Releasing more than 5 Blu-ray player models in the same year sounds a bit excessive considering the fact that Blu-ray players have been around for many years. When it comes to getting the cheapest model available, a wise move would normally be to purchase last year’s entry-level. But Panasonic is one of those companies that went on to release 6 new Blu-ray players to cover the 2012 lineup anyway. The recent popularity of 3D HDTV displays is one of the reasons why there still needs to various Blu-ray player models available. For instance, the Panasonic DMP-BDT220 is positioned as the cheapest Blu-ray player in Panasonic’s 2012 family and manages to have some features that were previously considered as premium in past Blu-ray player models. But the purpose of this review is to find out what features Panasonic decided to leave out in favor of the pricier models.
The DMP-BDT220 uses a pretty standard glossy black design that a lot of manufacturers use. But anybody that prefers a clean and minimal Blu-ray player will enjoy the overall aesthetics of the Panasonic DMP-BDT220. It has a thickness of about 1.5 inches and weighs about 3.5 pounds. The Blu-ray player becomes a little bit less attractive when you eject the disc tray as the entire panel flips down. Flipping down the panel also reveals the SD card slot and USB port. This means that the tray must stay down if you need to plug in a USB drive. The usual ports including the HDMI AV out, LAN port and an additional USB port for the optional communication camera accessory are found on the back of the player.
One of the nicest things about the DMP-BDT220 is that it gets the same 3D treatment as the other Panasonic Blu-ray players. Once the player is connected with any 3D supported display, Blu-ray titles should play back in Full HD 3D goodness. Movies look best if the Blu-ray title actually supports 3D but the 2D-3D conversion feature also allows you to enjoy older Blu-ray titles and even DVD movies in 3D.
It also has the same Adaptive Chroma Processing technology as the other pricier Panasonic models. This technology basically emphasizes the high-resolution visuals by bringing the video signal processing down to each individual pixel. As a result, the edges look more defined and the improvements should be noticeable especially if you have a high-end HDTV display. Noise reduction is handled by the UniPhier Chip Processor.
Thanks to the USB port and SD card slot, it is also possible for the Panasonic DMP-BDT220 to read several types of multimedia files from flash drives and media cards. Supported file types include MP4, AVCHD, JPEG, MPO, FLAC and MP3. Although support DivX and Xvid files is missing, the external HDD playback functionality is still pretty good because it can read NTFS-formatted drives. The SD card can also handle standard SD and SDHC formats along with the newer SDXC format.
A Blu-ray player with a LAN port on the back normally indicates that it is capable of accessing the Internet. But with the DMP-BDT220, you do not have to use an Ethernet cable because the Panasonic DMP-BDT220 has built-in Wi-Fi. Once connected to a wireless router, you can utilize the BD-Live features found in many Blu-ray discs as well as the VIERA Connect feature. VIERA Connect is the main hub for all of the online services that are supported by the Panasonic DMP-BDT220. NetFlix, Vudu, YouTube and CinemaNow are the most popular services that are supported. In fact, these services are so popular that Panasonic managed to integrate these services to the cheaper BD87 and BD77 models. But starting with the DMP-BDT220, more services are included like Facebook, FOX Sports, Hulu Plus, Twitter and many others.
Hooking up Panasonic’s optional Skype Camera accessory lets you use the Skype application where you can conveniently engage in video conversations with other Skype users whether they are on PC or mobile. Adding an SD card also turns the TV into an auto answering machine where a video message can be played back if you are unable to answer a phone call. The message can encourage the caller to leave a video voice mail that will be recorded as long as there is a memory card with at least 512 MB free.
With DLNA certification, the Panasonic DMP-BDT220 can also wirelessly stream from other DLNA-certified devices ranging from the latest smartphones to Windows 7 systems. The supported file types is the same as the file types supported for USB playback making it possible to access tons of content without the need of transferring files from a PC to a flash drive.
One of the main things that are missing in the DMP-BDT220 is the special touch pad remote control. An ordinary remote control is still included and even has its own Netflix button. There is also a set of 4 colored buttons on the bottom of the remote which allows quick switching between user profiles. You can give each user profile a name, icon, wallpaper and its own set of audio and picture settings. If you are the only one using the Blu-ray player, you can use it to store presets of different settings that you enjoy for different types of content.
If you are not after advanced features like twin HDMI ports, 7.1-channel support and touch pad remote, the Panasonic DMP-BDT220 can give you a great value for all the features that you get. On top of that, Panasonic is known for making quick booting Blu-ray players and the DMP-BDT220 still maintains that speed advantage. It is an excellent Blu-ray player not only for 3D displays but also for non-3D displays that do not have built-in Wi-Fi or Internet connectivity features. The Panasonic DMP-BDT220 can provide the online interface including the support for streaming sites. As long as you do not mind that the Blu-ray player is on when accessing Internet applications, the DMP-BDT220 can literally turn any ordinary TV with an HDMI port into a smart TV.
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