on July 28, 2011
This Panasonic DMP-BD110 is the fourth BD player that I have purchased in since 2007 (my first being the Panasonic DMP-BD10A, second a Sharp HP20, third a Panasonic DMP-BD60). As you can imagine, the last thing I really needed was another BD player, however, I just got a great deal on a 3D tv and, well, you know how it goes. :)
I am giving this product a qualified 5 stars, with this caveat: for most people, it would be well worth it to spend the extra money to purchase the the next model up (the Panasonic DMP-BDT210), which includes the wireless-n wifi dongle. These two players are essentially the same with the exception of the dongle, some cosmetic differences and the motion sensor that opens the BD tray (not something I care for to be honest). For those purchasing the BDT110, if you do not have access to an ethernet connection for internet, you will be stuck buying a dongle for Panasonic's exorbitant price (since no other dongles work). This is a big knock against this player that has been pointed out by other reviewers. For my purposes, however, the BDT110 is just splendid since my router sits right behind my tv and I have it hooked up using an ethernet cable.
BD Playback Quality: To be fair, with the current line of players from all the major brands have excellent BD playback and they all upscale dvd's well. The technology has improved and there is no bad one in the bunch in terms of video playback. Some players are faster at loading BD discs than others, with the Panasonic being on the fast side of this equation. 3D performance is also excellent, although I can't say whether that is attributable to the TV (Panasonic L37DT30) or the player or some combination of both. I can say that the player is very responsive and I have had no issues in two weeks that I have owned it. Whatever problems the player had last spring have been fully resolved by firmware updates (which come regularly).
Viera Cast: The Viera Cast suite is terrific. My tv is equipped with viera cast as well and you would think they would be the same. Surprisingly, they are not. The version used on the BD players is MUCH better. This is particularly true for the Netflix application. The Netflix application on the BDT110 provides a search feature that allows you to search the entire Netflix database. You essentially have the same access and control over content as you would on your computer. The Playback is smooth. Movies and shows, including HD content, load quickly and require little if any time for buffering. You can skip scenes and the interface works similarly to the one on the Roku XD box--excellent. It doesn't look as sexy as the interface on the Apple TV, but it is more functional. Also available is Amazon Instant, including free streaming for Amazon Prime members (like me). Excellent quality as well and you have access to the latest movies and shows. The YouTube app is also outstanding, giving you access to your subscriptions, videos is essentially a more complete than most apps you'll find on mobile devices. I haven't really used the Fox Sports App or played games on the player, but the Viera Cast system has a lot of potentially and it's quite impressive.
The Remote: The remote is well thought out, with a dedicated netflix button (NICE!). The buttons could be a bit bigger though and less crowded. This is pretty typical for BD players these days, which have definitely cheapened the quality of the remotes.
Playback of pictures and videos from an SDHC Card or USB drive: Again, a big improvement over the version on panasonic tv. The files are layed out in an easy to search manner, line by line. The player is able to crunch through all the usual formats, including: .mkv, .mov, .mp4, .avi, .xvid, mpeg-2 etc. This player does stumble a bit on high bitrate .mkv files in 1080p, but many media players have some issues with these files (some can't play them at all). Most of us will use 720p .mkv files anyway, and those are no problem at all. Photo playback in .jpg are no problem, photos are easy to search for, load quickly and look great!
Word of Caution: Please be aware that if you are buying this player to play 3d Movies and content and you do not have receiver (AVR) that is HDMI 1.4 compliant (in other words, 3D ready), you will have to run the HDMI cable directly to the tv and then run a toslink (optical cable) to the receiver for sound. This means that if you do not have a 3d ready receiver and are using this player for 3d content, you will not be able to play 3d content through the receiver. Moreover, being limited to the optical cable for the audio feed means that you will not be able to use the lossless audio formats on the disks (i.e., no Dolby TrueHd, DTS-MA etc.). This is not a big deal for my set up, but some people will surely be disappointed. Panasonic does have a solution. The BDT310, which costs around $200 on Amazon, has two HDMI outputs, one for video to the TV and one for audio to the receiver. If you have a non-3d receiver and must have 3d and hi-def audio, this is probably your best choice (or you can buy a new receiver--which will cost a lot more than the BDT310). Just some food for thought. Please also note that this is an issue with 3d playback through HDMI 1.3 receivers and is not unique to Panasonic. It effects ALL 3D BD players--so no stars are going to be deducted. If you do not care about the 3d playback and just intend to use the player as a regular BD non-3d player it will function like any other BD player and you can run the hdmi straight to the AVR as usual and get lossless sound formats--so for you people who have not yet adopted 3d technology, you can ignore this paragraph.
In short, this is an excellent choice in BD player, particularly if you don't need wifi included. If you do need wifi access, the BDT210 is the better value. With that caveat, I give the BDT110 five stars.
EDIT 6/22/11: I have been using the BDT110 for a couple of months now and I continue to enjoy the player immensely. I have only watched 15 or so BD disks and a handful of DVDS. I have had no issue at all with playback and the image and sound quality have been more than satisfactory. I am continuing to enjoy streaming apps from Netflix and Amazon, probably for more than an hour or two a day. Both apps have worked flawlessly. I have also been using the player to view home videos of my 11 week old that I shoot with Sony HX9V cameras in fully 1080p at 60fps in AVCHD format (28mbps). This profile is beyond bluray, which limited to 1080i at 60fps at 24mbps (or 1080p at 30fps or 24fps). Again, I have had no issue at all with playback. I am extremely impressed with the image processing power of this player. If I could give this line of players from Panasonic a sixth star, I would.