Panasonic DMP-BDT270 Review | Impressive 4K upscaling and 3D playback convinces
Jamie Carter that this affordable Blu-ray player could find a place in a budget AV setupUnder fire from the likes of Netflix and an incoming Ultra HD format, the received wisdom is that the basic Blu-ray player is on borrowed time. The compact quality of the Panasonic DMP-BDT270 suggests otherwise.
Will the first generation of Ultra HD Blu-ray machines be as slender as the DMP-BDT270? Impossible, surely; at just 43mm high and 182mm deep, this deck is a painless addition to an AV rack, and brilliantly suited to clean on-wall installations and bedrooms alike. The only thing that potentially spoils an otherwise sleek appearance is a USB slot on the front of the body.. What the DMP-BDT270 lacks in millimetres it makes up for in pixels, upscaling all Blu-ray discs to 4K quality when hooked-up to a 4K telly. That’s the headline act, but there’s more to this deck than 3,840 x 2,160 resolution output. Okay, so 3D hasn’t heralded the home cinema revolution the industry had hoped for, but it’s reassuring that the DMP-BDT270 also supports native 3D Blu-ray discs.. While Panasonic’s latest TVs embrace the Firefox OS, the DMP-BDT270 makes do with an ageing, rudimentary user interface. That’s not a huge criticism; its colourful, grid-like VieraCast app platform is easy enough to operate, and does at least contain core apps. Netflix is joined by Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Skype and the BBC’s trio of iPlayer, Sport and News, though there’s little else of note.. Although occasionally slow to navigate, the DMP-BDT270 isn’t going to confuse anyone. The Home page contains simple, large icons for Video, Music, Photos and Network (the latter meaning ‘apps’), but since they’re matched to the directional keypad on the remote, putting the DMP-BDT270 into different modes is one-touch stuff . If you think it’s too plain, it’s easy enough to set any photograph as wallpaper.. All thoughts of primitivity cease when the DMP-BDT270 spins Gravity on 2D Blu-ray. On a 65in 4K panel, the onboard upscaling proves exemplary; there’s no sign of jagged edges whatsoever, while the opening sequence sees the Space Shuttle Explorer emerge from the inky black of space with bags of detail amid strong contrast and colour. It’s only when the debris hits that there’s some softness to the fast motion. Aside from a slightly more stable image and a tad more refined detail, there’s little to choose between Gravity from Blu-ray and Marco Polo streamed from Netflix 4K.. The great work continues with the film’s 3D version, which looks less detailed, but is so stable that an intense realism is the result. 3D photos look great, too. That’s where the DMP-BDT270 peaks; American Sniper on DVD and a plethora of digital video files appear soft and exposed when watched on a 4K screen, though remain surprisingly clean. Sadly, native 4K video files in the MP4 and TS formats aren’t supported, which threatens the DMP-BDT270’s status as a 4K machine. Not so the key surround sound formats, which are not only handled, but dealt with just as precisely as pictures, with expansive, crisp, clear audio even at low volumes.. The 4K upscaling offered by the DMPBDT270 can be nothing more than a stop-gap – this compact deck could likely be kicked upstairs next year in favour of an Ultra HD version. Still, it has enough about it to do the job until then..
MULTI-REGION: No. Region 2 DVD, Region B
BDDIGITAL AUDIO: Yes. 1 x optical output
DOLBY TRUEHD/DTS-HD DECODING: Yes/Yes
DOLBY TRUEHD/DTS-HD BITSTREAM: Yes/Yes
DIMENSIONS: 415(w) x 43(h) x 182(d)mm
FEATURES: 2D-3D conversion; Miracast; USB 2.0 port; external HDD playback; DLNA media playback (Xvid, MKV, MP4, MPEG- 2, FLAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, MP3, ALAC, DSD, JPEG, MPO); BD-Live; VieraCast.