrams with mistranslated words such as "Rooter" instead of "Router" and hard to follow instructions. As far as I can determine, the Media Render function is just some sort of transcoder. In any event, I won't be using it.
The "Network Services" function brings up the "apps" on the device. Pre-loaded are Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, You Tube, MLB.TV, Cinema Now, MLS, WSJ Live, Games, and a Web Browser. Don't even bother with the web browser. It is slow, clunky, it freezes up, is hard to read and needs a flash player upgrade that cannot be performed. Every video that I clicked on said it needed to update the Flash player, but if you tried, it said it could not recognize the application or something to that effect. Obviously Panasonic needs to address this issue in its next firmware upgrade. Other apps work well, but many require a subscription or registration, and many pay to view, such as Amazon Instant Video, Cinema Now, etc.
There is also a Marketplace where you can get more apps, many are free, but some you have to pay for. If you already have a Smart TV, most of the apps are redundant, but if you don't have an internet-connected TV you will really appreciate the network features on the DMP-BDT230. Some great free apps available are Facebook and Twitter, Pandora, TuneIn, Ustream, just to name a few. I really like having the dedicated "Netflix" button on the remote, and I think it looks better on the player than directly through my Samsung TV. I have to admit though, when using some of the apps in Network Services, a few times the player crashed, I got a black screen, or it just froze, and I had to unplug it to reset the machine. I don't remember which apps did this (it wasn't Netflix), or what I was doing at the time. Luckily, this did not happen very often, and it was easily fixed.
Overall, I found the DMP-BDT230 to be a nice player. Its interfaces need work to show consistency, the web browser is clunky and pretty unusable. One thing that surprised me was that this player did not offer a smartphone remote. All of the network connectivity was available, yet they left that function off of this model. I was generally pleased with the other network functions on the unit, as well as the DNLA functionality with my existing devices. Attached media also played well - USB, SD Card and CD's, DVD's and Blu-Ray discs. Both video and audio were nice. I don't really see why some people are giving the player such negative reviews. Perhaps they have not upgraded the firmware?
One thing I could not test is the DMP-BDT230's 3-D capabilities, since my TV is not 3-D capable. The last thing to add, for those who have PAL discs and wonder if they play on this unit without any modification, they will not. Probably a remote code sequence will add this capability. If anyone knows please add a comment.
on December 2, 2013
WARNING!! If you like weeding through advertising, this product is for you. I can't believe Panasonic sold their soul to advertisers who place their ads on the screen as you try to access segments of the player. In addition, they have placed a dedicated Netflix button right in the middle of the remote where I accidentally hit it. I wish I had returned this immediately. The player was easy to set up, but other elements make it an inferior product.
on April 16, 2013
I purchased this player on Sunday and returned it on Monday. When it plays, video quality is excellent, however the buggy software often requires you to unplug the unit to get a response. When their is no disc in the player, it boots and works fine, however, if you have a disc in the player at boot up, it will crash while loading EVERY time. Also, when you power the unit on with the remote included with the player without a disc in, it will open the disc tray EVERY time. Maybe this is by design, but what if I want to watch Netflix?
Quite simply, this player seems like fine hardware, ruined by buggy software. I was using the latest update as of 4-13-13. While these issues may be fixed in future updates, for $130 I am not willing to take the chance they won't be fixed. I personally returned this unit for a Samsung, and am glad I did, it works great out of the box.
Save yourself the time, and skip this one. Shame, as previous Panasonic models seemed great.
on September 22, 2014
I've owned the DMP-BDT230 Blu-ray player for over a year now and it works fine...most of the time. I use it mainly to stream Netflix movies. I love that Netflix is integrated into the player and the remote control. I owned a different Panasonic Blu-ray player before without the Netflix integration and I didn't know then how nice it is to have a button dedicated to Netflix right on the remote control. Now, I really have a deeper appreciation for the big red Netflix button. It's a must for Netflix subscribers! The player was very easy to set up and it quickly connected to my wi-fi signal and I was up and running within minutes. I've had to switched twice already from AT&T to Comcast and it was a snap to make the wi-fi change. I have the most basic Comcast plan (4mb download 0.98mb upload) and this player streamed fine without any hiccups. The picture and sound quality are fine also. Aside from Netflix (main reason why I purchased this one) is that it will play Blu-ray discs beautifully along with many different media formats - DVD/CD/etc. I think I only encountered one type that it didn't play - VCD format - which was a bummer! The unit booted up pretty fast (perhaps 3 seconds) and connected to Netflix within 10 seconds of pressing the dedicated Netflix button. It takes about 5 seconds to prep to Blu-ray and DVDs so it's not too bad. I like that you can update the firmware regularly and it even does it automatically for you, if you so desire. After a year of firmware updates, I've notice a much quicker boot and load time. However, I also noticed that I've had to physically pulled the plug on it a few times because it tended to freeze on me while fast forwarding streaming shows. Yanking out the power seems to resolve any issues that I've had. I just hope it does not ruin the chip/motherboard or something. In any case, I don't have a 3-D television set so I can't comment on that but I have used the other features that come with this player (internet, miracast, etc.) and they worked great. Overall, I would recommend this player because of it's ability to do firmware updates, fast load/boot time, easy setup, nice Netflix integration, and Panasonic brand name. I'd give this player a 4.0/5.0. -09/22/2014
on February 12, 2014
When the player works it works ok. However, navigating the menus is extremely slow. Furthermore about 4 months into it the player gets hung with "bye" on the screen and becomes unusable at which point I have to physically unplug the device and reset it before it work again. Very annoying to the say the least. This probably happens 2-3 times per week. To get it fixed I would have to box it up, send it to panasonic and wait 2-3 weeks for them to fix it. Clearly not worth my time. I am considering buying a samsung rather than dealing with this.